Adult Learning in Family Literacy

Special Considerations for Women Learners

Authored by: Esther Prins , Barbara Van Horn

Handbook of Family Literacy

Print publication date:  April  2012
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415884570
eBook ISBN: 9780203841495
Adobe ISBN: 9781136899126


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This chapter offers a multi-faceted view of adult learning that encompasses not only adult family literacy participants’ cognitive skills and academic goals, but also the relationships, social support systems, and socioeconomic conditions in which learners and programs are embedded, along with recommendations for practice. Although not often considered by policy makers, sociocultural factors powerfully shape why, what, and how participants learn and the benefits they derive from their newfound abilities. Since the vast majority of family literacy participants are women, the chapter incorporates research on women and adult learning, offering a useful comparison to Gadsden’s chapter (this volume) on fathers and family literacy. Finally, because our focus is on the adult learner, the insights discussed here pertain both to adult education classes and other activities that involve adults in formal or informal learning, including parent education, interactive literacy activities, and program events.

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