A View from the Classroom: An Inquiry into How Educators of Ontario's Literacy Basic Skills Program Conceptualize Adult Literacy Learning
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The Ontario Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU) uses the human capital framework advocated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to structure its Literacy Basic Skills (LBS) programs as an employment strategy (MTCU, 2016 pp. 1, 4-6). These policies embody understandings and values of adult literacy education that diverge from the frameworks used in the scholarly literature (Compton-Lilly & Nayan, 2016; Black & Yasukawa; 2014). Given the divergence, this dissertation presents the findings of an inquiry into how LBS educators conceptualize literacy and how these understandings of adult literacy learning are applied to their practice. LBS educators are the frontline workers of adult education programming in Ontario: they are responsible for delivering the program in ways that are in line with the directives of the MTCU while also being sensitive to the unique contexts and socio-cultural experiences of learners. The data for this research includes 14 audio-recorded interviews of LBS educators and field note observations of practice. The data has been analyzed using a grounded theory 3-part coding system (Glasner & Strauss, 1999, pp. 101-112; Glesne, 2010, p. 21; Lichtman, 2013, pp. 78-80, 257-258). From the data, it is evident that educators believe that literacy is a cognitive process and a social practice that is shaped by learners experiences, and these understandings of literacy directly inform their practice. To conclude the project, I present a critical holistic pedagogical framework that crystalizes information from research and policy with the data collected from the inquiry to offer insights into how literacy education can be advanced to support policy, practice and future directions for research on adult literacy education in Ontario.