Gendered Narratives of Adult Basic Education in the U.S.
Adult educators construct themselves and their learners in relation to program requirements (PurcellGate, 1997; Quigley, 2006) externally imposed, documentary assessments (Foucault, 1979) internally constructed, discursive assessments of learners identities, processes and progress (Hunsinger, 2005) Evaluative, disciplinary structures required by the state (Foucault, 1979; Giddens, 1984) modulate the educators and learners agency.
These make some aspects of participation in literacy programs visible, they hide others, particularly stripping dimensions of context, subjectivity and intersectionality (McCall, 2005). Gendered human action in relation to larger social structures:
Enduring selves Situated selves Endangered selves (G. & S. Spindler) Imagined selves (D. Holland) Enduring self Deep self embedded in family, community and place Build upon funds of knowledge that the adult learner brings to the classroom. Curriculum and instruction that attend to what
adults already know and care to know in support of engaged learning. Rurality as place Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky Situated self
Place and space Gender performativity Intersectionality Learning contexts sensible to possibilities, contingencies, realities and constraints Lives on the economic and social margins Endangered self Dangers of having a low education level As one woman said about participating in a group class: Then someone knows what Im doing and what I cant do.
Risks: Stigma (Goffman): Exposure as an adult who cant read; teacher who works with poor adults threats of restructured personal relationships cost in time, labor and transportation to participate Deskilling Job insecurity Imagined self: a literate woman Return to school to earn a high school equivalency diploma or learn a trade
Decode the danger signs in the chicken processing plant Complete the job application Navigate digital worlds Earn a drivers license Assist children with homework and read to grandchildren Read aloud in adult Bible study circles Mission to save Loretta had a paranoia of computers at the beginning. We would say, Will you be willing to sit for 30 minutes and work the software? And
at first, at 29 minutes she was ready to get off. She was ready. But then it was like suddenly 45 minutes, and then it was an hour, and then it was, Oh my goodness, I sat there an hour and 15 minutes. And I look forward to this. I love it. I cant believe Im on a computer. References Butler, Judith (1990) Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge. Foucault, Michel (1979). Discipline and Punish: The birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books Giddens, A. (1984) The Constitution of Society: Outline of a Theory of Structuration. Cambridge: Polity Press. Goffman, Erving. 1963. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Goffman, Erving. 1959. Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor Books. Hillard, Tom (Summer 2012) Graduating to College. The Working Poor Families Project Policy Brief Hoffman, Diane (1998) A Therapeutic Moment? Identity, Self, and Culture in the Anthropology of Education Anthropology & Education Quarterly 29 (3): 324-346. Holland, Dorothy (1998) Identity and Agency in Cultural Worlds , Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hunsinger, Jeremy (2005) Broadening Possibilities by Expanding the Theoretical Richness of the Social Construction of Technology. Social Epistemology 19 (2-3): 255-259. Knowles, Malcolm S., et al (2005). The Adult Learner (Sixth Edition). Butterworth-Heinemann. McCall, Leslie (2005) The Complexity of Intersectionality. Signs 30 (3); 1771-1800. Merriam, Sharan B., et al (2006). Learning in Adulthood (Third Edition). Jossey-Bass. OMeara, K. (2011) Inside the Panopticon. In J. Smart, et al, eds. Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. 161-209. Spring Science + Business Media b. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-072-3-5
Purcell-Gates, Victoria (1997) Other People's Words: The Cycle of Low Literacy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Quigley, B. Allan (1996) Rethinking Literacy Education: The Critical Need for Practice-Based Change. Jossey Bass. Quigley, B. A. (2006) Building Professional Pride in Literacy: A Dialogical Guide to Professional Development. Krieger Publishing Company. Smith, Dorothy E. 1990. The Conceptual Practices of Power: A Feminist Sociology of Knowledge. Boston: Northeastern University Press. Spindler, George & Louise Spindler(1992) The Enduring, Situated, and Endangered Self in Fieldwork: A Personal Account. In The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, vol. 17. Essays in Honor of George D. and Louise A. Spindler. L. Bryce Boyer and Ruth M. Boyer, eds. 23-28. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.
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