The grit in the oyster : TQAL for pearls of practice

Wallace, David (2008) The grit in the oyster : TQAL for pearls of practice. In: Australian Council for Adult Literacy, 2008-10-01 - 2008-10-03.

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In Scotland adult literacies teaching treats language and literacy as social practices rather than discrete skills. There is a concern to acknowledge literacies practices that are diverse, cultural and situated. This embodies an informal, cooperative and constructivist approach to adult literacies learning and teaching. The role of the adult literacies teacher therefore is constructed as a means of engaging with the plurality of such literacies practices in communities. An adult literacies teaching course has been piloted in Scotland by a partnership group comprising three Universities and one Further Education College. Using a blended learning approach, class-room, work-based and on-line learning are aligned in the interests of continuous professional development for participants who are experienced but unqualified adult literacies tutors. The focus in teaching therefore is not on transmission but on elaborating on experiential learning, building critical reflection through shared activities and has seen the creation of both a real life and on-line community of practice. This session will seek to elaborate on the principles of the course, highlighting the successes, tensions and problems associated with this approach. The efficacy of collaborative learning and critical reflection in the context of social practices in adult literacies will be discussed. The creative tensions of matching student expectation, policy demands and the demands of the economy will be elaborated as means of questioning whether the grit in the oyster is resulting in pearls of practice.