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Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 23, Issue 1/2, Fall/Winter 2003
Critical Thinking and Adult Literacy

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Displaying: 1-10 of 13 documents

1. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
T. Ross Owen Introduction to the Special Issue on Critical Thinking and Adult Literacy
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2. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Joseph L. Armstrong, John A. Dale A Freireian Critique of American Adult Literacy Policy
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At first glance, legislation intended to shape American adult Iiteracy programs appears egalitarian and hopeful. After a more thorough reading, the legislative objectives are Iimited, culturally biased, and largely unattainable. In order to develop coherent Iiteracy pedagogy, we explore Paulo Freire’s definition of critical thinking. From a critical theory perspective, we argue that a vocational education of learning basic skills is insufficient. Furthermore, we believe that more is needed to help adult learners beconle self-sufficient in a modern, dynamic economy. Critical thinking, as defined by Freire, along with vocational education allows individuaIs to develop their ontological right to become aware of historical and social forces.
3. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Desi Larson, Peter Caron Freire and Family Literacy: Promoting Critical Thinking with an Engaged and Critical Approach to Learning
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The purpose of this paper is to present a Freirean perspective of family literacy education using the example of an Even Start family literacy program in Maine. This program, the Center and Home-based Instructional Program for Parents and Youth (CHIPPY) family literacy project, illuminates Freirean tenets and promotes critical thinking in its work serving at-risk families in the northernmost part of Maine in Fort Kent and surrounding towns that comprise Maine School Administrative District (MSAD) #27. Freire argued that education has the potential to promote transformation and liberation. He also argued that education could only be transformational if it includes components of critical thinking and reflection.A participatory action research (PAR) evaluation of the CHIPPY program was conducted during the 2001-2002 academic year. Interviews, observations and document reviews were conducted for the evaluation. Adults participating in the program completed a participant survey. This paper draws on findings from this evaluation, which found evidence of significant positive impacts and effects of program participation, for child and adult participants alike, in each of the components of family literacy: adult education, parenting education, intergenerational education, and childhood education.The evaluation revealed evidence of more than simply the improvement of basic literacy skills for adult participants in the CHIPPY program. From various evaluation sources, positive impacts were consistently reported tor adult participants, including: increased community involvement (volunteering), further education, and people going on to college, gaining educational and work skills, changed dispositions, participants and graduates appear to be more independent, and participants are reported to be more positive, assertive, and self-sufficient reflecting a Freirean humanizing pedagogy.Through the active promotion of critical thinking and critical reflection, educators in the CHIPPY program facilitated transformational and liberatory outcomes for program participants; “nurturing... self-directedempowered adults [who would] see themselves as proactive ... and not as reactive individuals, buffeted by uncontrollable forces of circumstance” (Brookfield, 1987, p. 48).
4. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Tom Nesbit, Daniel Schugurensky, Darlene Clover Building Research Capacities in Adult Literacy: Bridging the Gap between University Researchers and Practitioners
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There is growing interest in developing co-operation between adult literacy researchers and practitioners to further research skills and approaches. Canada’s National Literacy Secretariat has recently initiated a series of policy debates that suggested several possibilities: targeted research grants, research internships for practitioners, practical sabbaticals for researchers, support for networking between literacy researchers and practitioners, and joint seminars and workshops between researchers and practitioners. A common theme throughout these discussions is the need to develop critical thinking about both collaborative research and adult literacy. In this paper we discuss two collaborative initiatives between university-based researchers and adult literacy groups in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario. Each project was based on the notion of “research circles” and specifically designed to enhance research capacity and critical thinking about literacy research.
5. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Joe Norden, Jr., Gary J. Dean Thinking Critically About the Assessment of Adult Students in Even Start Family Literacy Programs
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During the past decade and a half, the field of family literacy has gone from its infancy on the educational periphery toward a position closer to the mainstream. Characteristic ofthe field’s growth is the nation’s largest endeavor in family literacy, the federal Even Start program, which began from scratch in the late 1980s and now claims more than 800 local programs in 50 states and Puerto Rico.Despite several national evaluations of Even Start, no comprehensive study in the family literacy literature specifically focuses on this quarter-billion dollar program’s attempts to measure the progress of its adult students. Accordingly, this study sought to discover the ways in which adult assessment is performed by Even Start programs.This essay emphasizes critical thinking with regards to assessment in Even Start programs Critical thought and reflection drive the exploration of several themes in the study’s data that carry itnplications for the families served by Even Start. These implications, gleaned from what Brookfield (1987) calls “reflective skepticism” and careful study of the data, bring the survey’s numbers to life and ultimately yield useful, potentially program-enhancing information.The article offers background on family literacy and Even Start programs and briefly illustrates the study’s methodology. Then follows a discourse that views the study’s findings through the lens of critical thought, drawing meaning from selected findings that contain repercussions for Even Start families. The piece concludes with recommendations for the improvement of Even Start programs through enhanced assessment and continued study.
6. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Donald J. Yarosz, Susan Willar Fountain Facilitating Reflection Among Family Literacy Participants
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In this paper, we reflect upon our experience in Mexico, as well as review the literature on reflection developed by adult educators in the United States in order to begin to develop a theory of “relevant reflection” useful for family literacy practitioners. We feel that engaging in relevant reflection can help to empower family literacy practitioners in the United States to work more effectively with participants and help participants think more critically about the meaning of literacy in their lives. It is the participant’s perception of their life-world that we hold to be valid. In the context of family literacy, our initial interest is in promoting the exploration of the educational validity of a certain form of reflection as it relates to learning process and outcomes. Our theory derived from reviewing the literature on reflection and critical reflection is thus stated: When family literacy participants are encouraged to reflect upon the relevance of literacy as it relates to their life-world, learning is significantly enhanced. Relevant reflection can be facilitated through engaging participants in reflecting upon the relevance of literacy to their lives, their families, their communities and their livelihoods. Indeed, this can be done individually, in dialogue with another and/or as a group. Family literacy practitioners are provided a framework for facilitating relevant reflection for participants.
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7. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
John Follman Teaching Critical Thinking to Adults
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8. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
T. Ross Owen Introduction to the Special Issue on Critical Thinking and Higher Education
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9. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Elizabeth J. Allan, Susan V. Iverson Cultivating Critical Consciousness: Service-Learning in Higher Education
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In this article, we blend the Piagetian informed understanding of critical thinking with the scholarship of critical theory to analyze service-Iearning as a pedagogical strategy to promote critically conscious thinking among Students in higher education. We draw from our teaching experiences and student reflections in three different courses at two universities. In these courses, service-leaming was designed to: promote understandings of course content related to societal systems of advantage and disadvantage, develop self-awareness, promote understanding of sociocultural identity differences, and to instill a sense of responsibility for social change. Recommendations are provided.
10. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1/2
Sandra M. Estanek, Patrick G. Love Critical Thinking and Seamless Learning: A Post-Modern Approach
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