Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 23, Issue 1/2, Fall/Winter 2003/2004

Critical Thinking and Adult Literacy

Donald J. Yarosz, Susan Willar Fountain
Pages 39-43

Facilitating Reflection Among Family Literacy Participants

In this paper, we reflect upon our experience in Mexico, as weIl as review the literature on reflection developed by adult educators in the United States in order to begin to develop a theory of “relevant retlection” 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 paticipants 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 individuaIly, 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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