What International Literacy Programs Offer Programs in the U.S. September 7 - 14, 2007

Discussion Announcement

As International Literacy Day is on September 8th, we will talk with adult literacy educator experts who have experience with programs in the U.S. and in other countries. We will explore with them what they have learned from their work in other countries that may be useful to programs in the U.S. As the theme of this year's International Literacy Day is health literacy, we will also explore the intersection in their work of health and literacy.

Guest Biographies and their Suggested Readings for this Discussion

Dr. Erik Jacobson

Erik Jacobson is an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey, where he works in the Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education Department. One of his research interests is the goals that teachers and students set for themselves in Japanese adult basic education classes (literacy and Japanese as a Second Language). He has been looking at this topic for almost 10 years, and he recently returned from visiting progams in Osaka and Nara. Erik is also the co-area leader of the Adult Literacy Education Wiki section on World Literacy and Nonformal Education, and he maintains a page on world literacy news.

Suggested Web sites:

Context for Japanese ABE

Dr. John Comings

John is a senior research associate and lecturer on education at Harvard's Graduate School of Education and was director of the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) from 1996 to 2007. Before HGSE and NCSALL, He spent 12 years as vice president of World Education in Boston. He has worked in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, and he lived for 6 years in Nepal and 2 years in Indonesia. In his international work, he has helped design, implement and evaluate adult literacy programs and skill training programs.

Suggested Reading: http://www.worlded.org/docs/Publications/teaching_adults_to_read.pdf

Dr. Ujwala Samant

Ujwala Samant is director of Learning for Life UK, a small NGo working in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UK. Under her leadership, LfL has stabilized financially and added new, larger projects and more than tripled their annual income. She was a senior researcher at the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy at Rutgers University, USA. Her research foci include gender, immigrant education, ESOL, learner engagement and voice. She has taught at the International Literacy Institute at the
University of Pennsylvania, and been a consultant in the field of development, education and gender. Her doctoral research examined the links between literacy and social change amongst women in Mumbai slums. She received The UK Asian Woman of Achievement 2007 award for Social and Humanitarian work

Barbara Garner

Known on NIFL's discussion lists as the editor of "Focus on Basics", Barbara Garner led the development of non-profit World Education's adult literacy efforts in Africa from 1998 through 2004, providing technical assistance around teacher training and curriculum development as well as leadership and program design. Her work took her to Guinea, Mali, Benin, and more recently Egypt, where she consulted on their national adult literacy assessment system. Earlier in her career she worked on non-formal education programs and refugee education programs in Indonesia, Thailand, and Nepal.

Suggested Reading: to get a feel for adult literacy in West Africa read "Creating Curricula for Challenging Circumstances" from Focus on Basics

Pamela Civins

Pamela Civins has worked in the field of nonprofit management, formal and nonformal education for over 15 years internationally and in Boston, Massachusetts. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Boston Partners in Education, an organization that enhances the academic achievement and nurtures the personal growth of Boston's public school students by providing them with focused, individualized in-school volunteer support. Pamela has been working exclusively in the US for the past three years. Prior to her work being focused on K-12 urban education, she provided coordination and managerial oversight of nonformal education and literacy programs for girls and women in Nepal, India and Pakistan. For eight years, she worked with the nonprofit, World Education, Inc., both in the US and abroad. She coordinated a women's literacy program and was based in Kathmandu, Nepal for two yeas. Pamela worked extensively in India supporting a collaboration with World Education and the Indian-based nongovernmental organization, PRIA, on a the Women's Empowerment Through Literacy and Livelihoods Development Project, an integrated literacy and livelihoods development program that took place in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. She also provided support to a women's literacy program in Pakistan. Pamela received her BA from the University of Colorado, a MIIM (Masters in Intercultural & International Management) from the School for International Training, and an M.Ed. with a focus on International Education Policy from Harvard University.

Recommended readings:

Brenda Bell

Brenda Bell, for many years Associate Director of the Center for Literacy Studies, University of Tennessee and Coordinator of the EFF National Center, is currently an education advisor with the Global Learning Group of the Education Development Center (EDC). In 2004 and 2005, she provided support to EDC's Afghanistan Literacy and Community Empowerment Project which links literacy with governance and economic development activities in 200 rural villages. For the past year, she has been technical advisor to EQuALLS, an education quality and livelihood skills program in over 900 barangays in the western Mindanao area of the Philippines. Additionally, Brenda assists with program assessment, design and development activities in other countries. With many years of experience in nonformal and adult education in the U.S., Brenda (a former Peace Corps volunteer) is enjoying the opportunities and challenges of working outside of the U.S. She lives in Maryville, TN.

Suggested Reading: Developing Adult Literacy: Approaches to planning, implementing and delivering literacy initiatives by Juliet Merrifield Juliet McCaffrey Juliet Millican Oxfam, September 30, 2007
This book is available online to download at no charge and will be available to purchase from September 30th.

Dr. Juliet Merrifield

Juliet Merrifield is Principal of the Friends Centre, an independent adult education centre in Brighton, England. She has worked as an adult educator and researcher for the last 25 years, in the USA, England and Ireland. She was Director of the Learning from Experience Trust in London, and of the Center for Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee, USA.

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