A Decade of Rural Research: What have We Learnt about Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy?

  •  Chris Atkin    


The role of functional literacy, linked to employment, leads to a narrow view of rural learners' need both economically and socially. The drive for individuals to take responsibility for their own learning and development is, indeed, a good thing. However, the burden of guilt felt by those who are unable, or unwilling, to achieve the standards set out in the Skills for Life (DfEE, 2001) strategy, is significant. This deficit model of applied functionality is likely to result in a fracturing of traditional social networks upon which much of rural life is constructed, leading to social fragility. The changing character of the English countryside with its rising population drawn from urban and international migration is striking and certainly challenges the caricature of a white, male, middle-class countryside. With these changes comes a demand for an alternative curriculum which reflects the large number of older learners and the language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) needs of both an established labour market and a new international workforce.

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