Participatory and Emancipatory Literacy Approaches

David Rosen’s post,  “Participatory and Emancipatory Adult Literacy Education,” provides links  to  fabulous resources that invite our wiki contributions and exploration.  Thank you, David.

Among other topics discussed on this wiki are reflections on how participatory and emancipatory literacy approaches can provide ways to empower students to become transformational agents in society.

    •    Pat Campbell says, “Participatory education is a collective effort in which the participants are committed to building a just society through individual and socioeconomic transformation and ending domination through changing power relations.” Campbell, P. (2001). Introduction. In P. Campbell and B. Burnaby (Eds.), Participatory Practices in Adult Education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum (pg. 1)

    •    Freire and Macedo add, “The notion of emancipatory literacy suggests two dimensions of literacy. On the one hand, students have to become literate about their histories, experiences, and the culture of their immediate environments. On the other hand, they must also appropriate those codes and cultures of the dominant spheres so that they can transcend their own environments. There is often an enormous tension between these two dimensions of literacy. How can emancipatory literacy deal effectively with this tension so as not to suffocate either dimension?” Freire, P. & Macedo, D. (1987). Literacy: Reading the Word and the World. New York: Bergin & Garvey (pg. 47)

Freire and Macedo’s question is one that you are encouraged to address here. Have you engaged your learners in strategies that help them deal successfully with the tensions described? Do you agree that emancipatory or participatory literacy approaches provide avenues for adults to become not only self-sufficient but influential people in their environments?

Leecy Wise
Moderator, Diversity and Literacy Community