Adult Learning and Literacy Research Group ALCR: Adult Literacy and Communication Research Group


Literature Review

Theoretical Understandings of Adult Literacy: A literature Review

Culligan, N. (2005). Theoretical understandings of adult literacy: A literature review. Department of Communication and Journalism, Massey University, N.Z.

Theoretical Understandings of Adult Literacy.pdf (785 KB)

Indigenous Peoples, Adult Literacy, and Employment - Literature Review

Rawiri, A.H. (2005). Nga Whiringa Muka: Adult literacy and employment - Whanganui Iwi research project: literature review and annotated bibliography. Whanganui: Te Puna Matauranga o Whanganui.

Adult literacy has become more commonly defined and approached by non-indigenous peoples as an important means of ensuring economic stability, and stimulating economic growth. While acknowledging the wider social and community benefits, recent international emphasis and national activity have focused primarily on raising English language literacy skills in order to secure improved employment and economic outcomes.

While literacy has always been valued by indigenous peoples as a means of achieving economic prosperity, within indigenous and First Nations understandings, literacy skills function in a more fundamental and critical way. Literacy is the means with which to express, understand, provide for, and make sense of, one’s self and the ‘whole’ richness of one’s self in its widest cultural, spiritual, intellectual and physical sense. There are many rich, ancestral ‘literacy’ practices which function in this way. Describing these as ‘indigenous literacies’, validates these literacy skills and approaches as being just as important, and just as relevant as orthodox western understandings and economic approaches to adult literacy learning.

The purpose of this literature review is to construct an indigenous discourse on adult literacy and employment. This analysis is intended to provide critical insights into aspects of adult (English language) literacy learning for deeper scrutiny and examination within the Whanganui Iwi research study of adult literacy and employment, ‘Nga Whiringa Muka’. This will strengthen and advance the rich potentials of connections that can be made within this indigenous community-based research study, and provide for more effective and meaningful research outcomes.

Nga Whiringa Muka.pdf (758 KB)

Aneta Rawiri
Whanganui Iwi Researcher
Te Puna Matauranga o Whanganui
Whanganui Iwi Education Authority
PO Box 7241
Aotearoa/ New Zealand