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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Functionally illiterate adult : some elements of an instructional program to meet his needs Berry, Mabel Vivian


Automation and machines are replacing unskilled manpower at a rapid rate; these unskilled, untrained people are today's unemployed. They must be given the opportunity to secure the educational tools necessary to take advantage of vocational retraining programs. Both economic and social upgrading are necessary for realization of the potential of these undereducated adults. Provision of Adult Basic Education (A.B.E.) programs is the first step in preparing the functionally illiterate to become a participant in today's society and to become strengthened and extended as an individual. This descriptive study has focused on the functionally illiterate adult and certain elements of an instructional program designed to meet his needs. The learning abilities of the undereducated adult are influenced by certain social-psychological characteristics which develop out of his restricted environment. These characteristics influence student recruitment and necessitate a flexible, informal learning climate. Careful selection of teachers who understand the students' background and needs is emphasized. The objectives of an A.B.E. program, based upon the communication needs of the functionally illiterate, are met through utilization of a variety of teaching techniques. Examples of techniques which may be used with any published reading system are suggested. This study reviewed eleven selected reading systems, concentrating in each case on approach, content, format and evaluation and appraisal where available. The following systems were reviewed: 1. Mott Basic Language Skills Program 2. American Incentive to Read materials 3. Reading in High Gear 4. System for Success 5. Behavioral Research Laboratories 6. The Streamlined English Series 7. ABC-EDL Basic Adult Education System 8. Holt Adult Basic Education Series 9. The Steck Publishing Co. 10. Words in Color 11. Operation Alphabet TV Home Study Book. A similarity of content appeared to exist in most reading systems reviewed. A need exists for more content related to the student's environment and his social and vocational problems. More stimulating, enriching and meaningful content would contribute to student interest and motivation. The elements of drama and humor which are appealing to students are lacking in most materials. Where published materials are unavailable or inadequate, the creative, innovative teacher can produce valuable materials based on topics of local needs and interests. An urgent need exists for more empirical research on the evaluation^ of materials for effectiveness and student retention.

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