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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Image and voice in adult literacy Soleil, Naome


This qualitative research study explores the use of television as text in adult literacy as a means of bridging orality and literacy. The reason for selecting television as an educational tool was to provide equal access to stories for both non-readers and readers of print, and the 22 research participants were required to complete a survey and participate in four 2-hour workshops, and a taped interview. During the workshops, participants learned to actively engage with the texts that were edited stories from the Canadian television series North of 60. The researcher included reading strategies to encourage the participants' interaction with the texts as active "readers" (see Fiske, 1987; Buckingham, 1993; Bianculli, 1992) and brainstorming to increase their vocabulary prior to writing reflective responses. First, how television as text influences an adult literacy student's ability to transfer information from oral texts into print texts is analyzed. The findings indicate that television allows non-readers, reluctant readers, and delayed readers of English to learn literary terms and conventions that apply to print stories and practise four domains of language acquisition - listening, speaking, reading, and writing. A selection of each participant's written responses to the stories and interview fragments have been analyzed. Whenever possible, the selection is based on a participant's favorite story or personal connection to a character. Second, the effect of brainstorming on written responses has been examined. This technique is a pre-writing strategy the researcher used not only to assist the participants in recording vocabulary relevant to the story, but also to provide opportunities for sharing ideas in the construction of meaning. Based on data collected during the interviews, individuals with short-term memory problems indicate that repetition of vocabulary through brainstorming, note-taking, and discussion reinforces memory retention, and second language learners gain knowledge of pronunciation by hearing and rehearsing vocabulary from the stories. Third, factors contributing to the participants' reflective oral and written responses to the television stories have been analyzed. The main factors contributing to reflective thinking and writing involve the research pedagogy and the development of reflective skills through practice. The researcher's reflective methodology combines phenomenology, critical ethnography, and emancipatory practice from the diverse perspectives of van Manen (1990), Haig- Brown and Archibald (1996), and Freire (1974,1994,1997,1998) who have informed this study together with other researchers in the respective fields. This method situates the research participants and the researcher in a partnership in which everyone contributes through dialogue to the learning process.

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