Creating Authentic Materials and Activities for the Adult Literacy Classroom

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This book was designed as a starting place for adult education teachers interested in changing their instructional practice, particularly as it relates to their learners’ lives. This book will also be helpful to program administrators who are interested in leading change their programs or who wish to know more about contextualized instruction in order to support teachers who are trying to implement it. Readers will benefit most from this book if they are willing to be reflective about their own practice and explore new ways in which to structure curricula. Each of the chapters includes discussion questions, and some exercises to be completed.

While many excellent resources for adult educators encourage the use of authentic materials and activities in classrooms and provide detailed examples of how to create or modify activities to better reflect the lives of learners, this book is fundamentally different. It is based on the results of a nationwide study of adult education programs and the literacy practices of students enrolled in them. By providing illustrative examples from real classrooms as well as feedback from the teachers in those classrooms, this publication brings to life the processes that teachers have gone through to modify their classroom practice to be more learner-contextualized. We share the steps these teachers went through to create contextualized learning environments for their students, what has worked especially well for them, and what has not worked as well or at all.

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