Discussion Group

Academic year 2023-24.

Current Organisers: Uta Papen u.papen@lancaster.ac.uk, Karin Tusting k.tusting@lancaster.ac.uk

Hello and welcome back to the Literacy Research Centre Discussion Group. Please see below for the timetable for upcoming talks. updates will be circulated via the LRDG mailing list.

3rd November 1pm UK time

Online talk, Click here to join the meeting

Thinking with Machines: A Model to Understand Student Metacognition when Writing with Generative AI

Christopher Eaton, PhD

Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy, University of Toronto Mississauga

This presentation will discuss early results from research examining how students think with and about generative AI as a tool for their writing. The project used grounded theory to test a metacognitive thinking model that was designed to assess how student writers think about writing in an AI-mediated environment. The talk will explore various ways that 23 post-secondary students at the University of Toronto (Mississauga campus) have implemented AI tools into their writing processes. I will pay particular attention to how the various approaches correspond to the ways students think about writing and about themselves as writers. I will end with a discussion of the implications for literacy pedagogies that, hopefully, will stimulate discussion about implications of AI across contexts.
24th November 2023

1pm UK time

Hybrid talk,

Click here to join the meeting online,

B89 County South to meet face to face

Adult literacies in Scotland – reviewing the territory

Sarah Galloway, Lecturer in Further Education, University of Stirling

Adult Literacies in Scotland – reviewing the territory

Scotland’s curriculum guidelines for Adult Literacies learning maintain adherence to social practices approaches for teaching and learning in Community Learning and Development settings. Sarah offers a high level review of the intentions behind this curriculum and reviews the landscape in which delivery of adult literacies now takes place. Drawing from published and unpublished research, both empirical and theoretical, she will indicate the extent to which social practices approaches continue to be practiced in Scotland, pointing towards questions that researchers might continue to address.

 1st December

1pm UK time

Online talk, Click here to join the meeting

Adult literacies education in England – what has happened to social practices views?

Uta Papen, Lancaster University

In the early 2000s, I, along with many others in the adult literacy field, was optimistic that practice-based and socio-cultural views of literacy were beginning to have an impact on adult literacy policy. In England, a new strategy for adult literacy and numeracy called Skills for Life was introduced. As our government-funded research demonstrated the relevance of a social practices perspective, we hoped that adult literacy would become adult literacies and that curricula would move away from purely skills-based ideas.  Today, by and large, our hopes and dreams have been dashed. In England, Skills for Life has been replaced by Functional Skills, with employability and formal qualifications at its core. As the policy framework has tightened, funding has been significantly reduced.

So what is left of adult literacy as social practice? In my presentation I will share a few examples of ‘cracks’ in the system where traces of a practice-based approach remain visible. But I will also ask a more controversial question: what does the current system offer? What can be learnt in a Functional Skills class? Might a focus on skills and employability be what many learners want? These questions invite us to take a critical look at the social practice perspective and where we may have failed to engage with the realities of policy makers, the media, the wider public and perhaps learners themselves.

Previous year’s discussion group schedules