The gap between community based adult literacy work - actual literacy, reading and writing, not faux literacy - and adult schooling is growing.
Or, maybe I should say the gap between effective practices in one and the other is growing. The role of tutor or coach or facilitator or whatever we are when we are invited into someone's kitchen or meet them at the library to help them learn to read... this role is quite different from the role of adult school teacher.
Do you take attendance? Do you report attendance to third parties? Do you impose penalties for attendance below a fixed percentage? Do you assign work? Homework? Do you assess tasks as appropriate or inappropriate based on curriculum guidelines and learning plans? Do you assess reading material as appropriate or inappropriate based on curriculum guidelines and learning plans? Do you steer people back "on task"? Do impose penalties for work not done? Do you limit how often people can take breaks, or enter or leave your shared space? Do you require anyone wanting to leave early to obtain your permission? Do you curb conversation not initiated by yourself? Do you require all cell phones to be turned off? Do you monitor progress against a fixed curriculum, and impose penalties for a lack of progress? Do you report to third parties on people who display a lack of progress? Do you offer financial or other incentives to encourage people to attend?
All that external control - it doesn't feel very good sometimes. And it creates unhealthy and unhelpful relationships. Which goes part way to explaining to a few of you why I've deactivated my Facebook account.
Unrelated - but calming - photo by MorBCN on flickr.