Creating a Space for Self-Transformation: Factors of Success for Adult Literacy Learners with Specific Learning Difficulties
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A significant number of adults in adult literacy programs in Ontario have specific learning difficulties. This study sought to examine the holistic factors that contributed to these learners achieving their goals. Through a case study design, the data revealed that a combination of specific learning methods and strategies, along with particular characteristics of the instructor, participant, and class, and the evidence of self-transformation all seemed to contribute to the participant's success in the program. Instructor-directed teaching and cooperative learning were the main learning methods used in the class. General learning strategies employed were the use of core curriculum and authentic documents, and using phonics, repetition, assistive resources, and using activities that appealed to various learning styles. The instructor had a history of both professional development in the area of learning disabilities as well as experience working with learners who had specific learning difficulties. There also seemed to be a goodness of fit between the participant and the instructor. Several characteristics of the participant seemed to aid in his success: his positive self-esteem, self-advocacy skills, self-determination, self-awareness, and the fact that he enjoyed learning. The size (3-5 people) and type of class (small group) also seemed to have an impact. Finally, evidence that the participant went through a self-transformation seemed to contribute to a positive learner identity. These results have implications for practice, theory, and further research in adult education.