Global efforts to eradicate illiteracy have led to an extensive range of adult literacy programs worldwide, particularly in developing regions. There is no clear consensus on the application of such projects, as the study and evaluation of adult literacy education continues to be divided between ‘functional’ approaches which emphasize skill acquisition as a primary focus; and ‘socio-cultural’ perspectives which foreground contextual and personal narratives. Case-study observations of classrooms and educators in three peri-urban communities in Oaxaca, Mexico indicate complex interconnections between literacy education and development in both conceptual and material frameworks. Findings further highlight the importance of local communities and social networks in shaping classroom experiences. Results suggest a divide between institutionally derived goals and communally guided practice in Oaxacan adult literacy classrooms. This schism may lead to the creation of titular literacy that can be nevertheless inconsistent with the ways in which literacy is actually practised.
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Thesis advisor: Otero, Gerardo
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