Pedagogical practices in non-formal adult literacy classes in Zambia
Sichula, Noah, K.
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In Zambia, adult literacy education is mainly provided in the form of non-formal literacy classes, with a general emphasis on the economic purpose of alleviating poverty. The aim is to increase the number of skilled citizens who are literate. Exploring (1) the pedagogical practices used in this context and (2) facilitators’ choices of certain teaching–learning methods, this article presents a study which was conducted in Katete District in Eastern Zambia. It involved two literacy programmes; one run by the Government of Zambia’s Department of Community Development; and the other run by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Tikondane. The research was framed by international standards of both adult learning and non-formal learning pedagogies. In this qualitative case study, the participants comprised 9 literacy managers (5 female, 4 male), 12 facilitators (8 female, 4 male) and 78 adult learners (56 female, 22 male). Data were collected through interviews, observations and focus group discussions. Observing that both programmes’ literacy classes were dominated by the teacher-centred lecture method, the researchers found that lecture-based instruction, when applied in a participatory manner, is capable of producing considerable learning gains. However, the authors contend that many learners would have benefited more from a learner-centred approach. Another finding was that the majority of the facilitators based their pedagogical decisions on their perception of the adult learners as illiterate and ignorant. Consequently, the facilitators saw their role as a mandate to eliminate illiteracy and ignorance. In sum, the authors conclude that the pedagogical practices applied in the two literacy programmes fell short of international pedagogical standards of both adult learning and non-formal learning.
CitationSichula, N. K., & Genis, G. (2019). Pedagogical practices in non-formal adult literacy classes in Zambia. International review of education, 65(6), 879-903.
International Review of Education
Adult learning, literacy,
formal and informal learning