Which Literacy Practices and Pedagogies Engage and Empower At Risk Adolescent Students

Livock, Cheryl A. (2005) Which Literacy Practices and Pedagogies Engage and Empower At Risk Adolescent Students. In International Conference on Engaging Communities, 2005, Aug 14-17, Brisbane, Australia.


This paper reports on preliminary findings from an ongoing one year doctoral study of literacy programs provided at four alternative education settings in Queensland, Australia, and a comparative site in Texas. The research question being: "What are the literacy practices utilized for at risk adolescents across several alternative education sites?"

In the developing world the concern is for delivering basic literacy education programs to large at risk segments of the population. In Australia, although these segments of the population are smaller, there nevertheless is some concern that in spite of nearly 200 years of mass education significant numbers of the population, approximately 10% have failed to attain basic literacy levels (Wickert, 1989). Of particular interest to legislators and educators are the number of at risk adolescents who have disconnected from school and community life, and are at risk of failing to attain basic literacy skills needed to function in the current knowledge based society (Belanger, Winter, & Sutton, 1992; Falk, 2001). In an effort to reconnect these adolescents a multiplicity of alternative education settings have emerged.

However, finding a space where at risk adolescents can successfully engage in literacy education can prove difficult for both the students and teachers alike. Problems that caused at risk adolescents to disengage from their education in mainstream high schools can also cause disengagement in the alternative setting. This paper examines how the five alternative education sites meet the challenge of grappling with these difficulties; how and whether students maintain their engagement and increase their literacy levels; and whether these young people are being empowered with the literacy skills that enable them to look forward to a better future.

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ID Code: 3021
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Disengaged, at risk adolescents, alternative education, literacy
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 05 Jan 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:29

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