Socially inclusive learning in a community setting

Marston, Gregory & Johnson-Abdelmalik, Jeffrey (2014) Socially inclusive learning in a community setting. Queensland University Technology and Anglicare Southern Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.


People with mental health problems, learning difficulties and poor literacy and numeracy are at risk of social exclusion including homelessness. They are often disconnected from the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system, with few opportunities for education and employment. Academic research has demonstrated a link between literacy and numeracy and social inclusion, however, the pathways to enact this are not well understood.

This report presents insights into how a community based adult literacy program in West End, Brisbane, was first established and has since evolved into a successful model of what we are calling ‘socially inclusive learning’. The research informing the report was conducted as a twelve-month study from April 2013 to April 2014 funded through a partnership involving Anglicare Southern Queensland, A Place to Belong and the School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology. The research was conducted by Greg Marston and Jeffrey Johnson- Abdelmalik.

The aim of the study was to clarify the principles, practice and methodology of the Reading and Writing group (hereafter RAW) and identify the characteristics of RAW that support the social inclusion of the individual being provided literacy learning. The questions guiding the research included:

• What are the key principles and practices of the RAW model?

• How does the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills contribute to the recovery of people with mental health and other issues?

• How can the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills support people’s social inclusion, including achieving employment and further education outcomes?

A related aim of the project was to document how this community based literacy and numeracy program operates so that other organisations with an interest in addressing similar needs can learn from the model, particularly organisations that co-locate support and education and organisations that adopt a recovery approach when working with people with mental health challenges and intellectual and psychiatric disabilities.

The report highlights the background to RAW, the learning philosophy of RAW, the profile of the participants in the program and the various roles and responsibilities and structure that supports the work of RAW. The report presents perspectives from the teachers, student participants and tutors on how the group is designed and the principles implemented.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 79343
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: community based literacy, social inclusion, mental health, disability
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIAL WORK (160700) > Social Program Evaluation (160703)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 09 Dec 2014 22:59
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2015 01:18

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