Special issue of IRE explores narrative approaches to researching literacy and non-formal education

17 December 2018

The December 2018 issue of the International Review of Education – Journal of Lifelong Learning (IRE) looks at narrative approaches to researching literacy and non-formal education in Africa and Asia. It features six articles from South Africa, Tanzania, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Education researchers working in Africa and Asia are beginning to turn to qualitative and narrative research approaches to study the acquisition of literacy, particularly in non-formal or informal contexts. Most of the articles in this special issue draw on personal experiences, using an autoethnographic methodology. The authors treat research as a political and socially conscious act, challenging conventional ways of research and giving voice to learners. Their research uncovers, among other things, a need to rewrite textbooks, change curricula and restore the languages spoken in Africa and Asia. In addition, the issue reveals that many Western language learning theories are of limited relevance to learners in Africa and Asia, as they are based on a very different empirical reality, different life experiences and a different world view. It is thus important to work towards a paradigm shift in the thinking on language in education in Africa and Asia.

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