Practitioner-research as learning: exploring the situated knowledges of adult literacy educators

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Adult literacy development is an important if often mis-understood component of vocational education and training policies which leads to a
somewhat ambiguous positioning of educators within these policies. As educators with ostensibly no 'subject' expertise recognisable within the vocational education and training (VET) system, yet central to efficient implementation of VET, these educators' accumulated knowledge is often marginalised in terms of the'real' game of VET. This article outlines a practitioner-research program based on Haraway's (1991) notion of 'situated know ledges', The'research training' program for literacy educators supported twenty-eight practitioner-research projects over the period 1997-2000 in a variety of VET learning contexts in South Australia, Analysis of interview data drew attention to practitioner experiences of the research training program, including the industrial contexts in which they undertook their projects, the responses invoked by colleagues/line managers, the notions of 'theory' and 'research' held by practitioners, how they came to recognise particular kinds of situated knowledges they had accumulated, and how practitioners used this knowledge, albeit within the constraints of a national training system which also marginalised that knowledge, to speak about literacy learning. Practitioner-research initiatives will not solve this tension. However, they do contribute an empirical dimension to the current Australian debates which suggest that VET professionals, including literacy practitioners, have a role in shaping future VET policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages18
JournalLiteracy and Numeracy Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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