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Profile of Adult Literacy

Profile of Adult Literacy

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Published by billie_hara
ENGL3360
ENGL3360

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Published by: billie_hara on Jan 14, 2010
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01/13/2010

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From Jim Burke's
The English Teacher's Companion
(which is a highly recommended bookfor those planning to teach middle or high school)
Chapter 3A MODERN PROFILE OF ADULT LITERACYThe following profile grew out of a conversation with various adults who talked with me aboutthe work they do. Listening to them, particularly to those who ran their own businesses, reflecton the range of skills they needed to hold professional jobs, I marveled at their differentliteracies. The implications for teachers challenged me to reevaluate what I teach and assume mystudents need to know and be able to do. I’ve found this profile helpful when talking with otherteachers and students. My students are astounded to realize the ways they will need to use whatthey are learning.The ProfileGary designs and installs gardens in a suburban town in northern California where he grew up.Rising early, he reads the newspaper, checking the real estate section first to see if there are anynew developments listed. If there were, he would schedule an appointment with the developer topresent his vision (via his portfolio) for the new property Gary runs his own business out of hishome, a small but attractive house he rents near the campus where his wife works; their daughter,who is in first grade, attends an elementary school around the corner.By eight o’clock Gary has penciled in all his jobs, meetings, purchases to make, banking to do,and other business. He carries an assortment of tools necessary to run his small business: a pager,a cellular phone, aPalmPilot?PDA (personal digital assistant), which contains his client and jobinformation, and a laptop computer for making presentations to clients, keeping his accounts, andusing the Internet to check on different work-related business such as orders and jobs. Havingdesigned his own Web site for Change of Seasons (the name of his business), he is able tomonitor new job prospects while in the field by checking his e-mail periodically, thanks to thewireless modems which have recently become so affordable and dependable.After installing new plum saplings for a woman in his old neighborhood, Gary heads home,where he washes up, prepares for a meeting with prospective clients, and eats lunch. He hasalready met with this couple once to hear their landscaping needs. Based on their ideas and hisown, he has translated their thoughts into a drawing on his CAD program and estimated theproject’s total cost. Because he was in theater in college, Gary is very comfortable talking infront of people. When he meets with Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan, he is relaxed, articulate, andconfident, because is he thoroughly prepared. Over coffee, as the different 3-D screens fade inand out on his laptop, they talk about the ideas Gary drew up, each one richly detailed, showingwhat their new yard would look like. The last screen fades to what resembles a page from an oldfairy tale. An elegant but easily readable text slowly scrolls up while soft music plays on thelaptop and Gary’s voice-over begins:

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