September 8 is International Literacy Day!
What is International Literacy Day?
In 1966 UNESCO declared September 8 as International Literacy Day. Since 1967 this event is celebrated annually around the world. This is a day to remind us about the importance of literacy in our life and to promote the value of literacy within our communities.
It is estimated that 771 million people around the world, two thirds of whom are women, lack basic reading and writing skills, impacting their ability to manage their health, work and overall life.
To address this need, the theme for this year is "Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces.” We are encouraged to ‘enrich’ and ‘transform’ our learning spaces that will ‘build resilience and ensure quality, equitable, and inclusive education for all.’
What does Literacy Learning Spaces mean?
We often think of space as our physical environment, our reception area, classrooms, offices, or other meeting places. With the recent pandemic, learning spaces grew to include virtual platforms, phone calls or mail. Learning spaces, however, refers to more than our physical environment. It also includes learning activities, learning materials and how we interact with learners. Thinking of learning spaces from a broader perspective enables us to become learner-centered.
Learner-centered literacy spaces allow us to be more inclusive and offer everyone the support they need to enable them to be active citizens, thereby creating learning societies where lifelong learning is embraced.
What does ‘Transform’ mean?
The dictionary defines transform as making a dramatic change in something. In context of this year’s International Literacy Day theme, we are encouraged to make dramatic changes in our literacy learning spaces that will ensure everyone can access our services.
What can I do to build resilience, ensure quality, equity and inclusive learning experiences for everyone?
1. Throughout the coming year, really look at your literacy learning spaces from the eyes of a learner and ask yourself:
- What procedures or processes do we have in place that create barriers in accessing our services?
- How do we include people from diverse backgrounds in our learning spaces?
- Are our learning spaces centred on the needs of adults based on new information, teaching and learning practices?
- How do we share power with learners to give them autonomy in their learning? How much choice do we give learners about their own learning? (pace, goals materials, activities)
2. Another idea is to complete a literacy audit of your organization to uncover unintended barriers to your services and discover strategies to improve access for learners to your CALP programs. Later this fall, an updated version of Opening Doors: A Literacy Toolkit will be available to guide you through a literacy audit of your organization.
3. Share what you are doing with other CALP staff.
*Click here to find out more about International Literacy Day
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