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Want to read but can't read: step on the adult literacy initiative stage!

I was quite perturbed whilst listening to an online radio discussion programme, about a teacher’s independent challenge as she serendipitously attempt to tackle, to the best of her ability adult literacy skills in Grenada, by launching a literacy project in a few towns and hopefully expanding as see fit. The primary focus was on young people who have left school unable to read a book.(nothing was mentioned about writing skills)

Throughout the interview, I heard nothing about learners who may have ‘special educational needs’ such as, poor coordination skills when using a pen or pencil, dyslexia, short concentration span, dislike for school/authority etc. On the contrary, I heard classroom scenarios ’you can’t read, you go to the garden’, and references made to other factors, such as early departure from school due to say, teenage pregnancy and I held my breath when I heard the word ‘stupid’ , and learners subjected to being jeered and mocked by the rest of the class. Wholeheartedly, if I was in that situation, I would be very happy to escort my parent or a community member to any garden, than be belittled in an establishment where my teaching and learning needs are not met. Of course, withdrawing from the establishment, only partially deals with the problem, because the psychological damage has been done – which may lead to a ‘withdrawn’, ‘angry’, ‘arrogant’ young person who may turn to a life of ‘waywardness’ escapism, which may spiral to drugs, crime, burning desire to get out of the country etc..

Briefly, I will angle at the ‘gardening material’ syndrome, academically speaking, all learners should spend quality time in the ‘garden’, a garden is the best science class, there one will learn about scientific concepts such as photosynthesis, osmosis, pollination, soil porosity and non porosity; gravitational forces, etc etc. A well cultivated garden is a haven of peace with nature, and where there is peace there is no condemnation.

So what are some parents doing about it – I suppose nothing due to fear, the qualified person may portray an air of superiority, speak loudly, to the parents or carer who may feel unable to challenge, due to being compartmentally classified maybe as uneducated. Remember, the American woman, Rosa Parks, refused to get up from her bus seat, number one, she was very tired, hardly could get up, and number two, she had, had enough of standing! (So parents, ask the learning establishment for more help for your child, if he/she reading skills is not up to standard - fear not!) There is a European pop song chorus, which goes, “Hey Teacher, leave those kids alone, all in all it is just another brick in the wall”. So, if establishments are not willing to tackle their own literacy failures, then philosophically speaking, the establishment is just another brick in the wall. Globally, every learner has a right to be respected whether he or she can read one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page or better still the whole book.

Father God, I bring to you all learners who are not able to grasp their learning with consummate ease, I ask you Lord, to grant wisdom, understanding and patience to all teaching professionals, so that they will seek and give the appropriate help to all their learners. I pray for the lady, who has started this literacy project, provide all monies needed, bless and reward her efforts and above all in thy great mercy, grant success to all the participants and volunteers on the project, in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.