Maclachlan, Kathy and Tett, Lyn (2006) Learning to Change or Changing the Learning: Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 12 (2). pp. 195-206. ISSN 1477-9714

After decades of neglect adult literacy and numeracy (ALN) learning in Scotland has been accorded the prominence that it has always merited but seldom received. Understandings of the concept of literacies and what it means to be literate have similarly undergone significant change in the last few decades. This shift has entailed a recognition of literacies as diverse and complex social practices instead of merely the mechanical, functional skills of decoding and producing texts.

This paper examines the experiences of ALN learners in Scotland, where policy affirms a commitment to developing literacies learning that is founded on a social practices model of ALN. It draws from the voices of adult learners throughout the country who reflect upon their learning experiences, and it argues that whilst the policy context has created a real climate of change for literacies learning, and whilst the arrangements for learning have resulted in significant changes for individual learners, there is still much work to be done around the critical and collective aspects of ALN learning for a social practices model to be fully realised in practice.

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