Constructing the 'ideal learner': a critical discourse analysis of the adult numeracy core curriculum

Oughton, Helen M. (2007) Constructing the 'ideal learner': a critical discourse analysis of the adult numeracy core curriculum. Research in post compulsory education, 12 (2). p. 259. ISSN 1359-6748


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A critical discourse analysis of the Adult Numeracy Core Curriculum is used to expose and challenge the underlying assumptions of the Skills for Life strategy, and to examine the way in which the text constructs subject positions for adult numeracy teachers and learners. The analysis finds that presuppositions include the unproblematic transfer of classroom numeracy learning to social practice, and the need for adults to learn functional numeracy rather than academic mathematics. Teachers are found to be constructed by the text within a deficit model, as needing help, guidance, and instruction, while learners are positioned as also deficient, passive, childlike and 'other'. Learners are excluded from high status academic mathematics and restricted to functional numeracy, and this finding is considered in relation to the theories of Bourdieu and Bernstein. Implications for the coming review of the Skills for Life core curricula are examined, and alternative discourses considered.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an electronic version of an article published in Research in post compulsory education. Research in post compulsory education is available online at informaworldTM at
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adult numeracy,professionalism,critical discourse analysis
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: School of Education and Psychology > Education
Depositing User: Scott Wilson
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 12:36
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 14:57
Identification Number: 10.1080/13596740701387536

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