Creating Change in Literacy Programs (2005)

Talking about taking account of violence

The goal of this paper is to encourage discussion in the literacy community about how literacy programs can take into account more fully the impact of violence on learning. The author has researched the effect of violence on learning, interviewing learners, literacy workers, therapists, and counsellors for a research study.

The author turns to the concept of discourse to explore how language shapes understanding and practices within a given field. Some discourses are dominant, reinforced by social institutions and widely used, while others are minority discourses used to resist dominant or mainstream discourses.

For example, those who are affected by violence are often described in medical terms and are said to be needing treatment. Teachers say they cannot address issues of violence in any way because they are not therapists. The discourse of the profession fosters the belief that because teachers are not trained as therapists, and because emotional and violence issues are properly subject matter for therapy, teachers should not take up issues of violence.

Other sections of the paper deal with discourses in education and with the integration of new discourses into the discussion. For each section, the author provides a series of questions aimed at prompting discussion.

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APA citation
Jenny Horsman. Creating Change in Literacy Programs 2005. Web. 1 Dec. 2022 <>
Jenny Horsman (2005). Creating Change in Literacy Programs. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from
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