SECTION 1 - A FRAMEWORK FOR CURRICULUM AND MATERIALS DEVELOPMENT
Union-developed materials are:
Individual programs will vary in terms of content focus and course objectives and the degree to which they aim toward an emergent curriculum. Since there can be no lock-step, prescribed curriculum manual for all programs, what kinds of materials can union programs provide to help instructors facilitate an open-ended process that responds to participants' interests and needs?
Useful materials come from three sources - authentic real-life materials, published educational materials, and materials developed by union literacy programs. Most programs will use some combination of materials from all three sources. Depending on union priorities, program goals and the findings of initial needs assessments, some curriculum decisions will be made up-front about particular themes and materials to be included in the program. Other decisions will be made during the course of the program in response to what emerges from participants.
Authentic real-life materials are those we encounter in the course of our daily lives - for example, forms, schedules, menus, directories, ads, letters, flyers, posters, labels, signs, maps and so on. Whenever relevant, authentic materials should be integrated into activities for problem-posing and literacy development.
Published literacy materials are available from commercial publishers, educational institutions and some union literacy programs (see Resources, Section 5). Some of these can be used in union programs, provided care is taken to select materials that are relevant and that lend themselves to a worker-centred approach. When considering published materials, you can refer to the Guidelines for Reviewing Materials for Union Programs, at the end of Section 3.
Materials can also be developed by union literacy programs themselves. Union-developed materials are based on themes and issues that are relevant to workers. They adhere to the principles of trade union education and they provide instructors with activities that incorporate the two strands of problem-posing and literacy development. These materials can be prepared in advance and made available to instructors to draw on as appropriate for a particular group of participants. In Section 3 of this manual, you will find guidelines for developing such materials. But before proceeding to those guidelines, we will look at examples of materials that demonstrate our approach in Section 2.