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Research Report on the Effects of Violence on Adult Learners: A Canadian Study

Posted on 08/16/2010

Learning and Violence

Millions of adult learners – immigrants or native born, men or women – have and continue to experience violence in many different forms. Some may be fleeing war and repression overseas, while others may be victims in their own neighborhoods, communities and homes.

The Canadian-based website, Learning and Violence states what many of us will understand: "…Violence shapes us. It can make us stronger as learners, teachers, and simply as people in the world. It can also make it hard to trust ourselves and others, and difficult to learn. Its impact on learning is not well recognized …"

A recent research report from Canada seeks to address and inform just this issue, and the ways violence impacts literacy practice and learning. The research study, Moving Research About Addressing the Impacts of Violence on Learning Into Practice asks the critical question:

 "What is the impact of violence on adult learning and how can we address it our classrooms and programs?"

The report is the result of a multi-year project funded by the National Literacy Secretariat of Canada. Research was conducted by 11 adult literacy practitioners across Canada who collaborated on the topic of violence and its' impact on adult learning. The primary goal of the study was to move the research on violence and adult learners into 'practice' by both defining what it means to work on violence and learning in literacy, and at the same time, defining what it means to change our practice, based on what we have learned.

Some examples of the research projects include:

  • A survey of more than 500 literacy practitioners and how they addressed adult learners' experience with violence
  • How using arts-based approaches can help address impact of violence on learning
  • A study of health practitioners reflections on power
  • Examining the influence of violence on learners who are parents, and their children

Be sure to also visit Learning and Violence, to find practical ideas to make it easier to learn or teach when violence or hard times mark our lives and/or the lives of those we work with, and people and organizations exploring violence and learning through research or practice. Topics addressed include:

  • Our Assumptions About Violence
  • The Complexity of Violence
  • Violence in Education
  • Making Changes- Personal Safety, Community Action and Global Justice