Maintaining deep roots

The transformative possibilities of adult literacy education




adult literacy education, learner-centredness, performativity, transformative


This article explores on the formative influence of adult popular education in the evolution and continued ethos of adult literacy education in the Republic of Ireland. Freire’s work has been influential within Irish adult education and community development, informed by Freirean practices of learner-centredness, experiential learning and group learning. This stands in contrast to Further Education and Training system in which the adult literacy services are based, which has become increasingly professionalised in recent years, susceptible to the ideological values and practices of performativity. The article analyses the findings of research reports on adult literacy which used a mixed methods approach.  They reveal how the adult literacy sector holds important spaces for educators to counteract systemic pressures of performativity as they work with learners and their communities through the ethos and pedagogies of adult education, but this is constrained in its radical transformative possibilities.


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How to Cite

Grummell, B. (2023). Maintaining deep roots: The transformative possibilities of adult literacy education . European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 14(1), 145–161.