A beginner reader is not a beginner thinker
in Working-class writing and publishing in the late twentieth century
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The writing produced by adult literacy students emerged out of a distinct educational and cultural setting. Student writing represented a significant type of learning. The writing itself tended to comprise simple and clear representations of working-class life and voices. The experience of ‘failure’ in education was a powerful one that formed the basis for personal expression. Experience was seen to put the student in control. Political issues and writing beyond the third person were also encouraged, with mixed results. In the changed context of the 1990s, new stories based on humorous episodes helped to portray students as normal rather than oppressed. Yet concern for social justice continued to inflect the writing and there were attempts to move students into the wider network of writing groups.


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