Perceptions of teaching nonliterate adults in oral cultures : a modified Delphi study.


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A descriptive study using a modified Delphi method was conducted to gather literate instructors' perceptions of teaching nonliterate adults in oral cultures. Using the extant literature, the researcher prepared 66 statements concerning characteristics of nonliterate adults in oral cultures, personal competencies that contribute to a literate teacher's effectiveness, and instructional strategies that can be used effectively with nonliterate adults. Fifty-four participants, literate practitioners with varying levels of experience in Africa, Asia, Latin and South America, and across multiple global regions, were formed into a participant panel to respond to the prepared statements using a 6-point Likert-type scale from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree." Fifteen of the 66 statements presented to the panel in the Round One Questionnaire did not reach consensus, defined as an interquartile range of one or less. The 15 statements as well as 19 new statements developed from participant comments from Round One were presented to participants again in an individualized Round Two-A Questionnaire where each participant's responses as well as the groups' responses were noted. The 51 statements that had reached consensus were also presented in an individualized Round Two-B Questionnaire. Participants were given the opportunity to change any of their responses from Round One and were asked to respond to the new statements in Round Two. Fifty-three participants responded in Round Two. At the conclusion of Round Two, 93% of the 85 statements had reached consensus. The findings of this study challenged the concept often seen in adult education that literacy is necessarily the first rung of adult education. Findings from this study have provided a knowledge base for literates who wish to teach topics other than literacy to nonliterate adults in oral cultures.



Nonliterates. Adult learning. Literacy development.