Thanks James for this review. I too am fed up with the deficit model of ESOL and literacy and the very suspect 'skills-shortage' argument. I can highly recommend Uta Papen here. Papen reviewed many government publications on Skills for Life and found that ‘explanatory accounts rely heavily on statistics … and present statistical correlation as causation,’ (Papen, 2005: 120). Alleged empirical data is used to evidence perceived and shared deficiencies (compared to national benchmarks) with little, if any, qualitative understanding of why people are supposedly deficient or how those deficiencies are similar or dissimilar across different groups.
Papen, U. (2005) Adult Literacy as Social Practice, More than Skills; Oxon: Routledge.
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