Att hantera läskrav i arbetet : om industriarbetare med läs- och skrivsvårigheter
Sammanfattning: In our society, as in most societies of the world, learning to read and write is a self-evident part of the individual's development and socialisation into functional adult life. In the International Adult Literacy Survey study, 1994-1998 literacy was defined as "the ability to process information used in everyday life, at work, at home, and as a citizen". The results showed that there were substantial differences between the participating countries as regards the literacy level of the adult population. For all countries the results demonstrated that a high literacy level characterises individuals who read every day, at work and in their spare time, who take part in adult education, who have a high socio economic status and a good education.The present study aims at finding more knowledge about literacy demands in connection with work and how these demands are experienced and met by the individual. The study is restricted to individuals with a certain type of occupation and whose education is relevant to their line of work. In addition, these individuals have, according to themselves, pronounced reading and writing disabilities. In order to make the phenomena of reading and writing visible in daily work I chose the case study as research strategy. The data collection techniques I have used to form a basis for description, interpretation and analysis of the research objects are audio-taped interviews, questionnaires, reading tests, reading diaries and time-sampling diaries.The results show very clearly that reading and writing are necessary and important parts in coping with daily tasks in industrial work. The informants in the study said that it is not possible to avoid reading. Their work is organised in such a way, e.g., the increased use of computers, that reading is necessary. Most incidents of reading at work consist of reading of short units and limited sequences.There is some ambivalence in the informants' descriptions of literacy requirements and their own reading and writing ability. When they assess their ability in general terms they convey satisfaction with their level of performance. However, when they describe concrete reading and writing situations and the requirements connected with them, they report difficulties as well as feelings of inadequacy and discomfort.In the informants' stories two main types of strategies can be detected, which they have developed in order to cope with daily reading and writing tasks as well as new task demands. One of them was to try to reduce the number of occasions when reading or writing was necessary, or to avoid reading and writing and yet perform the task that was prescribed. The other type of strategy implied that the reading and writing activities was adapted specifically to the situation at hand.The informants did not seem to choose either avoiding or elaborating strategies, rather they described actions that can be referred to both of the main types of strategies. Persons who reported many incidents of reading and a considerable amount of reading time as part of their job, recorded elaborating strategies more often than avoiding. Their reading material seemed more varied and they tried more often to fulfil their tasks on their own or by asking for help. It was clear that some of these strategies had been developed in early childhood, when the informants were in the process of learning the basics of reading and writing.
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