Too Scared to Learn explores the impact of women's experiences of violence on their learning, and proposes radical changes to educational programs through connecting therapeutic and educational discourses. Little attention has previously been paid to the impact of violence on learning.
A large percentage of women who come to adult literacy programs have experienced, or are currently experiencing, violence in their lives. This experience of violence negatively affects their ability to improve their literacy skills. Literacy programs and other educational programs have not integrated this reality into their work.
This book builds on extensive research that revealed the wide range of impacts violence has on adult literacy learning. Interviews with counselors and therapists, literacy learners, and educators working in different situations, and a wide range of theoretical and experiential literature, form the basis of the analysis. Educators are offered information to support reconceptualizing programs and practices and making concrete changes that will enable women to learn more effectively. The book makes clear that without an acknowledgment of the impact of violence on learning, women, rather than getting a chance to succeed and improve their literacy skills, get only a chance to fail, confirming to themselves that they really cannot learn.
Essential reading for literacy and adult education practitioners, teachers of English as a second language, and education theorists, Too Scared to Learn explores the intersection among trauma, psychological theory, and pedagogy. The book is filled with a wealth of practical ideas, possibilities, and thoughts about what practitioners might do differently in classrooms and educational institutions if we begin to think differently about violence.
"The book is challenging, readable, and suggestive of alternative methods and strategies for literacy programs and couseling, while the references provide a valuable resource in themselves."
—READINGS: A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health
"The book certainly succeeded in opening my eyes and shifting my thinking about violence and learning in educational settings….Few of us are free of stereotyping, but greater awareness can make us more cautious thinkers. That is what this book is about. It is a wake-up call for teachers of all ages."
—Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy
"One of the strengths of the book is the diversity of strategies offered to address particular problems….Too Scared to Learn links educational and therapeutic discourses, raises consciousness about the effects of violence on learning, and provides a rich resource book for adult education."
—Studies in the Education of Adults
"Too Scared to Learn is an interesting and engaging book…offers concrete, practical suggestions on how learning settings for women can be redesigned….This book is essential reading for many learners, adult education practitioners, counselors, theorists, activists and policy makers."
—Taylor & Francis Ltd.
"A groundbreaking study that brings a critical issue for adult educators out of the closet. Trauma and violence have been invisible elephants. Horsman is a pioneer in raising awareness about their pervasiveness in learners' lives, their consequences for learning, and their implications for teaching. The book goes far beyond naming trauma as an issue; it presents a frame for understanding it which challenges traditional therapeutic models, situating the issue in a broad social context. It is an important contribution to the theory and practice of adult education which will change the way we think about the role of trauma in learners' lives and in the literacy classroom."
University of Massachusetts
"A landmark book in both its content and methodology….Uses cutting-edge work on the theorization and therapeutic response to women's experience of violence and its resulting trauma to explore what this may mean for literacy learning and develop new guidelines for best practice in literacy learning and teaching."
University of Manitoba
Contents: Preface. Part I: Canaries in the Mine. Introduction. What Is "Normal" in a Violent Society? Breaking the Silence in Literacy. Part II: Learning in the Context of Trauma. Beyond "Normal" Appearances: "Hidden" Impacts of Trauma. Learning in the Context of Trauma: The Challenge of Setting Goals. Bringing the Whole Person to Learning Spirit. Part III: Bearing Witness. Bridging the Divide Between Literacy and Therapy. Examining the Costs of Bearing Witness. Part IV: Pulling It All Together. Rethinking Change. Sources and Resources.