Code of Practice

Code of Practice - Adult Literacy Provision

Definition | Principles | Practitioners | Providers | References


“A code of practice speaks to the very best that a
profession is or strives to be.”

This Code of Practice is designed to provide the basis
for good and ethical practice for the operation,
administration and teaching in, Adult Literacy programs in
South Australia. It is based on a need for ethical practice
and good teaching supported by strong research.

The promotion of good teaching and positive learning is
the aim of this Code of Practice.

We assert that at any one time there exists a broad
consensus within the adult literacy community about good
teaching and that this Code of Practice: Adult Literacy
Provision articulates this consensus. Its purpose is also

  • act as a framework to guide the development of a
    coherent set of policies and practices which demonstrates
    that the learners are central to the purpose and are
    expected to be active participants in the learning
  • designate broad responsibilities for the development
    of an environment and practices which will enhance
  • encourage on-going debate and the promotion of
    research in Adult Literacy.

It is recognised that what constitutes good practice in
adult literacy is an ongoing debate which is not just
concerned with teaching and learning techniques but which
involves moral, ethical, ideological, social, cultural and
political considerations. Thus a fundamental characteristic
of good practice involves practitioners and providers in
continually and collaboratively reflecting on, experimenting
with, and researching their provision, This document will,
therefore, be an evolving one that is reviewed and updated

The Code recognises that certain providers may well be
governed by the legislation, funding agreements, rules and
regulations through which education standards are set. It is
anticipated that this Code will assist in negotiations and
complement them.

The development of the Code has been greatly assisted
through access to a range of other codes that are
acknowledged at the end of this document.


Within this Code, Adult Literacy refers to Adult English
Literacy. Literacy cannot be divorced from language but this
code does not address the specific needs of adult English as
a second language programs. Further, practitioners and
providers are reminded that they have a legal obligation to
adhere to the following legislation;

  • Equal Employment Opportunity;
  • Occupational, Health, Safety and Welfare.


This Code uses the ACAL definition of literacy, that

Literacy involves the integration of listening, speaking,
reading, writing and critical thinking and incorporates
numeracy. It includes the cultural knowledge which enables
the speaker, writer or reader to recognise and use language
appropriate to different social situations. Active literacy
allows people to use language to enhance their capacity to
think, create and question in order to participate
effectively in society.


We believe that:

  • learning is for all people and for all of their lives
    and therefore Adult Literacy and Numeracy programs are
    part of the much larger adult education and training
  • all adults who need to further develop their literacy
    skills have a right of access to programs, which meet
    their individual needs;
  • adults learn in many different ways and should have
    access to a variety of programs;
  • literacy programs should recognise and respond to,
    the full range of community needs and interests and work
    collaboratively with other programs and agencies to meet
    those needs;
  • all practitioners involved in Adult Literacy
    provision have a right to training and on-going
    professional development;
  • literacy is not an end in itself but contributes to
    an individual achieving his/her goals.



In relation to participants, practitioners will:

  • perform their duties with professionalism, integrity
    and efficiency;
  • exercise proper courtesy, consideration, sensitivity,
    fairness and equity in their relationships with
    participants, fellow employees and members of the public;
  • take reasonable care to protect their own health and
    safety and the health and safety of others;
  • respect the confidentiality of participants at all
  • provide opportunities for participants to develop
    skills that enable them to acquire further knowledge
  • foster the development of confidence, as well as
    knowledge and skills;
  • provide and promote opportunities for participants in
    adult literacy programs to move easily to further
    opportunities in education, employment and community life
    and support participants in these moves;
  • ensure participants have access to information about
    language, culture, society, technology and employment;
  • aim to develop participants as both independent and
    collaborative learners and promote critical and creative
  • take into account the skills, backgrounds, values,
    experiences, needs, goals, learning styles and interests
    of the participants and reflect adult concerns such as
    work, home commitments, participation, further education,
    health, parenting and leisure;
  • negotiate content, learning materials, and teaching
    and assessment methods;
  • establish assessment procedures that enable
    participants to monitor their own progress, and to assist
    practitioners in the ongoing monitoring of the program;
  • ensure that the course is structured as a coherent
    and progressive entity at a level appropriate to the
    participant group;
  • ensure that there is a consistency between course and
    module aims and objectives, and assessment activities.


PROVIDERS (top of page)

To ensure a quality program, providers will in relation
to policy:

  • maintain clear statements of goals, values and
    teaching methods which are available for scrutiny and
    which are reviewed regularly;
  • market their education services with integrity,
    accuracy and professionalism;
  • have the capacity to deliver the nominated courses;
  • conduct recruitment of participants in an ethical and
    responsible manner;
  • adopt policies and management practices which
    maintain high professional standards in the delivery of
    education and training services and which safe-guard the
    educational interests and welfare of all participants;

in relation to staff:

  • ensure that paid and volunteer practitioners are
    appropriately qualified in adult literacy education and
    working with adults and are supported for the tasks they
  • ensure access to further training and professional
  • issue clear statements of work duties and employer
  • pay fair rates of rumuneration for skill and
  • ensure that the level of staffing provided meets the
    learning needs of all participants;
  • ensure that a grievance procedure is in place;

in relation to participants:

  • supply accurate and current information to enable
    informed decisions to be made about the appropriateness
    of the provider and its courses to a participant’s needs;
  • ensure that applicants’ rights and obligations
    concerning courses of study, costs, payment arrangements,
    grievance procedures etc. are clearly explained;
  • provide appropriate orientation to participants;
  • provide participants with ready access to appropriate
    facilities and resources;
  • maintain an adult learning environment, conducive to
    the success and well-being of participants;
  • respect learners’ rights to self determination and
    freedom of choice in learning;
  • be sensitive to, and meet the special and cultural
    needs of, participants;
  • have a flexible approach to the delivery of programs
    in meeting participants’ needs;
  • recognise the importance of educational and personal
    counselling, advisory and support services and either
    provide or have clear referral mechanisms to those
  • ensure that participants are aware of grievance
    procedures in the organisation;
  • ensure protection for the health, safety and welfare
    of participants;
  • in relation to assessment and evaluation:
  • monitor and record course attendance and progress;
  • keep records accurately, store then securely and
    ensure confidentiality is maintained;
  • conduct regular evaluation of the courses and
    provision and incorporate recommended changes;
  • ensure that course participants have the right, and
    are encouraged, to evaluate the course, context,
    instuction, other resources, support services and are
    provided with opportunities to communicate their

in relation to other providers:

  • establish links with other providers to facilitate
    referrals and the maintenance of standards;
  • be aware of the scope of their own program and refer
    those people whose needs can be better met by other

(top of page)

“Code of Practice for Providers of Vocational Educational
and Training” Guide to Recognition of Training in SA, March

“Draft Code of Ethical Practice for AGE” AAACE. “Code of
Conduct for Public Employees” DEET

“An Interdisciplinary Code of Ethics for Adult Education”
by Robert J. Connelly and Kathleen M. Light

Adult Education Quarterly Vol. 41, No. 4 Summer 1991. “A
Code of Good Practice: University Teaching” June 1993, Uni
of SA ACAL Policy Statement

“Towards a Code of Ethical Practice for Adult and
Community Educators” AAACE News, Peter Meggitt.

“Ethics Codes of Practice and Adult Education” Mary Anne
Sabine 10/9/91.

“The Adult Basic Education Profession and Competence:
Promoting Best Practice”

Hermine Scheerer, Andrew Goncai, Paul Hagen, Terri