School of Psychology Seminar Series - Practice engagement theory (PET): Skills, practice and reciprocity – Learnings from New Zealand

Date Friday 10 March 2023
Time 12pm - 1pm
Where S.1.03 or
Presenter Dr. Stephen Reder
Contact Renae Dixon
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

Dr. Stephen Reder is Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics at Portland State University.

Practice engagement theory (PET) sees individuals’ literacy and numeracy proficiencies develop as a by-product of their engagement in everyday reading, writing and maths practices. Reciprocally, individuals’ proficiencies affect their levels of engagement in everyday literacy and numeracy practices. PET holds – and a growing body of longitudinal research confirms -- that literacy and numeracy interventions that increase engagement in meaningful everyday practices generate proficiency growth over time.

Beyond supporting adult literacy and numeracy development, engagement in everyday reading, writing and maths practices fosters social and economic wellbeing throughout society. Education and literacy have long been associated with positive economic and social outcomes in numerous societies. Using nationally representative survey data from New Zealand, the presentation considers the effects of practice engagement on earnings, health, social trust, political efficacy and civic participation. Practice engagement has statistically significant and substantial positive effects on each of these outcomes after controlling for the effects of proficiency, education and other important variables. The results have important implications for policy and practice in adult education as well as for future research about the role of practice engagement in overall wellbeing. Some of these will be discussed.