Writing for empowerment : adult learners and the Amherst Writers & Artists method

This is a study that examines the Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) method of leading writing groups. The methodology for this study includes a naturalistic inquiry approach to examining experiences, reviewing literature and interviewing practitioners about best practices for working with adult learners, in particular, those participating in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and General Equivalency Diploma (GED) programs. The Amherst Writers & Artists method practices and affirmations (Schneider, 2003) are examined for their value to adult educators who facilitate writing groups for adult learners, especially those whose educations have been interrupted by poverty. This work is significant to the field of adult education and will be helpful to both teachers and learners interested in creating arts-based experiential learning experiences for the empowerment of low-income adult learners.