Tag Archive: AdultandContinuing

Crisis or opportunity: An investigation to determine the state of graduate programs in adult education in the United States and recommendations for survival in the 21st century (Education Papers posted on March 26th, 2013 )

The history of adult Education has extended over a relatively short period of time in the United States, and so concurrently have the programs of graduate Education in the schools of Higher Education. Through the years, the backgrounds and occupations of the students enrolled in adult education changed. Graduate students in the fifties and sixties were primarily administrators from university-based programs (Houle and Buskey, 1966). The late sixties and seventies found those working in adult Basic education (ABE) entering programs. During the seventies there was an increase in the number of students from the private and public sectors, along with educators in higher education and public Health. While the eighties included students from a variety of organizations, they were concerned with many of the applications of adult education. The rate of development started to decline slightly during the eighties in both the numbers of institutions granting doctorates, and those individuals receiving doctorates. It was during this time that a shift in graduate enrollments and a decline in the number of programs nationally continued to dwindle. The purpose of this study is to investigate the current status of graduate programs in adult education, to explore the reasons for the increase or decline in the number of programs nationally in adult education, and to suggest ways in which adult education programs need to change in order to survive in the 21st century. A survey will be conducted among all of the schools that offer a graduate degree in adult education. It will look only at those colleges and universities in the United States that offer a master’s or doctorate degree in adult education. This study will investigate the following research questions: (1) What has the enrollment trend in graduate programs in adult education been for the last 5 years? (2) What is the future of graduate programs in adult education? (3) What should be done to remain competitive and increase the number of graduate programs in adult education in the 21st century? (4) What effect if any have the CPAE Standards for Graduate Programs in Adult Education had on the number of programs nationally? During its seventy years, as an academic discipline, the field has spent a great amount of time examining itself as an emerging and distinct field. The significance of establishing itself as a legitimate field in education and one that is away from K–12 education. It seems clear that adult education programs continue to struggle to find their niche among university programs. As these programs start the 21 st century, this crisis may present them with the opportunity to clearly define their mission and market.

Human resource interventions and training in downsized organizations to assist remaining employees (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

This study sought to determine if the use of human resource interventions and training programs for Management employees have an effect on employee morale, employee productivity, and operating profits in the organization. This study extended Weavers 1996) investigation on the use of human resource interventions and training programs offered to Management employees in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. This study also investigated what human resource interventions were used and what training programs were offered to management employees in downsized organizations to help make the transition for the remaining employees and how effective these interventions and programs were. The intent of this study was to determine the perceived use and effectiveness of various human resource interventions and training programs in helping the remaining employees cope with downsizing. Research reveals the hardships the survivors endure after downsizing, but it does not reveal the specific human resource interventions and training programs used by organizations to assist the remaining employees to cope with the after effects of restructuring. This study focused on the manufacturing/industrial sector in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia where much downsizing has occurred in the past and is predicted to occur in the future. A survey was sent to 250 American Society for Training and Development ASTD) members who are human resource professionals in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Data were collected from 130 ASTD respondents and analyzed. An analysis of variance ANOVA) was completed and revealed that there was not a significant difference in employee morale, employee productivity, and operating profits between those organizations that used or did not use human resource interventions and offered or did not offer training programs to management. A bivariate correlation analysis was conducted on each of the independent variables the use of human resource interventions and training programs for management) and the dependent variables employee morale, employee productivity, and operating profits) to determine if a significant relationship could be found. The results of the analyses indicated that there was a significant relationship between specific human resource interventions and training programs and employee morale, employee productivity and operating profits. Descriptive statistics revealed that the most effective human resource interventions were rated lower in frequency of use and the most effective and most frequently used training program does not have a significant relationship with employee morale, employee productivity, and operating profits. It was recommended that further research be conducted to identify which human resource interventions and training programs for management personnel and hourly employees will assist remaining employees as well as increase employee morale, employee productivity, and operating profits.

English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) and training: Two languages or one (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

This study involves research exploring the practice of English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) training in Korea. The expansion of global business and industry has expedited the growth of EOP, as English is regarded as the universal communication medium in many parts of the world. English for Occupational Purposes shares many common characteristics with general training such as program design process, according to literature on EOP theories and models; but few evidences show any exchange between the two fields. The purpose of the study was to investigate how EOP training was perceived and operated in adult language Education in Korea, and to explore the possible linkage between scholarly inquiry into EOP and general training for human resource development. The study adopted a mixed-method research design, utilizing a case study within a single institution consisting of field observations and interviews, as well as a survey in representative EOP institutions. Three months of field work was conducted in an EOP program provided for a group of EOP learners from the human resource development department of a major corporation. The study also utilized survey in seven locations, in order to complement the case study. The major findings are: (1) Participants universally expressed that English proficiency was an essential job qualification in their fields and that they always felt the need to improve their English. (2) Participants seemed intuitively able to articulate the core elements of EOP although they were not familiar with EOP as a term. (3) The EOP instructors had autonomy to design and develop their EOP curriculum and instruction without a significant extent of curricular guidance or standards to follow. (4) Participants generally saw the similarities between EOP and general training in terms of their core objectives and characteristics. (5) However, the implementation of training models and techniques was rarely observed in the selected case. The methodology of the study allowed emergent themes to appear while exploring the major questions. The discrepancy between perceived and actual needs for EOP was one of the strongest themes that surfaced in the course of data collection and analysis.

Empowerment of low-income women in India: Emergent female grassroots leaders in Ahmedabad, Gujarat (Education Papers posted on March 20th, 2013 )

Western concepts of gender equality and empowerment have not penetrated successfully into Eastern cultures. An Indian womans positionality is dependent upon complex Social and Economic factors that hinder poverty alleviation and empowerment within low-income sectors. The female-to-male ratio in India has declined, largely due to patriarchy and female infanticide, resulting in a ratio of 933 females per 1,000 males. Gender discrimination in India can be traced back to post-Vedic patriarchal attitudes that created strict societal expectations of females upheld more rigidly within lower class, caste, and income sectors. A critical shortage of formal jobs in India combined with gender disparities marginalized the female workforce forced to earn subsistence-level incomes within unregulated informal sectors. This study combines gender, Economic, and Social development as an epistemological lens to explore the status of Indian women within informal work sectors and their struggle towards the transformation of a hegemonic society. An interdisciplinary conceptual framework influenced the examination of poverty alleviation of marginalized women: Gandhian ideology of community, self-reliance, and nonviolence; feminist theory; and National Human Resource Development. The Self-Employed Womens Association SEWA) is a Social, economic, and political movement that creates culturally specific pedagogies and strategies to organize women from multiple trades, classes, castes, and ethnic divisions. Grassroots leaders at SEWA challenged dominant social and economic structures to promote the status of low-income women, proving that poor women are capable of banking, union membership, and other privileges previously reserved for the formal and middle-class sectors. Study participants promoted Gandhis insistence upon protection of the livelihood of the masses. Findings indicated a non-Western feminist model that includes four phases: social disequilibrium, jagruti awakening), social transformation, and emergent leaders. Grassroots leadership in Gujarat is vital if women are to develop and practice their own models of justice. Results suggest implications for research, scholarship, and practice in the larger context of womens development. Patriarchal traditions in Gujarat continue to deter non-government and legal interventions to eliminate gender, caste, and class discriminations. Conclusions recommend sustained efforts from government, non-government, public, and private sectors are critical for informal workforce development in Gujarat.

Learning in practice and learning to practice (Education Papers posted on March 20th, 2013 )

Health and human service professions are among the fastest growing professions and, correspondingly, some of the most important for understanding the nature of practice and the learning needs of practitioners. This dissertation addresses questions about learning in settings of Health and human service practice including: the meaning of “good practice,” the means of engaging in “good practice,” and the aspects of practice that are challenging for practitioners at various levels of experience. These questions are explored through a set of qualitative studies of practitioners in three fields: child care, adult developmental disabilities services DD), and medicine. The data were collected through semi-structured, in-person, individual interviews with child care providers and DD staff and through focus groups with third year Medical students. Thematic analysis Chapters 2 and 4) and case study analysis Chapter 3) are the primary methods of analysis. The perspectives of practitioners in each field are discussed both separately and comparatively. Chapter 5 discusses general themes cutting across all three fields. The dissertation makes several contributions to the study of learning in practice, particularly with respect to intersections between policy, Education, and practice. First, the studies articulate several tensions between formal Education and practical understanding as experienced by many health and human service providers. At the heart of the tension is the prioritization of knowledge and knowing over internalized values and ways of being. Second, the studies identify a variety of self-reported learning opportunities present in daily practice. Third, several specific challenges practitioners face when they enter practice are examined. Ways of addressing the challenges of learning the context-specific content of practice are considered. Fourth, the studies show that there are multiple purposes and interpretations of carework and there has been little success in either achieving consensus about the core elements of quality carework or designing a pluralistic system in which the nature of carework in a particular agency is clearly defined, demonstrated, and monitored. Finally, the studies provide specific examples of gaps that occur when there is a paradigm shift at the policy level without sufficient planning and commitment of resources to follow through to practice.

Bridging traditional boundaries of knowing: Revaluing mind/body connections through experiences of embodiment (Education Papers posted on March 18th, 2013 )

Western thought is embedded in a traditional mind/body dichotomy that has privileged the mind in constructing knowledge and obscured the body. However, within emerging scholarly discourses situated in holistic learning practices, there is movement toward integrating multiple ways of knowing guiding best practice and informing learning processes in adult and higher Education. With embodiment emerging as an interest area within these discourses, the primary purpose of this study was to explore revaluing embodiment as a way of knowing by examining how it was conceived of, experienced, and applied as new knowledge in a higher Education classroom. It addressed a need to bridge the gap between the traditional rational paradigm of teaching and learning and integrated pedagogies that reconnect the whole person. This study was a qualitative investigation of embodiment through a case study action research project in a higher Education B.S.N. class of practicing registered nurses where a direct attempt was made to incorporate attention to the body in learning through five experiential sessions drawn from various conceptualizations of embodiment. Experiences of embodiment were examined among 13 participants with data collected through interviews, observation, and documents. Theoretical framing was established from cognitive science, situated cognition and Social theory. Several process findings were revealed as part of the action research process from participation in activities of embodied awareness. First, participants developed a deeper understanding of embodied awareness from initial physiological and emotive responses through the body by clarifying ineffable aspects of embodiment through experiential engagement and by relating conceptualizations of embodiment to prior experiences. Second, participants made significant discoveries as new learning about embodiment that they were able to apply as greater self awareness through individual and relational integration in their personal and professional lives with realizations of self nurturance as highly significant for improving quality of life. Third, participants recognized value in experiences of embodiment for learning in adult and higher education related to enhancing course content and greater understanding of cultural relevance and generalized learning processes in new ways. Overall, this study informed a deeper understanding of embodied experiences and their impact and usefulness in facilitating new learning.

Phonological recoding in sentence-level Chinese character recognition by advanced adult L2 Chinese learners (Education Papers posted on March 17th, 2013 )

To form a descriptive basis for establishing the learning potential in adult second language acquisition SLA), many SLA researchers have urged that studies on second-language L2) ultimate attainment should identify the domains in which adult L2 learners are or are not able to attain native-like proficiency levels. The empirical study reported in this dissertation aims to explore whether a native-like lexical processing system can indeed be attained by advanced adult L2 learners. To this end, the study adopted the advanced-learner approach, employing multiple screening criteria to recruit 23 adult L2 Chinese learners whose non-native features could not be easily perceived by native speakers and 23 native controls. To probe their underlying lexical processing procedure and representational knowledge involved in sentence-level Chinese character recognition, this study drew on the theoretical and methodological insights garnered from the phonological recoding research e.g., Xu, Pollatsek, & Potter, 1999), in which four online reading tasks were designed for and administered to the participants. Analyses of the participants online performance data revealed that, while the L2 learners and native speakers were comparable in terms of their overall Chinese reading ability as verified by a Chinese proficiency test), similarities and differences co-existed between them with regard to their underlying lexical processing procedure and the nature of the activated lexical information. With respect to the similarities, both the native speakers and the L2 learners appeared to employ the same processing procedure in initial semantic activation and in subsequent semantic integration: phonological recoding was consistently performed by both groups to assist semantic activation long before the semantic code of a Chinese character was fully activated and continued to mediate the subsequent semantic integration process. Nevertheless, while both tonal and segmental information were engaged in the native speakers semantic activation and integration processes, tonal information was available late and only effectively involved in the L2 learners semantic integration process. In other words, the L2 learners were still not quite native-like in terms of the efficiency with which tonal information was activated online in sentence-level Chinese character recognition. Furthermore, the native speakers outperformed the L2 learners across all tasks, both in terms of the processing time that was required for semantic access mean= 0.4847 seconds vs. 0.8748 seconds) and the accuracy rate with which a Chinese character was identified mean= 92.89% vs. 88.24%). Note that the observed non-target features e.g., delayed temporal availability of tonal information in semantic activation) of the L2 learners lexical processing system were only perceived in the laboratory experimental settings. Outside of the laboratory settings, these L2 learners all appeared to be native-like in comprehending Chinese characters. Thus, following Hyltenstam and Abrahamssons 2000) definition of near-nativeness—“second language proficiency levels that are not identical to native-like levels but that fall short above the limit of perceivable non-nativeness” p. 163; see also Hyltenstam & Abrahamsson, 2003), the L2 learners may operate on a near-native lexical processing system. Based upon the findings, pedagogical implications for L2 Chinese) reading instruction were provided.

Teaching culture as metaphor to adult learners in English as a foreign language curriculum (Education Papers posted on March 16th, 2013 )

This dissertation examines the use of cultural metaphors as tools in understanding American culture and enhancing English Acquisition among adult learners. It is based on the new approach to cognitive linguistics that metaphors are cognitive instruments that are used to organize linguistic categories and that these categories differ from one culture to another. The purpose of this study is to investigate the benefits of teaching culture through metaphor in the foreign language classroom, focusing on students engaged in English as a foreign language EFL) curriculum in Taiwan. This study was primarily quantitative with a qualitative component, a mixed-method approach. This involved quasi-experimental research combined with qualitative methods. The impact of the Communicative Language Teaching with Cultural Metaphor Plan CLTCMP), a cultural teaching style, has on facilitating the English as a Foreign Language EFL) students English reading comprehension and their understanding of American culture was measured through the use of standardized tests. To analyze the quantitative data, the statistical analysis software, Standard Statistical Package for the Social Sciences SPSS ) for Windows version 14.0, ANCOVA, Pearson Correlation and Point Biserial Correlation were utilized. In order to obtain the EFL students and teachers perspectives and experiences regarding the cultural metaphor of teaching and learning in EFL curriculum, interviews were conducted with both the experimental group and EFL teachers. Qualitatively, the Constant Comparison Method was used to analyze instruction and follow-up focus group interviews with the participants, 23 out of 26 students in the experimental group and personal interviews with seven EFL teachers after the experimental project. The statistical analysis indicated that the CLTCMP, the cultural metaphorical teaching method, affected the EFL students English reading comprehension slightly, a significant difference between mean scores of the two groups, control M=65.72 and experimental M= 69.69. However, the statistical analysis indicated that the CLTCMP did greatly influence the participants American cultural metaphor understanding, a significant difference between mean scores of the two groups, control M= 64.74 and experimental M= 93.04. Therefore, there were statistically significant differences between those trained in the CLTCMP method contrasted to those who were in more traditional classes. Literal translations are impossible due to great disparities between languages, cultures, Social histories, and other salient features of symbolic interaction. Possible implications for further research include the function or role of translation and interpretation in the second or foreign language acquisition and cross-cultural communication.

Exploring the life worlds of successful adult GED graduates (Education Papers posted on March 16th, 2013 )

This study explored the life worlds of a disenfranchised group of adult learners – school dropouts – who have re-entered school and successfully completed an adult Education program. The primary question guiding this study was, what are the life worlds of school dropouts who have now successfully completed a GED/high school diploma in an adult Education program? The study took place in an Adult Basic Education ABE) program on a regional campus of a large public research university in New Mexico. Structured conversational interviews were conducted with three male participants who were high school dropouts and who returned to school and successfully completed their GED/high school diplomas through the ABE program. Interview analysis included condensation of meanings, meaning categorization, and meaning structuring through narratives Kvale, 1996). Central themes were quantified to determine “typicality” of themes across participants. The results of this study reveal that while the three participants in this study differed in some ways in their experiences with school, they also shared some commonalities important to our understanding their life worlds as high school students and dropouts. Eight themes reflect these commonalities: 1) perceptions of difference and separation from peers; 2) favoritism and intolerance; 3) bullying and teasing by students and teachers; 4) perceptions of limited academic opportunities; 5) schools and teachers disengaging; 6) control and conformity; 7) yelling; and 8) absenteeism. Similarly, while the three participants in this study differed in some ways in their experiences with the ABE program, they also shared some commonalities important to our understanding of factors in adult Basic education that “made a difference” in their success as GED graduates. Five themes reflect these commonalities: 1) external support; 2) attentive, supportive teachers; 3) smaller classes; 4) respect for students individualism; and 5) success as a common motivating goal.

Exploration of the experience of young adult single mothers who participate in an Adult Basic Education program (Education Papers posted on March 16th, 2013 )

The purpose of this study was to shed light on the experiences of young adult single mothers who participate in ABE classes by examining preferences for facilitative and supportive instructional methodologies and learning more about life experiences that affect their completion of the program. The problem explored is the lack of understanding and knowledge about their experiences given the changes in welfare reform policies. A total of 20 qualified respondents, 17 to 28 years old, 6 representing those who completed the program and 14 representing those who dropped-out, participated in the study. Four categories of information were obtained to answer the three research questions, including demographic data, literature review, perceptual and contextual data. Data were collected from demographic surveys, document reviews, critical incidents and interviews, and class observation. This research dealt mainly with perception, meaning making, and context, requiring that it be grounded in the qualitative research paradigm. The case study approach was the preferred method of data collection and analysis. The explanation-building approach was the mode of analysis for this study, allowing for the possibility of causal links, an open coding format, and the full exploitation of perspectives. The findings revealed that other factors such as life situations impact learning more so than instructional methodologies and age differences. Findings were interpreted, analyzed, and synthesized in light of current literature. The following conclusions emerged: 1) instructional methodologies necessary in achieving specific learning goals; 2) instructional guides, an important tool in achieving desired instruction; 3) further studies needed for age relationship to instructional preferences; 4) less spatial mismatches as key to increased participation in the ABE; 5) access to intervention programs necessary in coping with traumatic life situations; and 6) learning environment key to improved learning experience. Recommendations were made for ABE administrators, ABE programs, and future research. They included: 1) encouraging ABE administrators to develop instruction plan, framework, and guide; 2) advocating for reduced work requirement and improved transportation; 3) making available counseling and referral services; 4) adopting self-testing and evaluation; 5) encouraging support from valued others; 6) improving learning transfer techniques; and 7) conducting longitudinal and comparative studies.