ERIC Number: ED337663
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Dec-3
Reference Count: N/A
Writing Processes and Behaviors of Adult Literacy Students: An Ethnographic Case Study.
Schwertman, Kathryn; Corey, Melinda
An ethnographic study examined ways in which the writing behaviors of adult literacy students in a classroom setting were either similar to or different from current theories of language acquisition. Three students were selected from an adult literacy class at the Fordham Library Center in the Bronx. The research plan had a three-pronged approach: (1) background information was gathered through structured interviews with each student; (2) classroom observations were used to collect ethnographic data on students' writing processes in a natural setting; and (3) a composing aloud protocol was conducted to gain an indepth look at one student's writing process in one sitting from start to finish. A literature review was focused on three areas that appeared to share some common features: children's emergent literacy, college-age basic writing, and adult learning. Findings indicated that adult beginning writers seemed to go through many of the same developmental stages as children did. Unlike children, the adults seemed more self-conscious about the need to spell correctly and less willing to experiment with language and take risks. Adults' self-consciousness about the appearance of their writing and lack of spontaneity were much more similar to the writing behavior of basic writers in college. They had much in common with other adult learners having to juggle many complex factors in their lives to attend school. Questions for further research were identified. (29 references) (YLB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: New York Public Library, NY.