ERIC Number: ED357196
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992
Reference Count: N/A
Understanding and Overcoming Resistance to Adult Literacy Education.
Quigley, B. Allan
The three studies reported in this document are part of an ongoing attempt to understand how the world of illiteracy and literacy programs appears to those who have either refused to attend or decided to drop out of adult basic education (ABE). Situational or institutional barriers account for some of this non-attendance; they do not, however, explain the third area of "dispositional barriers." It is this area of nonparticipation and attrition in ABE arising from an attitudinally based learner perspective, with which these studies are concerned. The first study examined sociological literature, using nine novels and a short story to establish theoretical constructs and to examine the consequences of resistance as applied to "second chance" ABE and literacy programs. Findings indicated that resistance to organized schooling takes place in a series of steps and stages of awareness; the issue is the schooling environment and the cultural, racial, class, and economic assumptions that resisters see there and continue to see in adult education. In Study Two, in-depth interviews conducted in Pittsburgh with approximately 25 nonparticipant subjects reveal that resisters might be categorized by their view of school and adult basic education as personal/emotive resisters, cultural/ideological resisters, and older resisters. The groups emerged with very different reasons for not attending ABE, but all were similar in that they shared ambivalent, traumatic, or hostile feelings about their earlier school experiences. Study Three examined two groups of ABE students from two Pittsburgh centers--those who stayed (n=20) and those who quit for reasons of "attitude" (n=17). Findings show that expectations of ABE of both groups--those who quit and persisters--had been shaped by earlier school memories and personal values and that the first 3 weeks are crucial if centers are to fulfill the needs of reluctant learners and retain them. Recommendations for the first 3 weeks are given along with suggestions for center counselors. (The interview schedule is appended to Study Two, and 46 data tables and resister/persister interview schedules are appended to Study Three. Contains 64 references.) (YLB)
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education, Adult Literacy, Dropout Research, Dropouts, Educational Research, Literacy Education, Negative Attitudes, Participation, Resistance (Psychology), School Holding Power, Student Attitudes, Student Attrition, Withdrawal (Education)
Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy, Pennsylvania State University, 204 Calder Way, Suite 209, University Park, PA 16801-4756.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park. Inst. for the Study of Adult Literacy.
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh)