ERIC Number: ED404490
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
Women, Welfare & Mandated Education: An Analysis of Single Mothers' Meaning of Learning and Its Relevance to Successful Programming.
Baird, Irene C.
A study analyzed how a group of single welfare mothers, heads of households mandated to participate in a preemployment program with an educational component, viewed learning. Welfare policy makers assumed a highly illiterate population whose "deficiencies" would be remediated through participation in existing, voluntary basic education. Studies indicated, however, that a majority of such programs were not preparing the women for job entry. Because success was often contingent on the program itself, interaction between participants and staff, and participants' perceptions and expectations based on past school experiences, the sociology of education provided the theoretical framework. Research was conducted within the qualitative paradigm with 16 welfare mothers in a mandated educational program who agreed to indepth interviews. Five themes emerged: significance of the caring teacher; desirable learning environment; match of instruction to learning ability and preference, enhanced self-esteem, and distinction between kinds of learning. Test results confirmed learning success for the studied group. However, conflict theory remained applicable, since assumptions about their "deficiencies" prescribed policy mandates without attention to what meaning these women give to learning. (Contains 14 references.) (Author/YLB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education (14th, Wheaton, IL, October 1995).