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Rich potential in adult literacy: Lost in an era of deep economic recession

Freeman, Sarah (2017) Rich potential in adult literacy: Lost in an era of deep economic recession. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Abstract Classes in England for students of adult literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) have been severely cut back in the past seven years. Those that remain are run on the basis that the class can only be viable through accreditation if it meets current funding targets within specified time periods, reducing many schemes to crash courses in employability. Adult education had been cut by 40% by 2015 alone. The overt purpose of literacy classes is now rooted in functional skills English syllabi, built on the assumption that students attend courses for qualifications. There is not enough known about why the students themselves – both ESOL and native speakers – are motivated to come forward for classes. In this research, an experienced adult literacy/ESOL teacher ran 26 in-depth interviews with students and teachers in four organisations in South London and two in Birmingham to find out what they valued about the classes they were attending at the time, other than obtaining qualifications. A social practices approach is used to examine students’ motives for improving their literacy, alongside discussions of learning theory, and an auto-ethnographic approach is used throughout the dissertation. Findings include a very broad range of reasons for why students are in class and what they gain from learning that enhances their everyday lives. Insight is provided into how students use technology as part of everyday life. It was discovered that many respondents need to continue to learn as long as possible. These results are considered in the light of globalisation studies, learning theory, ‘vulnerability’ theory and multicultural studies of superdiversity.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.736555
Depositing User: Ms Sarah Freeman
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2018 13:40
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19625

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