Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Third age adult English language learners in nonformal library settings
by Cassell, Mary Anne, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2011, 317; 3480601
Abstract (Summary)

There is little research-based and theoretical literature about adult education or English literacy classes in nonformal settings such as library literacy programs in the community (Mathews-Aydinli, 2008; McCook & Barber, 2002b). The purpose of this phenomenological case study was to explore the motivation, learning supports, learning barriers, and program change recommendations of Third Age Learners in a nonformal library ESOL setting. This study provides insight into the demographic variable of linguistically-isolated Third Age English Language Learners (ELLs) participating in a library conversationally-based ESOL program. The results can guide libraries offering services, as well as those considering offering services to these customers (American Library Association [ALA], 2008a).

Data collected included in-depth, face-to-face interviews, classroom observations, documents, learner and teacher essays, researcher journals, and analytic memos. The researcher coded all data with NVivo 8 qualitative software then half of the data was coded with Atlas-TI 5 software by a second coder. A thematic analysis was completed in order to triangulate the data. The purposeful sample consisted of 21 participants at a Florida library adult ESOL program which included 11 learners and 10 teachers. The 11 learners were selected based on their ethnic background, predominantly those of Hispanic background.

Eight learner findings and four teacher-perceived findings were identified in this study. The learner findings included: (a) to understand people at work; (b) to find or expand employment; (c) to practice conversation, pronunciation, listening, grammar and language rules; (d) to meet and get to know people; (e) assiduous teaching; (f) self-directed learning strategies support second language learning success; (g) more publicity, more classes, tutoring, language learning labs, study skills classes, and classroom management training; and (h) lack of family/community support and opportunities to practice English. Teacher-perceived findings mirrored learner findings (a) through (f) and (h), and included: (a) to increase teacher support, communications, and training; (b) to encourage the use of library resources: children's materials; language and music CDs; audiovisual materials, and Internet websites; (c) libraries are safe, supportive, and welcoming environments; and (d) how the “give and take” between learners and teachers is helpful to both. Discussion of the findings, conclusions, and recommendations are included.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bryan, Valerie C.
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: English as a Second Language, Adult education
Keywords: English language learners, Public libraries
Publication Number: 3480601
ISBN: 978-1-124-95263-5
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