A study of a group of illiterate adults in rural Newfoundland and their participation in adult literacy programs

Furlong-Bass, Marie (1982) A study of a group of illiterate adults in rural Newfoundland and their participation in adult literacy programs. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study was designed to investigate a number of selected personal, familial, educational, socio-economic and attitudinal attributes of 78 adult illiterates from 14 rural communities in the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador. Another purpose was to compare those adult illiterates in the study who verbally indicated a willingness to participate in a literacy training program with those who indicated no willingness to participate in the 14 independent variables. These are listed below: -- age - source of income -- sex - source of spouse's income -- marital status - mother's education -- size of family - father's education -- number of dependents - self-concept -- educational level - ideal self-concept -- grade equivalent to TABE score - locus of control -- The data were collected by using a structured interview protocol which consisted of 107 questions. These questions were administered in face-to-face interviews following the structured format and each interview was tape recorded to insure maximum accuracy in recording the date. The information thus gathered was treated as quantitative and qualitative measures, each composing a different section of this study. -- Analysis revealed significant correlations between age and locus of control variables with willingness to participate in a literacy training program. It was discovered that most of the adult illiterates in this study are internally oriented, are more likely to feel that they can control their own destinies, and are relatively self-confident. It was also found that the more internally oriented adult illiterates are, the more inclined they are to participate in a literacy training program. The analysis further revealed that the younger the adult illiterates are, the more inclined they would be to participate in a literacy training program. It was discovered, however, that no significant correlation exists between the remaining 13 independent variables and the independent variable--willingness to participate in a Literacy Training Program (LTP). These variables provided substantial data as descriptors in providing a general profile of adult illiterates in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. -- The qualitative analysis disclosed in Chapter 5 reveals that even though some diversity of opinions exist, most adult illiterates perceived having literacy skills as one of their felt needs for the future. This need for greater literacy skills was almost always coupled with more hope for the future in terms of: -- 1. more economic security, resulting from more job opportunities and better money; -- 2. a more challenging addition to their already experienced field of work; for example, a fisherman may be working as a Steward on a boat while he desires to be more knowledgeable about navigation; -- 3. a more interesting life style; some adult illiterates felt that their freedom to travel, to meet and maintain friendships outside their homes and communities are stifled because of illiteracy. They felt that literacy would eliminate such problems. -- 4. no penalties as a result of illiteracy; the data revealed that there are penalties associated with illiteracy. One such penalty, for example, is expressed by one person who felt that relationships with peer groups, spouse, children, siblings, and/or grandparents are not as healthy as they could be because of not being able to read and write. -- 5. no stigma because of illiteracy; the descriptive analysis revealed that adult illiterates are aware of the stigma commonly associated with illiteracy. Their happiness and peace of mind is hampered somewhat because of this stigma even though some of them may have achieved as much or more in the work world, for example, as their more educated neighbour. -- This study concludes with recommendations regarding future research and the possible implications of the findings for the planning of adult literacy programs.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7714
Item ID: 7714
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 174-180.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1982
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Great Northern Peninsula
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Literacy--Newfoundland and Labrador--Great Northern Peninsula

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