An investigation into the actions of parenting educators that affect learners' self-esteem, underpinned by Malcom Knowles' (1998) theory of how adults mature through learning.

Pitman, Jessica Beth (2014) An investigation into the actions of parenting educators that affect learners' self-esteem, underpinned by Malcom Knowles' (1998) theory of how adults mature through learning. Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity Saint Davids.

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Abstract

For parents who live in areas of deprivation, structured parenting groups may be the first learning environment and contact with an educator since leaving school. The purpose of this research was to enquire as to the actions of parenting workers (called educators in this project) in disadvantaged communities. Parenting workers support families in a group environment who have been referred by multi agency professionals. The workers who facilitate the sessions have a unique set of skills, sometimes not recognised by policy literature or education bodies. The literature review discusses this, as well as elaborating on adult education theory that fits with the work conducted in such areas. This study researched three distinctive parts of parenting education, that combined, was able to test an hypothesis based on a theory of adult learning, self esteem and actions of a specialised area in adult education. Research was conducted using three pre existing parenting groups. These consisted of 2 male groups and 1 female groups (n=25) with varying characteristics including age, time in group, and content of parenting programme. Questionnaires were given using the Rosenburg Self-Esteem Inventory (1965) to record any increases in self esteem since starting the group. It was proven that self-esteem had in fact increased since the start of group. Time in group, gender and content of the programmes may have influenced the outcomes. Recorded focus group interviews and participatory methods for data collection (Mills, 2003) were used to examine whether learners had developed conscious thought, using Knowles' (1998) statements on maturation through learning. Data was collected from pre defined codes, and surprises in data and it was shown that learners indeed become more conscious of themselves and the world around them. Each statement produced results pertaining to change of consciousness and transformation in each group. Both male groups showed an initial resistance to learning, and that there was possibly a high internal control in this matter. “Adults need to know why they need to learn something, before undertaking it” (Knowles et al, 1998 p.149). Wlodowski (1985) states motivation to learn is based on success, volition, value enjoyment, of the learning environment, and this was shown in the research to be the case. Dependence on the group rather than the educator for learning was found in both male groups, even in Group A which was an initial group and only six weeks in duration. Group B used words such as “we” and “us” to denote the group as a whole, not using the terms to separate the educator and the learners. This shows high level of Social Capital. Equal Learners saw themselves as “mutual partners in the learning endeavour” (Imel, 1994 p.2), and groups showed learner centred rather than education centred instruction (Knowles’ 1994). This showed a high level of skill and awareness form the educator. Male group participants seemed to predominantly appreciate the support of group and educators in controlling anger, and the female group discussed the value of group in controlling their fear. The data collected could be seen as important in the nature of how males and females perceive emotional literacy within the set culture, and is useful for discussion in designing groups and further programmes. The hardest part for all of the groups was reflecting the truth for some parents was in fact not real. This leads from Freire (1972) ideas on praxis and what the parents decide to do with the information (Smith 1997, 2002) Reflection (Schon, 1987) on their own childhoods were used by groups as to why they wanted better for their children They valued the tools used from programmes, and were quoted as part of the conversation. Although the programmes were not delivered with a high degree of fidelity, a change of schema (Senge p.174) was observed by the learners naming program tools. Double loop learning Argyris (1982) was evident with a member modifying his goal from managing their child’s behaviour, but to changes in his life “. The female Group C reflected on admitting that they needed help as being hard for them. The discussion implied their inability to show their family and community how they really felt as a parent, and how they would portray their world as perfect. This shows the absolute value of group for these parents in being able to make sense of the world around them. There was many incidences of how a learner changed in their social role as Freire (1998), states from “there” to “here” The learner becomes a being with their own true needs and wants (Knowles, 1989). This suggests a freedom and change of life pattern (Moss, 1990) from attending group and that they were looking to further themselves with education. The emotion of anger was prevalent again in both males groups whereby they had been able to change their actions based on information and support from group. There were also internal changes of the self in all groups. They were also able to recognise tools from varying programmes. This shows that by coming to group, experience is transformed by learning. Again, this shows learning using the tools from programmes, but not form a ridged prescribed format. Success came from being able to make social bonds with people, and being able to attend groups. It also came from being able to form relationships with their children, and with other adults.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: community groups emancipatory education parenting groups parenting programmes group facilitation self esteem confidence policy adult education community adult education support worker skills professional
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: JESSICA PITMAN
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 08:07
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2016 08:07
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/579

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