Perceptions of self in adults with literacy difficulties
This study examines the perceptions of self in two groups of adults with literacy difficulties. The methodologies used include interviews, the repertory grid, Eysenck' s Personality Inventory (E.P.I.), Levenson's I.P.C. and self report questions. The interviews build on, and extend, work carried out by Charnley (1973), the only PhD to date, in the field. of adult literacy. The research pioneers the use of the repertory grid. technique in studies of adults with literacy difficulties. The theoretical framework for the thesis is the Learned Helplessness model (Seligman, 1975) and its reformulation (Abramson, et al, 1978). Learned helplessness can impede learning by affecting self esteem negatively and inhibiting cognitive, emotional, and motivational development. The study seeks to establish (among other perceptions of self) whether respondents exhibit signs of learned helplessness. The findings include a tendency for the sample to score more highly on neuroticism, as measured by the E.P.I., than the general population established by Eysenck. All the respondents consider there had been an improvement in their literacy skills. The majority viewed the ':present self' less negatively than the 'self prior to tuition', as shown by the former being rated nearer than the latter to the ideal self on the repertory grid. A minority were deemed to show continuing Learned Helplessness as evidenced by their attributions for literacy failure given in the self report questions, the locus of control orientations on Levenson's I.P.C. Scale and continuing negative perceptions of self on the repertory grid. This continued learned helplessness, despite improved literacy skills, has implications for the tutors adults with literacy-difficulties. These implications are discussed. Teaching strategies which could be adopted to overcome learned helplessness are outlined in the final chapter.