A description and evaluation of adult basic literacy education (ABLE) provision in Barbados : individual, institutional and national goals 1990-1993
This dissertation aims to describe the provision of adult basic literacy education (ABLE) in Barbados and examine the extent to which ABLE provision has been guided by the goals of participants, institutions which offered it and the government which required it. The empirical research study which constitutes the basis of the dissertation is located within the general field of adult education and the particular area of adult literacy. The data is related to both fields by a review of the literature on ABLE theory and practice from international, Caribbean and local perspectives. Focus is placed on the nature of literacy, as has been conveyed by definitions; and values attached to its acquisition, as have been indicated by declarations of its potential benefits. The descriptive component of the dissertation includes profiles of participants and practice of three ABLE programmes operating in Barbados between 1990 and 1993. The descriptive data was obtained from the responses of students and tutors to structured questionnaires and informal discussions; and from classroom observations made by the researcher from the perspectives of both passive and participant observer. Participants' profiles include personal details; information about their motivation, beliefs, attitudes, expectations and previous learning experiences; and the outputs they claim for the provision. The Profiles of practice cover instructional and interactive aspects of the teaching-learning process including the selection of materials, methods and strategies; type of classroom management and the nature of the relationship among participants. The evaluative component comprises an analysis of the data within a framework of national, institutional and personal goals, a focus informed by the importance which educators have attached to goal-setting in educational provision. The main findings of the research are that in most cases, local ABLE provision was not informed by the goals of the three interests and that ABLE practice often appeared to be directed towards outputs opposed to those goals. The main conclusion is that the impetus of the ABLE programmes was not goals but an internal dynamic informed by local attitudes to education in general and beliefs about literacy in particular.