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A race between education and catastrophe: A study of the learning antecedents of women in a single-sex bridging programme at TAFE.

Lawson, Catriona (2007) A race between education and catastrophe: A study of the learning antecedents of women in a single-sex bridging programme at TAFE. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Amongst today’s increasingly diverse range of mature age students are those who enrol in the New Opportunities for Women programme at TAFE. This course is designed, principally, to increase the confidence of women who are contemplating returning to formal education or to re-enter the workforce. Women who enrol in NOW come from a variety of socio-economic and educational backgrounds. This research explores the factors in their learning lives that might motivate women to enrol in such a programme. The study is grounded in the experiences of a small group of women who had completed the NOW programme. The research focuses on the educational issues the women had faced both prior to enrolment and during the course itself. In particular, the research focus is on their parents’ expectations and teachers’ attitudes; their parents’ involvement in their education; the parenting style the women experienced; and being girls at school. Data was gathered by interview and participants’ reflections on their learning experiences helped to elucidate the learner ‘scripts’ the women had followed throughout their lives. The analysis of these reflections was informed by Baumrind’s (1967) theory of parenting styles– authoritative, authoritarian or permissive – and their association with academic success. While this analysis showed very diverse experiences and motivations, the findings concurred with the literature on parenting styles and academic achievement. However, this study also found that while these women had continued to follow the learner ‘scripts’ that had been assigned to them as children, the later intervention of authoritative teaching in a safe and sympathetic environment allowed them, as adults, to rewrite their scripts and achieve academic success. There are some common threads in the findings that have relevance for teachers who work with students from similar learning backgrounds, and generate some insights into the notion of parent-teacher partnership.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Pearce, Jane
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