An Exploration of the Deterrents to Adult Basic Education Among Blue Collar Workers

James D. Burnham, Michael Kamano Ponton


This phenomenological study explored how blue collar workers employed in a north Mississippi manufacturing facility described their reasons for not participating in adult basic education (ABE) when nonparticipation would result in termination. The structure of the ABE classes was designed to reduce the costs and time constraints to participation. A group of 8 respondents constituted the sample from a population of 23 nonparticipating workers and maximal variation sampling was used to increase gender, race, and age diversity within the sample. Three major themes emerged as deterrents to participation: (a) Test of Adult Basic Education and ABE classes were not perceived as relevant, (b) fear of embarrassment, and (c) low self-efficacy (i.e., a self-perceived lack of capability to perform successfully). However, lack of relevancy and fear of embarrassment were found to be used as reasons for nonparticipation when low self-efficacy in learning new material, reading, and math problem solving were present.

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Journal of Studies in Education ISSN 2162-6952


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