Dissertation

The Decision-making Process of Adult Learners Who Are Nearing Completion of their Institution's Noncredit Esl Sequence

The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of students who were nearing completion of the noncredit ESL class sequence offered at their institutions and to examine how and if their experiences influenced their decision-making process regarding their goals for the future. This exploratory qualitative study used tenets of constructivist grounded theory in the data analysis process. The effect on family weighs heavily on the decision-making process was the overarching theme found in this study. In addition, the four themes that interacted with this overarching theme were: (a) enrollment in classes stems from situations participants face that require improved language skills in the target language; (b) a family element exists within decisions surrounding employment; (c) family obligations supersede the decision to enroll in classes: class schedules are a key factor; (d) participants recalibrate their educational and life aspirations through classroom experiences. This study offers insights for educational leaders by examining the similar undercurrents that exist among adult learners and their decision-making process. This information can help inform new ways in which classrooms provide an environment that not only delivers language instruction but also offers support for challenges and circumstances that adult learners encounter in their day-to-day lives.

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