Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

David Prescott

Second Advisor

Marion Milton

Abstract

The reasons why non-English speaking background (NESB) shopfloor employees participate in workplace language and literacy classes and the factors that affect their motivation to participate are relative unknowns. This study investigates NESB shopfloor employees' motivation to participate in a Communication Skills Development Program (CSDP) course and the factors that affected their motivation. An inductive analysis of findings revealed that all of the employees participated in one of the CSDP courses for a variety of pre-determined life-specific reasons. These reasons are represented by three main categories of goals (i.e., 'Self-improvement through language and literacy development', 'Work', 'Outside work'). Of these goals, all of the employees reported 'Self-improvement through language and literacy development' as the underlying reason why they participated in one of the CSDP courses. Further, each employee reported a language/literacy practice that is peculiar to all of his/her goals and most sub-goals. An extended analysis of the employees' motivation to participate identified the employees as being 'transactional-', 'vocational-', 'fellowship-', 'social camaraderie-' and/or 'self-satisfaction- oriented' learners. Findings also revealed that a variety of 'personal', 'course-related' and 'context-related' factors either positively or adversely affected the employees' motivation to participate. A qualitative case study design was implemented. Data was collected through interviews, observations, field notes and the review of artifacts. Data was inductively analysed by classifying patterns of relationships into categories that represent the employees' motivation to participate and factors that affected their motivation. ii This study's findings have implications for theory and practice. At a theoretical level, these findings add to the existing theoretical understanding of why English as second language adults participate in workplace language and literacy classes and the factors that affect their motivation. At a practice level, these findings illustrate the need for Food Products management and program teachers to have an understanding of the reasons 'why' NESB shopfloor employees participate in workplace language and literacy classes and the factors that affect their motivation. For with such an understanding, first, Food Products management will be able to implement organisational practices that positively affect the employees' motivation to participate in future CSDP classes. Second, teachers will be able to assist the employees to set realistic goals, and design and implement course content that assists the employees to attain these goals.. For it is when employees attain their goals that they will form and hold positive perceptions of the course in which they participate.

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