Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Field Dependence

OK, so what if I blog about my school work? That's like two birds with one stone, right? I get to feed my blogger addiction and synthesize my reading at the same time!

I am reading right now about the retention of adults enrolled in literacy or 'adult basic education' (ABE) programs. Qualitative research suggests that the Field Dependence of this set of the adult education population is extremely high.

Field dependence refers to self esteem, and where your overall sense of well being comes from. That is, if you are highly Field INdependent, you don't rely on other people for your overall sense of well being. Conversely, High Field Dependence refers to the need to have the affirmation and support of OTHER people in order to maintain self esteem and sense of security.

So, in short - folks that don't finish high school, or that obtain a GED, will likely have low self esteem and would rely on the affirmation of others in order to feel a solid sense of self. The studies suggest that the field dependence of these adults is similar to that of the average 10 year old. This gave me serious pause.

The research plainly says that more research is needed to understand the relationship of race and social class with field dependence-independence in ABE settings. And then I hit the roof - WHAT?!?!

"there are some findings that African-American and Hispanic learners tend to have higher levels of field dependence [than normal]" it says.

I gave it some thought - is the "we-ness" in our respective cultures to blame? I'm fucked in the head about this. Unless research tells me otherwise, it's about social class in my book. It's not about race - aside from the fact that Blacks and Latinos are disproportionately represented among the poor and lower middle class. So, a correlation based on race without any regard for social status will piss me off.

This has less to do with our ethnicity than it does with the fact that society is wont to ignore the poor and forces the poor to rely on their support systems in order to live life. THAT causes high field dependence - not the fact that's I'm Latino, or Black by injection.

I can't tell you how aggravated I get when I have to face the fact that the great majority of the studies out there have been researched without regard to the economic conditions that impact my people. I'm tired of it. And I'm more fired up now to GET this fucking masters degree and announce to all these elitists, "ya bitchez gon' hafta move over ... JACK'S HERE!"

Thanks for listening.

Carry on.


Dave Van Buren said...

I think if you don't finish High School it's obvious that your self esteem will take a hit. Like being in a room full of Doctors and only getting an Associates degree. We wasted tax dollars on that study?

JACK said...

I'm not sure who funded the study, but they continue because there is a significant attrition rate within Adult Basic Education Programs and educators can't figure out what to do to retain these students. So, in trying to figure out why these "at risk" (AR) students don't stick it out, they discovered that self image is an issue and we're learning new ways to handle these students in such a manner that ensures they stay the course (pun intended).

What bothers me is the disproportionate amount of Blacks and Latinos in this group, there by virtue of economics. And that their self esteem is likened to that of a ten year old. I'm reading this and realizing that the perspective of us is that we're uneducated, poor and act like children!

I fucking DARE one of my kids to tell me they intend to be a drop out. Can we say, "drop KICK?"