When adults return to the literacy classroom, they do not leave their personal lives at the door. Indeed, outside concerns can exert a powerful influence on their learning and even on their ability to persist with their schooling. Beginning on 1/20/10, Rebecca Garland will moderate a discussion on how intimate partnerships are affected when one partner returns to the literacy classroom. How do couples organize childcare, housework, and finances? What other stresses do they encounter and how do they deal with them? In this discussion, participants will have a chance to share what they have learned from their students regarding these questions. A focal point of the discussion will be on how programs can help learners to anticipate and negotiate the inevitable stresses placed on their partnerships when they decide to return to school. The conversation will focus on both heterosexual and homosexual couples, and can also include discussion on what happens when the man, rather than the woman, is returning to school.
Rebecca Garland has been involved in the adult literacy field since 1990, both as an ABE teacher and as a doctoral student at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, where she was a NCSALL fellow. For her recently completed dissertation she interviewed women literacy learners and their male partners to explore these couples' understandings of the stresses that occur when the woman returns to school. She found that within the context of spousal support, couples often talk about how their attitudes are influenced by past negative experiences in school as children, past experiences with violence, and their beliefs about appropriate masculine and feminine roles. She looks forward to sharing her work with the list and to hearing from others about their understandings of this topic.