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Third age adult English language learners in informal library settings [electronic resource]

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  • English Language
  • Minorities
  • Adult Education
  • Self-Actualization (Psychology) In Middle Age.
  • Second Language Acquisition.
  • Education
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy


There is little research-based and theoretical literature about adult education or English literacy classes in nonformal settings such as library literacy programs in the community (Mathews-Aydinli, 2008; McCook & Barber, 2002b). The purpose of this phenomenological case study was to explore the motivation, learning supports, learning barriers, and program change recommendations of Third Age Learners in a nonformal library ESOL setting. This study provides insight into the demographic variable of linguistically-isolated Third Age English Language Learners (ELLs) participating in a library conversationally-based ESOL program. The results can guide libraries offering services, as well as those considering offering services to these customers (American Library Association [ALA], 2008a). Data collected included in-depth, face-to-face interviews, classroom observations, documents, learner and teacher essays, researcher journals, and analytic memos. The researcher coded all data with NVIv o 8 qualitative software then half of the data was coded with Atlas-TI 5 software by a second coder. A thematic analysis was completed in order to triangulate the data. The purposeful sample consisted of 21 participants at a Florida library adult ESOL program which included 11 learners and 10 teachers. The 11 learners were selected based on their ethnic background, predominantly those of Hispanic background. Eight learner findings and four teacher-perceived findings were identified in this study.

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