Participant # 2
Int: Are you female or male?
Int: Married or single?
Int: What is your current age?
P2: 63, almost 64.
Int: Almost 64?
Int: How old were you when you joined ABE? If you don't remember
I can get that from your file.
P2: I was 62.
records First time entry age: 58]
Int: What was your age when you completed your goals?
[From records Age when received citizenship: 61]
Int: Did you leave the program before completing your goals and
then come back?
Enrollments: 2/4/91 - 9/91 (left for health problems) 5/13/92
9.7.93 (ready for citizenship tests; no money)
Int: Were you raising a family as you pursued your goals?
No. All grown up.
Int: Were you married or single as you worked on your goals?
Int: Were you working outside the home while you studied?
Int: Were the places you studied rural or urban?
Int: At home or in a learning center?
P2: At home.
Int: How many tutors did you work with?
Int: What grade did you complete in school?
Int: What grade did your father complete?
Int: your mother?
Int: Did you have a prior negative school experience?
I liked school. My reason for not going to school was a matter of
having to pay to go outside the town to go further, and also I needed
to earn my own, because my folks just didn't have the money to provide
for me. Food and shelter, yes; clothing, no.
Int: So you needed to leave to make some money. Did you
have a prior positive school experience?
P2: Yeah, I liked
school. We had to go about 18 miles, at the [unintell.] and drive back
and forth and needed to pay. I just couldn't do it. We had the local
school but we didn't have all the grades. If you wanted to go on, you
had to pay to go to [unintell.] and pay rent for boarding.
Int: That was Canada. right?
P2: Uh-huh. Now, I guess,
it's free as long as you want to go, but we didn't back then.
Int: So up through seventh, it was free and then after that if
you wanted to go on . . .
P2: Well, it was free, but you
still had to buy some books. Like over here you get all your books,
right? Over there, if you had a book you were going to write in, you
had to pay for it. You had to buy your own books anyway. Only the
school was fortunate enough that some people, when they finished with
their books, they left them. [unintell.] Most of the books you had to
Int: It's a lot different now, I bet.
P2: And also, if
the reading books changed, if you didn't buy them, you'd pass them
Int: So it seems that the kids were at a disadvantage, according
to income? Not everyone had the same educational opportunities.
No, they didn't.
Int: But in general, you had a positive experience with school?
Int: Were you diagnosed with learning disabilities while in
school or did you feel that you learned differently than the other
P2: No. Of course, back then, we didn't have certain
groups of children, anyway. You either learned or you didn't learn.
Int: Did you have any medical problems as a child? Eyesight,
hearing, sinus . . . ?
P2: Well, not really. [unintell.]
Scarlet Fever, sometimes.
Int: Would that keep you out of school for a period of time?
No. [unintell.] I used to go up and take my test, when there wasn't
anyone there. I had a rash. Everyone after came down with whatever it
was, I probably did [come down with Scarlet Fever.] But I didn't want
to miss those tests!
Int: Did you require medication as a child?
P2: No. I
did have some sort of asthma [unintell.] My girl friend talks about it
now: I was overweight and I couldn't run around in the summertime and
so on. I didn't have any treatment for it.
Int: Did you require medication while you were working on your
goals with ABE?
P2: No. Well, I needed oxygen.
Int: That was for your asthma, right?
P2: Yeah. And
other medication, I have heart medicine and [unintell.]
Int: Do you think that had any influence on your ability to
concentrate or anything like that?
P2: Well, the oxygen thing,
it does affect attention and your thinking ability. It makes your head
feel like [unintell.] (boozing?). It's like it's drawing water on my
Int: So when you're taking oxygen, like right now, you couldn't
think quite as clearly as you could if you weren't taking it?
It's harder. The nurse blames it onto my TV, but I don't think it's my
TV. I find it harderyou probably noticed itto visit. I have to really
concentrate on what people are saying. I don't know.
Int: You mentioned your TV. I'm curious.
P2: She thinks
I watch too much TV. That's why, she says, I can't remember names.
Because you're not supposed to not be remembering names until you get
Int: Do you consider yourself more of an individual determined
to set your own course or a follower?
P2: I like to do for
myself, but I'm not so sure . . . If I didn't have Frank, I don't
know. I'd be lost without him.
Int: So you see yourself as a follower, over all?
Int: Would you rather determine for yourself how to approach a
task or be given guidance/assignments to show you how to carry it out?
P2: That depends on what the task is. I don't know quite how
to answer that.
Int: Did you want your tutor to assign a set amount of work for
you to do or determine for yourself what you could handle?
I like to determine it myself. One week I might feel like doing a lot,
another week I might not.
Int: Some people like to have everything very rigid and defined.
They want their tutor to say, "I want you to do five pages by
next week." Then they have that as a deadline and a goal. Other
people, if you try to impose a deadline or goal on them, then they
balk at it, because they'd rather be free to do something if they felt
like it. There's a lot of different types of learners, but those are a
couple of differences that we notice among learners.
talking about schoolwork here. If I was talking about regular work, I
don't like a list, because if you gave me a list a mile long, I'd
break my neck trying to get it all done. Like when I did the
housework. They'd bring me a list and say, do what you have time to
do. I'd always pick the extras first, then I'd have to have time to do
the regulars. That's what did me in.
Int: So you'd try to get as much done on the list as possible.
whatever they asked you to do.
P2: They'd add some extras and
say, "If you have time." I had a terrible time with that,
because I'd do the extras first, then I'd have to find time to
do the rest. And I'd work right out straight. I'm not good with lists.
I might be on schoolwork, but I certainly wasn't on regular work.
Int: Because you felt required to do all of it.
That's right. So I did it twice. I earned twice what I got.
Int: That's when you were doing housework.
Schoolwork? I'd like to do extra if I had the time, depending on the
Int: When we did it, it was pretty open-ended, however much time
we had to get to it, you seemed to feel comfortable with that.
The thing is, I hate English. I realize we have to have it, but don't
like it. I still don't write a letter right. That's a family problem.
Everyone of us hates English. Arnold and my husband and I.
Int: You did very well with your citizenship, though.
It's the writing of it. The punctuation marks get me.
Int: Let's clarify this question a little more: Would you rather
determine for yourself how to approach a task . . . Maybe we can think
of a more open-ended example. Say you get something in the mail that
you need to put together. Would you rather sit down and figure it out
for yourself or have your husband tell you, first you do this and then
you do that. Somebody giving you more guidance to do it.
have to confess, in late years, my husband . . . everything that comes
in he tends for me. Partly because of my shakiness and partly because
of my eyes.
Int: With cooking, do you follow a recipe strictly?
No. I don't follow. My daughter-in-law used to say I was a
dump-and-pour cook. If I was going to make biscuits, I'd dump some
flour in a bowl and go to it. She said, "You're a good cook, Mom,
but nothing's ever twice the same." Dump-and-pour. Put some flour
in there, I might measure it. Throw in some shortening and oil, throw
in some nuts, stir it up, roll it out.
Int: Would you rather determine for yourself how to approach a
task or be given guidance/assignments to show you how to carry it out?
I guess it depends on what the task is. Some things you'd like to do
yourself, and other things . . .
P2: Some things, I'd rather
do myself. It's easier. Now, if I could do my own work now, it's
easier for me to do my own work than to sit here and ask you to do
this or do that. I hate giving orders [unintell.]
Int: But what about someone giving you orders as opposed to
having you figure it out for yourself?
P2: If I'm working with
somebody, that doesn't bother me. If Frank says, "I think you
should do it like this, you should do it like that," which he did
once, I told him, "Why don't you get out of the kitchen and go
sit down?" I don't like somebody to tell me how to do things just
because they're bored. If I'm getting paid, fine.
Int: If you can figure it out for yourself . . . ?
Leave me alone, yeah!
1) What were your goals in joining the program?
don't seem to remember why I joined to begin with. Unless it was just
to have something to do.
Int: The last time, it was to get you through your citizenship?
But what was [unintell.], do you remember?
Int: The last time it was specifically to get you through your
P2: That's right. It might have been just to have
something to do, too.
Int: And you said you saw our ad on TV.
P2: Yes. Put
that in, because a person can't remember.
Int: And the second time around, it was specifically to get your
P2: Yes, it was to get my citizenship.
Int: What helped you reach your goals?
P2: I feel my
teacher helped me.
Int: Anything else?
P2: One thing, I loved the history
part of it. So that was no problem.
Int: U.S. History?
2) What were the things that were most important in helping you
to achieve your goals? If you had a number of things you
might have stated in the first question, out of those, what do you
feel was most important in keeping you going until you actually got
P2: I think I really wanted to become a
citizen. It was a choice of either renewing my visa card or becoming a
citizen. For just a few dollars more, I could become a citizen. I
always wanted to become a citizen. I wanted to be able to vote. I
think that was one of the most important things after all these years,
that I'm going to be able to vote. That means a lot to me. In the end,
that was probably the biggest reason that kept me going. I been here
forty years and I couldn't vote.
The reason I hadn't got my papers before, they used to teach it but
you had to go to Union High School. I didn't have the transportation.
It's when they started sending you around to the homes that I had the
opportunity to learn.
Int: So if we weren't able to come to the homes . . . ?
I wouldn't have been able to get there. I couldn't drive. It was only
in the evening they gave it. So I couldn't enter. I'm not entitled to
3) Did you ever think of quitting?
Int: What kept you going? I think you stated what you felt was
P2: My determined nature.
Int: You were determined?
P2: Yes, I was determined.
4) What things hindered your efforts to reach your goals?
Int: You did mention transportation?
P2: Yes, that did.
Int: If it wasn't for someone coming to your house?
I couldn't have gotten transportation or someone to stay with the
children. Frank could have brought me, but who would have stayed with
Int: You don't think there was any other factor, no one giving
you a hard time about wanting to do it?
Int: Nothing else really stopped you from wanting to achieve it?
5) Once you saw you could make progress, did that keep you
P2: Oh, sure.
Int: It did? So when you saw that you could learn, that
kept you going?
P2: Yes. That motivated me.
Int: Some people come into our program thinking they can't
learn, and when they realize that they can . . . but this may or may
not have been a factor in your case.
P2: No, when I put my
mind to it . . .
Int: And when you saw that you were remembering, it kept you
What helped you to feel that you were making progress? How did
you know you were making progress?
P2: Frank asked me the
questions. He'd ask me ten out of the hundred questions.
Int: Mixed questions?
P2: Mix them up and down and every
which way. So I knew that I could do it, but I was still nervous.
Int: And you saw that you knew the answers to them.
6) Did any of the things you were studying make you want to
P2: Yes, I always wanted to [unintell.] Especially
American history. I never had American history. I had American
geography. I don't care where anything is. But I do love the
history. Can't read a map today . . .
Int: . . . but
you know the history of it.
Why were they important to you?
P2: Well, I lived in
the United States. Also, I just love history. The only history I hate
is British history because of all those kings.
7) What part of how the program works helped you the
mostflexible time, location, materials, other?
time and being able to come to the home. There was a real good
8) What influence did your self-esteem have on your being able
to continue. If that question isn't quite clear, we can do the two
(a) What was your view of yourself when
you entered the program?
P2: I'm not one to have a high
self-esteem. I think this greatly enhanced that. I think it's very
good for that.
Int: Getting your citizenship made you feel better about
Int: So you feel that when you entered the program, your view of
yourself was different than when you started the program?
Oh, yes! Because having had two nervous breakdowns [unintell.] I could
function enough to learn. When I came out of [unintell.] I couldn't
remember faces or names or anything or follow a program on TV, so this
was fantastic to be able to learn like that after, I knew it had been
Int: It made you realize that you could.
Int: To get back to the first part of the question, what
influence did your self-esteem have on your being able to continue, as
you were feeling better about yourself, do you feel that had anything
with keeping you going?
Int: Maybe it was or maybe it wasn't?
P2: I think it
Int: When you saw that you could learn?
Because, when I came home, I can remember laying on the couch and
watching that TV and forcing myself to watch "As the World Turns,"
because I could not follow a TV program. Even though it was quite a
few years later, to be able to sit there and to learn, it really has
been a great help. I'm somewhere near normal.
Int: Great! And you feel better about yourself.
9) Did you have any support to reach your goals while you were
in the program?
P2: Oh, yes. My friends, and from Frank.
Int: Your husband.
Int: So people were supportive of you.
Int: Can you think of anyone else that gave you support?
My girl friend [unintell.]
Int: So friends and family?
P2: Yeah. And the children,
they encouraged me.
If a person, how did he/she show support for you? What did they
do that showed you they were supportive?
P2: Frank used to sit
here and go all over those questions with me. And you certainly used
to stop and encourage me.
Int: Pick on you.
P2: Pick on me, yes. [unintell.] ,
remember that? Remember when you went up to Customs? What was it you
went up to get?
Int: The forms that you needed, and to try to talk them into
coming to your house to ask you questions.
Int: Your husband showed support by asking you the questions,
taking the time to do it. How did your kids show that they supported
P2: Well, they were just glad I was doing it. They didn't
do much to help because they weren't here. But it's kind of like Chief
Beetle said, "I don't know why you're shaking so, I'm going to
ask you ten questions. A lot of you, you just knew by being here."
Which is true. [unintell.] But I do remember how I used to get mixed
up on the cabinet. I don't think I know it now! But Frank says, "I
been here all my life, you still got me beat. I still don't know it."
Int: A lot of kids graduate from high school and they don't
remember that stuff.
Int: So you feel
that you had support from your husband, from friends, and you
mentioned your teacher. OK.
Int: Now that weve discussed a few factors, what do you feel had
the greatest impact on keeping you going until you accomplished your
P2: Once I knew that I could . . . I needed my card
anyway. Probably another thing, not the most important thing, was I
was able to get that citizenship for only $10 or $15 more than that
card would cost me, and frankly I was tired of having to get it again
and again and again.
Int: What, like every four years or something?
not sure. When all I had to do was give up Canadian citizenship . . .
A lot of people don't like to give that up, because if they were over
there when they were 38, they can draw the old age assistance from
Canada. Not a whole lot. But I wouldn't [unintell.]
Int: Weren't you allowed to keep dual citizenship?
No. I thought they did but they didn't.
Int: Are you sure?
P2: I know Burt said I had to give it
up. That's because I came over so young.
I came over at
[unintell.] So far as a pension, I wouldn't have got it anyway. I
would only have got it something like six months.
Int: That might be something worth checking into. We were told
you can keep both now. You can maintain your Canadian plus get your
P2: They told me I didn't have both. Maybe it was
Canadian Customs that told me that. I can't remember!
Int: You've answered all the questions. To get back to the first
one, you feel that it was your desire to become a citizen and be able
Int: That was the major thing that kept you going.
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