Participant # 5
Int: Are you female or male?
Int: Married or single?
Int: What is your current age?
Int: How old were you when you joined ABE?
Int: What was your age when you completed your goals?
Int: Did you leave the program before completing your goals and
then come back?
[From records Enrolled: 8/24/95 Exited: 12/95
(got GED) With program: 4 months]
Int: You said you hadn't studied for your GED anywhere else?
No, not really. Here and there, but I didn't really set it up and go
through a whole . . .
Int: You weren't involved in ABE in a different area?
No. I wasn't involved in any other programs.
Int: Were you raising a family as you pursued your goals?
You could say that, but technically, no.
Int: Were you married or single as you worked on your goals?
Int: Were you working outside the home while you studied?
No. I was working at home.
Int: You were working?
P5: A regular job? Yes.
Int: Employed at home and with others?
Int: You were employed at the place you were living at?
Int: Were the places you studied rural or urban?
Int: At home or in a learning center?
P5: 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?
P5: High school.
Int: Did you have a prior negative school experience?
Yeah, I did. I went to elementary school in Maine. I had quite a
negative experience. I wan manufacturing a lot of it myself, of
course. It just seemed that the way they dealt with education was more
centered around discipline than it was about the learning, the
material they were working with. I got picked on a lot and that
distracted me from what we were there for. You could say it was
Int: You didn't enjoy elementary school very much then.
I enjoyed my friends. We would study together, but there was a lot
that I found negative.
Int: Did you have a prior positive school experience?
I consider just the basic skills that I learned, reading, writing,
math, positive, because I use that today. Again, my friends that I
made. I don't remember a lot from those days anyways.
Int: How was secondary school for you, positive or negative? Did
you spend much time in high school? You went up to eighth.
I spent a few weeks in school, but I didn't learn while I was there.
Int: Over all it was more negative than positive?
That's why I dropped out.
Int: Were you diagnosed with learning disabilities while in
school or did you feel that you learned differently than the other
P5: I was not diagnosed officially as having a learning
disability. Actually I was considered one of the brighter kids in the
school. I let other things get in the way of that. I was an emotional
basket case in junior high. I felt that I learned differently. I felt
that everyone else was learning more by rote. Before I even knew what
to call it, I felt that I learned more in a creative way and more
hands-on. Everyone else was like a machine, just another number. I'm
number five, right? It's hard for me to explain exactly how I learn
differently. I always felt different from the crowd. I never got into
big cliques. I always stayed on my own, anyway. So I had an original
way of going about things.
Int: You felt the other kids were learning just by rote and you
liked to do it more hands-on?
P5: I liked to just delve into
it. I liked creative writing, where we'd all get together and
brainstorm ideas. Not just like, you get up to the blackboard and "Two
plus two is this, now repeat after me . . . " like that
stereotypical public school teacher. I just liked the more creative
style in learning experience.
Int: Would that be tied into learning for a purpose? Not just
for the sake of digesting?
P5: Yeah. To further my knowledge.
To enjoy what was happening while it was.
Int: Did you have any medical problems as a child? Eyesight,
hearing, sinus . . . ?
P5: No. I was always very healthy. Not
even allergic to anything.
Int: Did you require medication as a child?
Int: Did you require medication while you were working on your
goals with ABE?
Int: Do you consider yourself more of an individual determined
to set your own course or a follower?
P5: Definitely an
individual. I tried to be a follower but it never worked 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?
P5: I like a mixture of both. It also depends on what the
Int: In terms of learning, for instance, fractions: would you
rather try them out yourself first, or have someone sit down and show
you the steps and then go ahead and try it?
P5: I guess that I
prefer to have someone go over it first. And then try it.
Int: In terms of a learning situation, like a school,
educational. What about a different kind of task, like maybe building
something? or you order something and you get all the parts and you
put it together. Are you the type of person that likes to try it first
and then if it doesn't work, ask somebody?
P5: Yeah. I would
try it first. I feel like I have a mechanical aptitude. I'm trying to
cultivate it. When I get a hold of something like that, I try to
figure it out by myself. "Oh, this is connected to this."
Int: It depends on the task.
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?
It think it would vary. I didn't mind having assignments, like do this
and this and this. For some people that's kind of intimidating. "Oh,
I have these ten pages and I'll never be able to get through this."
I didn't mind having an assignment. I can work well on my own too.
When I'm motivated to do something for my own will. I like to work
[unintell.] explore it.
Int: Would you like the freedom to go beyond the set assignment
if you felt you could handle it or would you feel comfortable just
stopping when the five pages or whatever were done?
would depend if I looked ahead and was curious about what I saw. If I
was, I would just go on. I'd just keep doing it.
1) What were your goals in joining the program?
When I first set out to get my GED, I had no elaborate list of
reasons. I just wanted to complete my high school education. For work,
you have to have a high school diploma. Personal satisfaction.
Int: Your primary goal in joining ABE was to get your GED?
Int: What helped you reach your goals?
P5: I would say
support from my family and friends helped a lot, Jasmine especially.
And her mother. Kept me going. It was an inner will thing. The
material did interest me too. I liked to study, I like academic work.
If something interests me, I'm going to follow it. I did set it up as
a goal. "You're going to try to get the best score possible.
You're going to participate in this, you're going to do this."
And then you end up doing it.
Int: You did get really good scores.
Int: Support was a big factor, then.
2) What were the things that were most important in helping you
to achieve your goals? (I think we just covered that. You mentioned
inner drive, determination, your own will, and support. Of those two
things, which was the more important factor in keeping you going? Were
they equally important?)
P5: I would say it would be my own
will. Anyone who's doing anything, that's what really counts. You can
get outside support which would help immensely, still, it's you. You
have to do it. I would rely on my own.
3) Did you ever think of quitting?
Int: What kept
P5: I think I did because it's sort of a bad habit
of mine. I get frustrated really easy, because I have kind of a short
fuse. I didn't really think seriously about quitting. It was just
something like, "Look you didn't even go to high school." I
was just determined to fill that gap in my education and my knowledge.
I didn't seriously think of quitting.
4) What things hindered your efforts to reach your goals?
No, I didn't feel like there was anything getting in the way at all. I
had plenty of time to study. I had my own space to study in. There
were no obstacles for me.
Int: Transportation wasn't a factor? You had no problem getting
to take the test?
P5: The fact that I didn't have my own car
and that I had to rely on someone else, but it was no problem for
them. So it really wasn't a hindrance and there was no guilt involved.
I didn't feel like I was burdening them. We were making trips into
town for provisions anyway.
5) Once you saw you could make progress, did that keep you
P5: Oh, yeah. I didn't have as much faith when I
started out as when I actually got into the work and saw that I was
Int: What helped you to feel that you were making progress?
Feedback from my tutor. Just looking at it myself, hey I didn't cheat,
I did it all, I didn't look at any answers, and it worked.
Int: You felt like you were understanding the material.
Yeah. Just that realization.
6) Did any of the things you were studying make you want to
P5: I'm interested in the basic subjects. I felt it
could be a little more rich. The material itself. I realize you're not
working on a billionaire budget. I liked the passages in the reading
skills section. I just like reading about science of any kind. That
held my interest.
Int: What were those things?
Why were they
important to you?
P5: There wasn't anything that really
caught my interest. I didn't look at it that way, I just looked at it
as a whole. To complete the test is the goal. It was very cut and dry.
"Do this, and that's that." I would have tried my best
whether I was captivated by this or not.
7) What part of how the program works helped you the
mostflexible time, location, materials, other?
P5: I liked
that tutors could come to your home. The flexible time. I thought it
was a good setup.
8) What influence did your self-esteem have on your being able
(a) What was your view of yourself when you
entered the program?
(b) Did it change while you were in
If yes, how?
P5: I'm pretty hard on
myself, at least everyone tells me that. I don't have very high
self-esteem. Back then, I was feeling even worse. Completing it did
improve my confidence. Definitely. I really try to ignore my
self-esteem. Just carry out the task
Int: You did feel differently once you had completed it, though,
compared to when you started?
P5: Yeah. I felt better.
9) Did you have any support to reach your goals while you were
in the program?
If so, who or what?
P5: I would
say Jasmine was really the soul . . . she would actually go over the
material. I have other books, and we would go over the material
together, actually sit down for a couple of hours and review some of
Int: She was a person in your household at the time.
Int: If a person, how did he/she show support for you? You said
by actually going over the material and spending time reviewing with
Int: Do you want to say more about that?
P5: I can just
give you general answers. I had much support. I was very lucky in the
group of people I was with. While I was up north there, people here
were . . . I had so much support I couldn't get away from it.
Int: Now that weve discussed a few factors, what do you feel had
the greatest impact on keeping you going until you accomplished your
goal(s)? Do you still feel it was your inner drive and your will to
P5: Yeah. It's my belief that in any act that
someone does, that's what really counts. You couldn't rely on other
people or some magical thing [unintell.] It's you. You have to do it.
You know, like, just do it. It's true.
Int: I think it's wonderful that you did accomplish your goal.
You have your GED. You have a job, and your life is taking off.
P5: I want to thank everyone at ABE. Everyone
involved in the process. I'm very grateful.
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