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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Self-directed retirement learning by female teachers Curry, Avita Marie


The situation of people in their retirement years is becoming an issue of broad social concern. If retirement is to be worth looking forward to and worth having, it must be planned. Adults may become their own teachers in retirement learning or turn over this responsibility to another individual, group, or material resource. The approach taken by Tough (1971) and others investigated the behavior of people who design their own learning projects in contrast to the taxonomic approach common to the instructional enterprise inferred from the way teachers teach. The present study adds to the knowledge of the self-planned inquiry of adults of various age groups and stages in their careers. The purposes of this study were: 1) to determine the nature and extent of teachers' retirement learning projects; 2) to compare the nature and extent of the projects undertaken by pre-retired and retired teachers. For this study, two groups of female teachers were selected from the Vancouver School District in British Columbia. Group One consisted of ten teachers between the ages of sixty and sixty-four who were actively engaged in teaching at the time of the study. Group Two consisted of ten retired teachers between the ages of sixty-five and sixty-nine. Data were collected through indepth interviews using a survey instrument adapted from those originally developed by Tough at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. The average number of retirement learning projects conducted was ten. There was no significant association between the number of learning projects undertaken and personal characteristics of age, marital status and educational achievement. Most learning projects occurred in response to perceived needs in retirement. These needs included: financial security, work or service, social interaction, health maintenance, change or improvement in residence. Over sixty percent of the projects were self-planned. Teachers most frequently approached people and used printed material as the major resources for their learning. Learning for credit represented only twelve percent of the 200 learning projects conducted. For the 200 learning projects reported the average number of learning difficulties each teacher encountered was 6.35. The three most common difficulties were: 1) finding and arranging time for learning; 2) being able to read all that is available; 3) keeping other concerns from interrupting the learning. Teachers suggested many ways in which the teaching profession and society could be changed to facilitate their learning efforts. The implications for the teaching profession and society should be pursued relative to the needs, resources and learning difficulties these professionals experienced in self-directed learning pertaining to retirement learning.

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