News

Suzanne Samuel Completes Her PhD

08-February-2018

Is there a relationship between parental involvement in adult learning and a child’s achievement at school? In the Autumn of 2012, this was the question posed by Suzanne Samuel, which led to her PhD studentship at Cardiff University in collaboration with WEA South Wales.


Late in 2017 Suzanne completed and celebrated the award of her Doctorate.

Suzanne’s qualitative study explored the nature and extent of Adult Community Learning (ACL), and its influence on parents and children. Drawing on adult education theory and Bourdieu’s concept of ‘capital’, it focused on examples of parental ACL participation in Wales.  Her findings suggest that whilst all parents want the best for their children, some parents struggle to provide support, especially at the secondary education stage.

Parents typically draw upon a range of support mechanisms: they refer to the school, family and friends, the Internet, work and volunteering, as well as hiring private tutors. Moreover, parents participating in multiple episodes of ACL, especially at the higher levels, draw upon and utilise their knowledge, skills, and resources to provide timely and effective support; this prevents slippage in the educational sense. Also, findings suggest that ACL participation stimulates and, in some cases, boosts children’s learning.

In contrast, parents with low-level qualifications and parents who engage in fewer episodes of ACL, invariably have a far limited range of resources to call upon. Here, parents tend to rely heavily upon the school, family members, the Internet, and if finances allow, private tutors. Consequently, when support is delayed or ineffective, this increases the risk of children falling behind at school. However, a solution to create a mutual mechanism of support in the home learning environment is put forward to overcome the problem.

From all at Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales, we send hearty congratulations to Suzanne for her commitment to this study and her fully deserved Award. 

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