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Voices from Caribbean College Classrooms: The Academic and Lived Experience of Jamaican Non-traditional Female Students in Higher Education

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Abstract:

Voices from Caribbean College Classrooms: The Academic and Lived Experience of Jamaican Non-traditional Female Students in Higher Education

Marsha B Black-Chen
Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher
Education
Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois.
60115
815-793-8346
mblackchen1@niu.edu
marmarshmello@yaoo.com























Abstract
One of the most notable trends in the last two decades has been the dramatic increase in continuing education among non-traditional–aged females (Lewis, 1988). This study examined the academic and lived experience of women in Jamaica, specifically women who returned to college to further their education. Emphasis was placed on investigating reasons for returning, support receive from family, support service within the institution attended, successes, challenges, and strategies for successful academic and social integration into the institutional environment. This qualitative study was guided by 4 research questions, while using a narrative enquiry and a feminist approach to provide themes related to the study. Twenty females were interviewed and the study revealed concepts that are internal to the group, while investigating issues relating to them as a unique population. The literature shows that women dominating higher education in contemporary Jamaican society is intriguing, as the education system built on its Victorian Ideology saw it prudent for males to further their education, while not placing much emphasis on women. However, Senior (1991) posits that the 1960s and onwards has seen an increase in equality of education opportunities between sexes, and Caribbean girls have taken full advantage of this. Beckles, Perry and Whitley (2002), and Howe (2003) expressed that in the Caribbean, students over the age of 21 have created additional challenges for the university, which results in their academic experience being different from that of traditional-aged females. Jamaican scholars have not formally addressed these issues, and as such, there is no literature on non-traditional women, their academic experience, reasons for return and the support received from institutions as they pursue their studies. Findings indicate that majority of the students had a positive outlook, received support from family, but faced several challenges upon returning and integrating into the institutional environment. This research will provide information to the various institutions, policy makers and practitioners, but most importantly, it is an attempt to amplify their voices, while understanding the efficacy of this student population. The responses hold significant implications for future research involving female non-traditional students in higher education.
Keywords: Caribbean, higher education, lived experience,
non-traditional women
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Association:
Name: 37th Annual National Council for Black Studies
URL:
http://www.ncbsonline.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p646853_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Black-Chen, Marsha. "Voices from Caribbean College Classrooms: The Academic and Lived Experience of Jamaican Non-traditional Female Students in Higher Education" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 37th Annual National Council for Black Studies, The Westin Hotel - Downtown, Indianapolis, ID, Mar 13, 2013 <Not Available>. 2014-12-11 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p646853_index.html>

APA Citation:

Black-Chen, M. , 2013-03-13 "Voices from Caribbean College Classrooms: The Academic and Lived Experience of Jamaican Non-traditional Female Students in Higher Education" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 37th Annual National Council for Black Studies, The Westin Hotel - Downtown, Indianapolis, ID <Not Available>. 2014-12-11 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p646853_index.html

Publication Type: Panelist Abstract
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Voices from Caribbean College Classrooms: The Academic and Lived Experience of Jamaican Non-traditional Female Students in Higher Education

Marsha B Black-Chen
Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher
Education
Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois.
60115
815-793-8346
mblackchen1@niu.edu
marmarshmello@yaoo.com























Abstract
One of the most notable trends in the last two decades has been the dramatic increase in continuing education among non-traditional–aged females (Lewis, 1988). This study examined the academic and lived experience of women in Jamaica, specifically women who returned to college to further their education. Emphasis was placed on investigating reasons for returning, support receive from family, support service within the institution attended, successes, challenges, and strategies for successful academic and social integration into the institutional environment. This qualitative study was guided by 4 research questions, while using a narrative enquiry and a feminist approach to provide themes related to the study. Twenty females were interviewed and the study revealed concepts that are internal to the group, while investigating issues relating to them as a unique population. The literature shows that women dominating higher education in contemporary Jamaican society is intriguing, as the education system built on its Victorian Ideology saw it prudent for males to further their education, while not placing much emphasis on women. However, Senior (1991) posits that the 1960s and onwards has seen an increase in equality of education opportunities between sexes, and Caribbean girls have taken full advantage of this. Beckles, Perry and Whitley (2002), and Howe (2003) expressed that in the Caribbean, students over the age of 21 have created additional challenges for the university, which results in their academic experience being different from that of traditional-aged females. Jamaican scholars have not formally addressed these issues, and as such, there is no literature on non-traditional women, their academic experience, reasons for return and the support received from institutions as they pursue their studies. Findings indicate that majority of the students had a positive outlook, received support from family, but faced several challenges upon returning and integrating into the institutional environment. This research will provide information to the various institutions, policy makers and practitioners, but most importantly, it is an attempt to amplify their voices, while understanding the efficacy of this student population. The responses hold significant implications for future research involving female non-traditional students in higher education.
Keywords: Caribbean, higher education, lived experience,
non-traditional women


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