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Work smarter not faster: an investigation into English as a second language training for garment workers in a union setting

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Title: Work smarter not faster: an investigation into English as a second language training for garment workers in a union setting
Author: Trebble, Maggi
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Language and Literacy Education
Copyright Date: 1998
Abstract: This study investigates an English as a second language training program for garment workers initiated by a union, for its members and non-union workers. It is a case study based on one particular English language training in the workplace program, provided as a partnership between a union and the labour studies program of a community college. The research objective of the study was to identify and analyze significant factors related to: (1) the union's perceived need to establish English in the workplace (EWP) classes and the impact of such a program on the union, (2) the perceived need and impact of the classes on the participants, both union and non-union workers and, (3) as a secondary consideration, the impact of the program on the company, the teachers and the college. The issues were examined through an investigation of the perceptions of the union, the participants, the company, the teachers and the college. The study used a qualitative research design and ethnographic and participatory research methods were employed from an insider perspective, to facilitate the gathering of data. Particular attention was paid to the role of the union in providing English as a second language (ESL) classes to garment workers, as this was a unique factor in the delivery of the program. The implications of the study for practice include; recognition of barriers to learning and using English, a knowledge of the culture of the work place and the setting where the classes occur, as well as a knowledge of the other stakeholders involved in the program. The implications for pedagogy include issues related to; the development of appropriate content, teacher education, and the role of the teachers and the college in providing such a program. This study illuminates many critical aspects in the perceptions of union officials, garment workers, the teachers and the company, regarding the need and impact of an English in the workplace training program.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/8287
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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