This thesis explores individual and group perceptions about learning in an informal and multigenerational context, as exists within a particular sub-group of the greater Karen community in Minnesota. The Karen people are an ethnic group from Myanmar (Burma) that began immigrating to the Minnesota in 2000. Data for this dissertation was gathered at a church, where many families and generations of the Karen population attend for congregational worship as well as religious, cultural, and language learning opportunities. This thesis examines and reflects on qualitative data (gathered through large group observations and personal interviews) regarding the importance of learning within this community, and the perceptions Karen congregational members have about their own learning on site, in their family ties, and in their own lives. The analysis of data collected examines elements of culture, history, and environment that shape these perceptions, and identifies shared and differing communal themes among participants of Generation 1, 1.5 and 2. The final product is a critically based reflection on the population observed, the focal participants interviewed, and the researcher involved, which presents (partially in narrative style) larger ideas about the value of learning in this community and to the individuals connected.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2015. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Mark Vagle. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 163 pages.
Karen Perceptions of Self and Learning within an Informal and Multigenerational Context.
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