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Mature black women in Higher Education: a study of culture, ethnicity, gender and educational experiences in Northern England

Ashmore, Lyn (2007) Mature black women in Higher Education: a study of culture, ethnicity, gender and educational experiences in Northern England. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    Abstract

    This chapter provides the background to this study, its significance, aims and intended outcomes. There
    are three themes that weave their way through the following nine chapters: firstly, the research aims to
    increase knowledge and understanding of how black mature women, particularly those black women from
    the lower socioeconomic groups, perceive higher education (HE) (Parry, 1995; Scott, 1995; Castells,
    1997; Crawford, 2000; Connor, 2001; Walker, 2001; HEFCE, 2006). Secondly, the related concepts of
    ‘culture’ and ‘identity’ are crucial: based on the notion that culture and its impact can play a significant
    role in ethnic minorities’ behaviour and values (Verma and Bagley, 1984; Ward and Jenkins 1984;
    Mercer, 1994; Neave, 2000; Housee, 2001; Pollard, 2002; Mirza, 2005). Thirdly, this thesis locates its
    findings within the wider contexts of widening participation in higher education and of black women’s
    experiences, of HE, considering the problems and problematisation of mature students who may be
    confronted with educational and institutional barriers (Cross, 1981; Cummings, 1992; McGivney, 1993;
    Home and Hinds, 2000; Potter and Ferguson, 2003 and others). However, herein lies a conundrum: how
    to elicit and understand the higher education experience of mature black women students, and how to use
    this understanding to develop ways of enhancing the experiences of future students.
    To resolve my quest for answers, following Housee’s (2001) argument on ethnic minorities’ experiences
    in higher education, and Gilligan (1982) in a different voice, I need first to turn this question on its head:
    why am I concerned that the university experience of mature black women students may affect their
    learning? There is no simple dichotomy; there are black women of different age, ability, confidence, with
    different life experiences from not dissimilar cultural backgrounds rooted in advantage or inequality and
    living in conditions that may be enabling or dis-enabling in higher education with their story.
    Housee (2006) states that there was a clear indication that differences in students’ experiences were not
    merely due to whether the teacher had a good day or not, but that the significant factor was due to
    inconsistencies and unsupportive behaviour in terms of the way they spoke to students and often in the
    feedback students received (Young, 2000). In order to have an interweaving of the theoretical framework
    5
    of the research, I first had to look at the concepts of Critical Race Theory (CRT), barriers to learning,
    elements of a responsive lifelong learning and widening participation and best practices in teaching as a
    starting point in the analysis of the literature reviewed for this thesis. How mature black women fit into
    the ideological and cultural backdrop is discussed throughout this thesis.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
    L Education > L Education (General)
    Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
    School of Education and Professional Development > Centre of Lifelong Learning and Social Justice > Social Cohesion Research Group
    School of Education and Professional Development > Centre of Lifelong Learning and Social Justice > Teaching, Public Pedagogies and Professionalism Research Group
    Depositing User: Sara Taylor
    Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2008 15:46
    Last Modified: 28 Oct 2013 14:01
    URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/961

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