Adult Financial Literacy Education and Latina Learners: A Qualitative Case Study

Open Access
Sprow, Karin Millard
Graduate Program:
Adult Education
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
October 06, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Elizabeth Jean Tisdell, Dissertation Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • Elizabeth Jean Tisdell, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • Edward W Taylor, Committee Member
  • Holly L Angelique, Committee Member
  • Rhoda Joseph, Committee Member
  • Gary Kuhne, Committee Member
  • financial literacy education
  • adult financial education
  • Latino adult education
  • sociocultural perspectives
This qualitative study used a case study design to explore the teaching and learning that takes place in an adult Latino financial literacy education that was aimed specifically at Latina single mothers. The theoretical framework of the study was informed by a blend of critical and Latina feminist sociocultural adult learning perspectives, as well as the transtheoretical model of behavior change. The study focused on the experiences of the educators and learners within this program that targets these Latina learners and attempted to understand the influence of sociocultural factors on their education in financial matters. Of special interest was the pedagogical approach that was used, and the role that ethnicity, gender, and the Latino culture played in the teaching and learning process. Data consisted primarily of participant interviews with the program administrator, educators, and learners; class observations; and analysis of documents about the program or related to curriculum and pedagogy. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis, both manually and using the qualitative software, NVivo 8. The findings of the study are grouped into three primary areas. First, the program uses a holistic approach to financial education, which emphasizes community leadership and the creation of cultural community of support for the learners, including the provision of multiple resources for the learners. Second the pedagogy in use emphasizes both content and process making use of alternative techniques with an emphasis on learner needs and the use of personal stories that assists the educators in creating this community of support and in the delivery of financial content. Third, the promotion of financial behavior change motivates learners to set goals, make small changes, and demonstrate improvement in their savings, credit scores, and reduction in debt. The study ends with a consideration of the findings in light of the theory, and offers implications for adult education and financial education practice and further research.