Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name



The aim of this study is to provide stakeholders in adult, community-based ESL programs with an overview of existing research on student absenteeism, to help them understand the causes of attendance problems at their particular institution. Existing research on absenteeism was reinterpreted in the light of the language acquisition theories of Bonny Norton Peirce, focusing on learner identity, investment, and imagined communities. Norton's approach takes into account the complexity of the relationships between learner identities, the classroom context, other social situations in which they engage daily, and the investment they have in learning English. Applying Norton's theories to the absenteeism research was problematic, due to the complex and interconnected nature of the barriers to student attendance, but it is clear that negative changes in various aspects of a learner's identity may cause that learner to be less invested in a program, and therefore to be less likely to attend class.