ERIC Number: EJ848679
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Reference Count: 11
Educating Low-Literacy Adults: To Teach or Not to Teach?
Morgan, Anne M.
International Journal of Educational Reform, v13 n2 p151-158 Spr 2004
According to statistics compiled by the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL), more than 40% of working-age adults in the United States lack the requisite skills and education to succeed in life (Merrifield, 1998). In the field of adult education, however, there is much debate about how programs can best serve students' goals in preparing for their family, work, and civic responsibilities. Because of this ongoing challenge, adult and community school administrators across the country are now being faced with a pedagogical dilemma. Should community school principals encourage their adult education instructors to alter modes of curriculum delivery to students or maintain the status quo? To the author, this is a rhetorical question with an obvious answer that favors student-focused instruction. As a practitioner in the field of adult education, the author has learned that strengthening teaching practices to increase learning outcomes by using a whole-group instruction approach works. Importantly, this approach can give low-literacy adults the opportunity for becoming better equipped to fully participate in society. As a 10-year veteran of the adult education wars, the author has become convinced that adult practitioners need to actually teach adults, in much the same way as an elementary or secondary teacher would instruct. The author has come to believe that the currently accepted mode of student-directed study, with minimal teacher contact, is ineffective at best. This pervasive approach can even prove self-defeating and nonmotivating for the adult learner. Though it may be difficult, adult education administrators must be curriculum leaders that require instructors to adopt a more proactive approach to teaching in the classroom. The author's goal for this case study is to communicate, to teachers and administrators alike, the need to support this change in practice.
Descriptors: Community Schools, Adult Education, Adult Learning, Adult Students, Principals, Teaching Methods, Literacy, Adults, Reading Skills, Administrator Role, Adult Educators, Student Centered Curriculum, Large Group Instruction, Education Work Relationship, Family Programs, Educational Attainment, Outcomes of Education, High School Equivalency Programs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida