|Adult educators' responses to selected issues of practice: a case study at Molloy College|
Margaret C. Kavanagh
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Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: adult education, Adult education educators, Adult education teachers, Case Studies, English language, Foreign speakers, New York (State), Rockville Centre, Study and teaching
ADULT EDUCATORSÆ RESPONSES TO SELECTED ISSUES OP PRACTICE: A CASE STUDY AT MOLLOY COLLEGE
Margaret C. Kavanagh
A collaborative study was undertaken at three higher education institutions to investigate selected issues faced by practitioners: acknowledgment and use of adult learnerÆs experiences and development of the teacher-adult learner relationship. Recognizing that the fieldÆs diversity discourages consensus or clarity regarding such perennial issues, the study sought to investigate how practitioners respond on a day-to-day basis.
The research, using qualitative methods, involved a collaborative investigation and synthesis of the literature and the individual case studies. Data were collected from students, faculty, and administrators/planners. This case study was conducted at Molloy College, a small, church-related liberal arts institution. Focusing on the collegeÆs English as a Foreign Language Program, the researcher interviewed adult program participants. Half of the student sample were Latino women; the other half, also women, were Russian students who were nurses prior to emigration. Faculty and administrators were directly involved with these students either as teachers or as planners. Classes observed were those in which faculty and student respondents were represented. Other group members conducted case studies at Carroll Community College in Maryland, and at New Jersey, Institute of Technology.
Findings from the study at Molloy College indicate that studentsÆ prior experiences are acknowledged and that faculty respondents are committed to using these varied experiences. All respondent groups were very positive about facultyÆs attention to studentsÆ other obligations (e.g., work, family). There was, however, a discrepancy between what the college professes with regard to the student population studied and what actually takes place, especially in the area of student services and in opportunities for students to be part of the larger college community.
The results suggest that teachers at Molloy College, without formal training in adult education, are attentive to adult students, sensitive to their experiences and to the often conflicting claims on studentsÆ time and energies. The results may be interesting to educators involved with adult immigrant populations and to those who are teaching adults by chance rather than by design.