Lessons From Adult Education

Posted by on Jan 4, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

A recent issue of Education Week contains an article by Josh Middleton, a former school superintendent, now director of Adult Education in Montana, where Adult Education programs are compared to the typical K-12 programs.  There is much K-12 programs could learn from Adult Education programs.  I compared the standards in Texas and came to the same conclusions.

Adult education addresses student’s academic needs and deficits INDIVIDUALLY.  K-12 programs compartmentalize students according to age. It tends to be “one size fits all”. K-12 students sit through a day’s lesson whether or not it is timely, mastered, or overwhelming.  For years, educators have “talked” about an individual approach, but the general practice is still to teach to the middle, boring the upper level students and hoping the lower-performing students catch on.

Adult education celebrates individual accomplishments of a goal.  Upon reaching the goal, students go on to their next academic challenge until the work is done.  In many K-12 classes, students who master the lesson ahead of others becomes the teacher’s helper or assigned “enrichment work” (busy work?) until the rest of the class catches on.

At Willow Bend Academy, individual accomplishments are celebrated daily and monthly with certificates, merits and medals.

Adult education finds success in small class sizes.  Individual instruction requires small classes.  Student learning should be personalized for each and every student.  Most K-12 classes range from 20 to 25 students per teacher per class.  At Willow Bend Academy, there are 8 students per teacher.

Adult education focuses on the student’s goals. K-12 education tends to focus on the goals set by legislatures.  At Willow Bend Academy, goal setting by the student is an integral part of the program.

Not to be critical of public K-12 schools, a huge detriment to truly individualizing education lies in federal and state funding practices that require adherence to policies and procedures established by legislators.

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve your students without the bureaucratic hamstrings and to address their needs and desires as individuals.