Friday, November 25, 2005

A Required Text for Adult Educators

Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults
Vella, Jane

A Required Text for Adult Educators

Vella is the cosmic guru of adult education, or so I was told. Reading what she has written here about her travels and teaching experiences (more than once) globally probably inspires many to jump on the escapist ship and hurl themselves into every NGO Agency out there facilitating and leading the down-trodden to chipper enlightenment.

How this lady achieves what she does, namely making gains and turning challenges into learning and teaching experiences is more than most mortals can hope to attain in life. I read her work, there is great power of perception and her absolute resolute optimism always leaves me thinking that she would turn being run over by a herd of wildebeest into a profitable learning experience. Anyway, the herds pay thousands to sit in on her seminars.

Put it to Vella, "Do we all have the skills to learn?" Answer, "Yes, but in multifarious ways, learn and espouse the ways". But that would be putting words into Vella's mouth and that is not one of her twelve principles.

Vella thinks in quanta, discretely, like a beautiful African or Indian crane fishing the ponds of unknowing, but deftly snatching her learning evaluations out of murky mediums as snakes or frogs for a satisfying denoument, and there is always a denoument for Vella.

She provides that grannie-sensitive measure to virtually every learning experience she participates in, and accountability is as important as relevance. In an ideal world, yes, everyone who be as easy to learn and teach as Vella says we all essentially are.

However for me this was required reading, and so I yolk against required readings even if they do have adequate contents. Perhaps if I had been told, "Here is Vella, take it or leave it" then I would have an effluvial, effervescent review of her seminal adult education tome here.

But I still at times fell like a force-fed duck, especially when I see how mindlessly her meanings and tunes can be taken up and balthered on about, even in a mildly caustic review.

But I grudgingly support her theories. They comprise:

1) Competent needs assessment
2) Dialogue-style education process
3) Informed course design
4) Learning Needs and Resources identification
5) Safe learning environment
6) Using the power of friendship
7) Support and reinforcement
8) Praxis
9) Learners as decision-makers
10) Learning Ideas, Methods, Actions
11) Relevancy
12) Dialogue
13) Teamwork
14) Engagement
15) Accountabilty

Read this book if you have to pass a certificate like I do, or on a whim that you would like to learn more about adult education.

It is no picnic in my mind, but in Vella's it is an all consuming quanta.

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