WIA Community Conversations Transcripts - Adult Literacy Professional Development

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Adult Literacy Professional Development

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Subject: [PD
4363] PD Questions
From: Brenda Dann-Messier
Date: Mon Jan 11 08:24:03 EST 2010

Dear Professional Development List

My name is Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant
Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education. Thank you for planning time this
week to participate in a virtual session of the WIA Community Conversations (http://lincs.ed.gov/lincs/discussions/10WIA).
I know it adds to your day to read and respond to discussion list posts, and I
deeply appreciate you giving so much of your time.

This week, I ask that you discuss the
successes and needs you see for adult education with respect to this discussion
list's topic. I'm hoping that you'll be candid and honest, and that there will
be an open and frank discussion on the list in this regard.

I'm here to listen, and to learn. This
discussion is different from the typical discussion list guest discussions. I'm
not going to react to your suggestions or answer questions. Please know,
however, that what you suggest is worthwhile for the Department to consider as
it forms its policy position on WIA reauthorization. Based on what I learn from
the WIA Community Conversations, my hope is to be able to say what the real
issues are that impact the field, our students, and our practitioners.

Additionally, I will present all conversation
comments to the State Directors of Adult Education at their annual meeting in
February. I will obtain their feedback as well.

If you are interested in what others are
saying across the country, in addition to what you hear from this list
discussion, please visit the Department of Education's blog http://www.edgovblogs.org/duncan/2009/11/workforce-investment-act-reauthorization/ . The transcripts from face-to-face sessions hosted by OVAE are linked to the
blog. We will link transcripts of these discussion list sessions to the blog as

To start the discussion, please reply to this
email with your thoughts on any of the following questions:

  • What
    are the successful ingredients needed to help teachers and programs
    prepare learners for college and / or work?
  • What
    do you see as some of the greatest challenges? What are some innovative
    solutions to those challenges?
  • What
    is needed in the next 5 years to improve professional development?

I look forward to hearing from you,


Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier

Assistant Secretary

Office of Vocational and Adult Education

United States Department of Education

400 Maryland Ave. S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20202

Subject: [PD
4365] What do you see as some of the greatest challenges?
From: Debra Hargrove
Date: Mon Jan 11 09:39:20 EST 2010


One of the greatest challenges I've
experienced in providing PD statewide is ensuring that the training is
consistent in delivery and quality. Our state is divided into 5 regions. Each
region provides its own training. While in many cases, the same trainer travels
to each region, there may be at any time up to 2-3 different trainers providing
different types of information. Granted, we have very seasoned trainers in our
state, it's just that there may be some differences in training content.

Florida is in
the process of reviewing the AALPD PD Standards and other recommendations as we
begin building statewide training programs. We currently have a Professional
Development Standing Committee, whose charge is to develop a statewide online
training program for New and Seasoned Teachers and New and Seasoned

Another challenge in our state is reaching
our part time teachers. Budget restraints limit many of our part time teachers
from attending any PD activities. There's no money to pay for substitutes. Our
state association is helping reach the part time teachers by conducting part
time Teacher Academies in each region. These academies are much like a mini
conference, in that there's an opening general session and then mini breakout
sessions for teachers to attend. These academies are conducted generally at
night, when the part time teachers have a better chance of attending.

While I'm sure there are other challenges in
our state, I believe providing consistent, quality produced content and
reaching our part time teachers are our most challenging tasks for Florida in 2010.


Deb Hargrove

Debra L. Hargrove, Ed. D.

Director, Florida TechNet

Indian River State College

AALPD Webmaster

Date: [PD
4368] What are some of the greatest challenges
From: Jill Carlson
Date: Mon Jan 11 10:39:39 EST 2010

I think the greatest challenge is how one
person is supposed to be a master of all this. Each licensed teacher is asked
to competently teach things that other professionals specifically studied for
years to do, and to do so successfully.

For example, I do not have my master’s degree
in mathematics, but I am expected to get a student ready for college algebra.
Isn't that the job of the high school teacher who is specifically taught how to
teach that? I am not a reading specialist, but I am expected to help someone
get to the level of reading that is required for college? During this time, I
also have to master the English language so I can teach people who do not know
how to speak English effectively, teach computer science and get students ready
for a career! Yes, I am a teacher, but not of all things.

Many rural programs have only a handful of
teachers. A single teacher in such a program is responsible for teaching
everything from beginning ESL to pre-college level algebra for students
transitioning to postsecondary education. How can one teacher possibly be that
to all people? In addition, the financial incentive is not there for most ABE
teachers to get more education. This is a one way road without significant
financial benefit. If a teacher was to go on to get his or her masters degree
in all these college level subjects, then he or she might as well reap the
financial benefit of it and leave Adult Basic Education.

Jill Carlson

Subject: [PD
4369] Re: PD Questions
From: Andy Nash
Date: Mon Jan 11 11:04:32 EST 2010

Hello Brenda and thank you for inviting this
input on PD-related issues and WIA.

I’ve been involved in professional
development in the field for about 20 years. In response to your question,
“What is needed in the next 5 years to improve professional development?” here
are some things I believe are key:

  • An
    increase of state leadership funds to support paid professional
    development time for all adult educators. I have seen great disparity in
    how (or whether) various programs compensate staff for their participation
    in PD, which undermines the learning community and the basic access to the
  • Support
    for adult education research, based on a field-developed research agenda
    and a definition of “research” that includes ethnographic study,
    practitioner action research, or any approach that makes an intellectual
    and practical contribution to the field. I’m thinking, for example, of the
    thought-provoking dialogue and program innovations that have come about as
    educators consider the notion of “stopping out,” based on Aliza Belzer’s
    very small but relevant study, while some of the larger “gold standard”
    studies have had limited impact on the field. One area that is in need of
    a large study is the relationship between working conditions (full-time
    jobs, paid PD, benefits, etc.) and many things – workforce stability,
    participation in PD, even student outcomes. Can the field meet the
    changing demands of adult education with a mostly part-time, often
    low-paid and aging workforce?
  • Support
    for the development of a collection of videotaped examples of effective
    practice (along the lines of David Rosen’s MLOTs collection, perhaps
    peer-reviewed). Some of my most effective PD, when practitioners have
    asked me what some approach “looks like” in practice, has been to teach
    their class so that they can watch/critique me, rather than the other way
    around. A resource of varied teaching examples would be useful in both
    face-to-face and DL contexts.

Thanks again,

Andy Nash, professional developer

World Education

AALPD Board Member

Subject: [PD
4370] from ccread, re: PD Questions
From: ccread
Date: Mon Jan 11 12:24:51 EST 2010

Here are some of my thoughts about this
issue. They are a little disjointed, due to time constraints.

What are the successful ingredients needed to help teachers and
programs prepare learners for college and / or work?

I feel that first off, we need to have
quality teachers, which would mean enough funding to pay them better. I think
adult education teachers are very dedicated, but they do have to eat and if we
want to keep them we have to pay them better. I think having resources available,
such as technology that would help learners research, use daily and just
prepare them for what lies ahead would also be beneficial. Teachers also need
to care about their students and instill in them a different way of thinking;
motivate them, perhaps, to constantly feed their minds and overcome bad habits.
They need to give students success and build responsibility so that learners
will be up to the task of college. We need to challenge them and expect more of

What do you see as some of the greatest challenges? What are some
innovative solutions to those challenges?

I still think funding is a huge issue. Also,
many in the work/college arena do not understand the issues of illiteracy or
poor basic skills. It is a silent epidemic which is overlooked. Many unemployed
are put into training situations before they are prepared. Yet, the CareerLinks
don't have the authority to say you can't attend this training until you have
these skills. Higher education agencies often accept people with low skills then
remediate them or try to while taking their once in a lifetime funding. There
should be stricter expectations about students being prepared for college so
they are successful. Again, this goes back to funding for adult literacy.

What is needed in the next 5 years to improve professional

Professional development can be improved by
having standardized expectations for adult educators. Having flexible training
opportunities to account for the busy schedules adult educators have.


Subject: [PD
4371] WIA Discussion
From: Blair, Jill
Date: Mon Jan 11 12:29:57 EST 2010


My name is Jill Blair and I am the
administrator of an Adult Ed program of about 600 students in central Illinois.

What are the successful
ingredients needed to help teachers and programs prepare learners for college
and / or work?

That's not a tough question at all, is it? I
have a few thoughts...


We need strong, qualified leaders at the national, state and local levels to
help set goals and priorities for Adult Education. We also need these leaders
to come up with practical strategies to help us all achieve those goals. Across
the board, I think professionals in Adult Ed are often spread thin, performing
duties in several areas (teaching, testing, counseling, grant-writing,
administration, curriculum development, advocacy, disability services,
workforce services, etc.). While I think we do an outstanding job in Adult Ed
wearing all of these hats, I also think that given a chance to focus more closely
on fewer duties and allowing educators to play to their strengths, potential
leaders and innovative practices may emerge.


I know I have heard this before on this listserv, so forgive me for
repeating... While transition to post-secondary and/or the workplace are
laudable and essential goals in adult education, they certainly aren't the only
goals. Overall, I think the NRS does a pretty good job of taking other
accomplishments into consideration. I am also glad to work in an area that has some
accountability and measurable outcomes. However, I think we need to be
cognizant of the other, more-difficult-to-measure successes of our students: I
read a story to my child last night; I solved a conflict through respectful
dialogue rather than violence; I asked the bus driver for help in English. We
also need to be careful that, in an effort to show NRS successes, we don't end
up neglecting students who may never pass the GED or take a college class, but
who may benefit from adult education in other ways.

Visibility and Respect

I remember watching a report a year or so ago on one of the network's nightly
news broadcasts (sorry I can't remember which one) that covered the problem of
illiteracy in America. It was a good report with reliable statistics and a look
at the challenges faced by those with low literacy skills. The report talked
about a couple specific community and church-based volunteer literacy programs,
but made no mention of WIA or the Adult and Family Literacy Act. Most folks in
our communities have no idea that our programs exist. Colleagues in our
institutions often have no idea what Adult Ed does and often confuse us with
Community Education and other personal enrichment classes. Suzanne Leibmann
mentioned a couple of weeks ago on this discussion that more full-time staff
might create a domino effect. Full-time teachers are more visible and
active--> greater awareness of Adult Ed services--> better
training/development for adult education professionals--> better outcomes
for our students--> more respect for our field, and so on. I tend to agree
with her, but as a program administrator, of course I'm going to ask "how
can we afford full-time staff when grants are regularly reduced?" I guess
this is where the leadership and innovation comes into play. Maybe there is
"bonus" grant money for programs that have a certain percentage of
full-time teachers. Maybe we have to accept serving even fewer students in the
short-term in order to have more full-time staff.

I'm sure that I could go on, but I think
these three would get us off to a good start.

Jill Blair

Subject: [PD
4372] Re: WIA Discussion
From: Bonnie Odiorne
Date: Mon Jan 11 13:42:17 EST 2010

I was academic director (i.e. wrote academic
outcome grant narrative, designed curriculum, did assessment, and taught
classes) for a combined ABE/ESL and technology preparation WIA grant in the
'90s. Yes, I agree that the reporting standards do not always reflect level or
functional gains (i.e. in terms of increased overall preparedness for the workforce);
ours was at first a family literacy program, then an employability-oriented
curriculum. We used Workplace Essential Skills throughout into which we
integrated technology preparedness (a certified IT trainer taught those
segments, applying the skills they were learning into technology learning
units; she also did computer troubleshooting. So while I had to be a math (to
my great surprise, and pointed out to me by a State monitor), reading, ESL
specialist, I had at least some backup in IT, and some academic background in
all fields (except math).I even became very good at computer training and

Our biggest problem was recruitment: the only
population that could reasonably undertake the intensity/duration requirements
were the unemployed, underemployed, and those who had good reasons for being
such (homeless, developmentally disabled, psychological disorders, or
behavioral/social integration--oh yes, we're supposed to be psychiatrists and
social workers as well!). Therefore, despite level gains, there were students
who could not report an employment or entered secondary education outcome
(though some did, the issue with them was the large number of non-credit
bearing remediation courses they still had to take, plus financing beyond working
part-time and Pell/Stafford loans). The employment outcomes were often enough
those they might have gotten without our program (i.e. entry-level positions,
and consequently low retention). While the WIA (and subsequently TANF training)
were among the most rewarding programs I'd ever been involved in, the outcomes
were not reflective of the very real classroom gains; very often the
"street" or behaviors associated with lifestyle would eradicate the

WIA programs should be provided with
professional and/or paraprofessional support for social services/case
management (when necessary, or assistance when working with those entities
already serving the population). CT is a wonderful state for PD, as we had not
only those sessions required for proper reporting, but conferences we could
attend (the sessions dealing with LD, or psychological disorders in adult
education were a godsend!).

Thanks for the opportunity to report after
all these years. I can't imagine the program has changed that much, but if it
has, forgive me.

Bonnie Odiorne, PhD Director, Writing Center
Adjunct Professor of English, French, First Year Transitions, Day Division and

Post University, Waterbury, CT

Advanced Labyrinth Facilitator, Spiritual Director

Subject: [PD
4372] Re: PD Questions
From: Kantner, Joanne
Date: Mon Jan 11 13:45:39 EST 2010

Hello Brenda,

The College and Career Readiness Standards,
adopted by the majority of states, significantly impacts the professional
development needs at all levels of the adult education system. WIA
reauthorization is an opportunity to move adult education towards 21st century
needs. My testimony will focus on the implications from numeracy and
mathematics domains; however, issues span across many adult literacies.
Reauthorization legislation, and appropriation should address the following
professional development issues and the accountability within each of the

1. Qualified adult education instructors. The
mathematics content in the CCR standards is not a collection of isolated
procedures, instead it requires more conceptual understanding for application
to problems. The rigorous content requires instructors to:

(a)  Have
conceptual mathematics content. Few instructors have academic backgrounds in
mathematics and will need to develop a deeper mathematics understanding to
facilitate students' mathematics learning.

(b)  Shift
away from the independent self-study delivery tutor model (predominate in most
programs) towards a group instruction method. The CCR knowledge and skills will
develop from strategies of problem-based, inquiry-based, technology-enhanced
instruction, and concrete learning tasks. These are seldom used in our
classrooms which favor individual drill and practice of computational
procedures. Instructors need training on these pedagogical models through
professional development experiences which provide opportunities for
instructors to be mathematics learners themselves.

(c)  Become
educated about the cognitive obstacles commonly encountered by students
learning specific content, the best representations to limit these obstacles,
and informal and formal assessment techniques for guiding instructional
decisions for teaching.

(d)  Provide
of a forum for instructors to continue informal and nonformal educational

2. Qualified program directors at the local
and state levels. Professional development programming is the responsibility of
local and state program directors; many lacking formal education backgrounds
themselves. Administrators need to be educated on (a) identifying the PD needs
of local instructors including core content areas, (b) best practices for
designing the programs to meet these needs, (c) methods for assessing the
instructor learning taking place in the core content and (d) the research on
the teaching and learning of mathematics to adults relevant to designing
learning environments.

3. A national adult education research
center/institute. There is little research to influence decision-making at the
meta, state, and local levels. Funding, oversight, and an organizational
structure for a center to develop a research base on adult education is needed.
There is a lack of research and knowledge on

(a)  the
teaching and learning of adults learning mathematics

(b)  specific
professional development needs of adult mathematics educators

(c)  establishing
educational guidelines and standards for college programs qualifying adult
education administrators and instructors (including credentialing at the
pre-service and in-service stages), and

(d)  the
importance of technology-use within the AE systems.

Answers to many fundamental questions are
lacking. How does the known research on learning mathematics in K-12 apply to
adults learning mathematics? What does the ideal adult mathematics education
instructor (or director) look like (skills, competencies, and attributes)? What
are the needs of the current adult education instructional (or administrative)
workforce? What are the best methods for delivering professional development
content to meet these needs? What are the appropriate methods for assessing
these? How does instructor's mathematics anxiety and beliefs of mathematics
impact the student-learning of the CCR standards-based mathematic. content?
What methods for disseminating research to the practitioner, and in what
formats, will best impact the learning in our classrooms? How do we facilitate
a shift in beliefs towards these reforms?

Thank you for providing this communication

M. Joanne Kantner

Director, Developmental Education

Joliet Junior College

Joliet, Illinois


Treasurer, American Assoc. for Adult &
Continuing Education


Trustee, Adults Learning Mathematics: A Research Forum


Subject: [PD
4373] Math knowledge
From: Judith Diamond
Date: Mon Jan 11 15:29:44 EST 2010

I agree completely with Joanne about math
skills. Math is a combination of the factual, procedural, and conceptual.
Compared to Language Arts skills, the factual is like knowing how to spell,
procedural is like knowing the format for a letter or the rules for a
5-paragraph essay, conceptual is what to say, when to say it, and how to get
your point across to those who are reading it. One can see that all are
essential, but that without the conceptual, the rest means nothing.

Number sense requires that students are able
to confidently estimate basic facts. (if not instant recall). We need to help
students practice estimation so that they will not be bogged down searching for
a number fact when they are attempting to do a problem.

Procedures, e.g. how to do long division, are
useful, but alternative procedures, which stem from solid conceptual knowledge,
are just as good as those listed in textbooks.

Concepts need to be taught in conjunction
with everything. No first grade teacher would think of teaching basic addition
and subtraction without manipulatives "How else are they going to
understand?" We lose that concern as our students grow older.
Manipulatives, connections with prior knowledge, integration with needed daily
tasks all help build conceptual knowledge.

Thanks Joanne, for encouraging a lurker to
come out of the shadows!

Judith Diamond

Professional Development Specialist

Adult Learning Resource Center, Illinois

Subject: [PD
4374] Re: Math knowledge
From: Kathleen Kelly
Date: Mon Jan 11 15:45:44 EST 2010

This is so true. I have found that adults
benefit tremendously from the hands' on approach to math. Estimation seems to
be one of those extremely difficult tasks for some adults if you can't put it
into context.


Subject: [PD
4375] Re: PD Questions
From: Janet Isserlis
Date: Mon Jan 11 16:14:43 EST 2010

Adding support for/agreement with the points
Andy makes, especially around paid PD time and the need for further research as
well as a recognition of the fact that practitioner-driven research _is_ an
important element of professional learning and development.


Subject: [PD
4376] Discussion Response
From: Marcia Anderson
Date: Mon Jan 11 16:40:01 EST 2010

What are the successful
ingredients needed to help teachers and programs prepare learners for college
and/or work?

As an administrator of an agency that
offered/offers transition opportunities, I believe that it is important for
teachers and learners to experience success. Many learners coming to us have
such little faith in themselves that at times they won't attempt even the most
simple challenge. Teachers, also need to see what changes their work can cause
when learners experience success. I think such experiences would provide the
spark that supports both learner and teacher.

Referral agencies (and learners) should have
realistic expectations of how long it may take an individual to make the gains
necessary to move into post-secondary education.

I'm looking forward to reading other ideas!



Subject: [PD
4377] Re: What do you see as some of the greatest challenges?
From: Fantine, Jeff
Date: Mon Jan 11 16:50:30 EST 2010


I remember experiencing this same challenge
as a professional developer and as we re-vision our PD system in Maine, this same challenge you describe has emerged in discussion. I'm wondering if you
have thought about online learning opportunities for your administrators and
instructors, which you didn't mention in your post - you mention
"attending PD activities." One of the questions the Assistance
Secretary asks is "what is needed in the next 5 years to improve
professional development?" I think we need a paradigm shift in what we
mean in the field by professional development and what would help with this is
funding an entity that focuses specifically on professional development - maybe
it is part of the research center that will be funded through OVAE although
that certainly hasn't been mentioned in information I've seen about it's
purpose. Researching best instructional practices or teaching methods for the
field does not translate into effective professional development. Therefore, I
think our field needs a meaningful investment in professional development -
including what it means, how best to deliver and sustain it, how to customize
it for varying needs just like we do instruction for our adult learners, and
how to support it.

Jeffrey A. Fantine

State Director of Adult Education

Maine Department of Education

Augusta, ME

Subject: [PD
4378] Re: What do you see as some of the greatest challenges?
From: Bell, Kit
Date: Mon Jan 11 17:52:00 EST 2010

Colleagues - The question I am often asked is
"How do you know that the professional development you are offering is
making a positive difference in student achievement?" Providing a "non-anecdotal"
answer to this question is a challenge with which I would like assistance.

Kit Bell

Los Angeles Unified School District

Division of Adult and Career Education

Subject: [PD
4380] Re: Discussion Response
From: Glenn Young
Date: Mon Jan 11 21:29:25 EST 2010

I would suggest that the key issue in
professional development is training in new technologies (e-book, smart phone,
and on and on) for the purpose of helping adults learners use these tools for
obtaining and using knowledge.

We need to train teachers to use 21st tools,
and upgrade the whole field to be better in tune with the 21st century. If we
continue to just train people in what "was" we keep teachers and
learners behind the curve of what "is." As learners transition into
work or further education, they need to know how to use technology in general,
but need to know how to use the new smart technology to be more competent
learners "now."

The world has taken a quantum leap in the
last decades, and adult education needs to join that leap or become more and
more obsolete in its approaches and tools. Part of catching up is training the
staff on the new tools and their real potentials.

Glenn Young


Buffalo NY

Subject:[PD 4382]
PD Questions
From: Jane Greiner
Date: Mon Jan 11 21:46:08 EST 2010

Hello all,

I've appreciated reading the many thoughtful
contributions posted so far to Assistant Secretary Dann-Messier's questions.
After just one day of discussion, it's crystal clear that one of the greatest
challenges affecting outcomes for adult learners is the conditions in which
adult educators work: part-time, low pay (compared to their K-12 counterparts),
lack of benefits, lack of paid planning time, etc. For many, teaching in or
managing an adult ed program is not their only job, and very often not their
primary job. For teachers to continually improve their practice - because, as
many of you have noted already, the demands of the work are broad - they need
quality professional development that is intensive and sustained: a tall order
for programs where teachers do not get paid release time for PD, cannot get
substitutes so that they can attend PD, or do not have access to professional
sharing time with their colleagues. It's an even taller order for our field
unless we have a commitment to invest in research (as Andy Nash mentioned, in
multiple forms) that can guide improvements in our programs and practice.

Teachers' access to PD, working conditions,
opportunities for career advancement, and research are critical issues addressed
in the Professional Quality Principles adopted in last month by the National
Coalition for Literacy, as well as the AALPD Policy Recommendations adopted in
2005. AALPD's Policy Recommendations were created in collaboration with
professional developers and are based upon what we know from research about
supporting teachers in doing their jobs well.

I encourage you all to take a look at both
documents in light of this week's discussion. They can be found at:

NCL Professional Quality


AALPD Policy Recommendations and PD Policies Matrix

All the best,


Jane Greiner

Chair, Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers (AALPD)

Professional Development Coordinator, ProLiteracy

Subject: [PD
4387] National adult education professional development challenges
From: David Rosen
Date: Tue Jan 12 09:10:18 EST 2010

Hello Brenda,

Thank you for asking the field for our perceptions
of our field's greatest professional development challenges and innovative
solutions that might be addressed through federal legislation, policy and new

Here are five professional development
concerns that I hope the reauthorization of WIA, and other changes in federal
education and workforce development legislation and policy might address:

1. Funding for state level demonstration
programs that develop Incentives for substantial, ongoing, inservice
professional development for part-time and full-time teachers. Inservice
professional development is critical to adult education teacher and program
quality. The job description of the adult education teacher -- as others have
pointed out -- demands a broader range of skills than most pre-k-12 teachers.
(It includes: teaching reading, writing, numeracy, ASE subjects such as
science, math, social sciences, language arts, transition to higher education,
ESOL, assessing, advising/counseling, learning about students' cultures and
first languages, learning how to integrate technology and teach in rich,
multicultural environments, and these are just for starters!) States -- and
programs -- need encouragement to provide incentives and/or rewards for adult
education teachers for pursuing professional development. States need to
provide more substantive professional development, more in-depth online,
blended and face-to-face professional development courses that incorporate
opportunities for teachers to practice, and incorporate the new skills and knowledge
in their practice. Completing these courses should be part of a PD system that
leads to pay incentives for teachers who demonstrate that they have the new
skills and knowledge. The Workforce Investment Act, Title II, and OVAE, could
support some state demonstrations that advanced in this direction.

2. Integrating technology, and supporting
teaching online, specifically, more support for teachers to learn to:

a. integrate technology well in their classrooms,

b. teach students computer and Internet basics (technology comfort and

c. teach students with specific reading disabilities how to "aud",
i.e. to use technology to get meaning from print by using technology to have
text read out loud, and to

d. teach in online and blended models.

3. Support for development of national
innovative online learning models: national support for maintenance and further
development of innovative online and blended learning models such as the
Learner Web and USALearns. Federal funding to support the further development
of these kinds of models that are made available free to adult learners who are
studying on their own, or who are supplementing learning in classes, is
critical for the models' growth and their maintenance of quality.

4. Support in the legislation for the AALPD
Professional Development standards

5. Support for a free national library of
authentic adult education classroom and tutoring videos that can be used for
online professional development

David J. Rosen

DJRosen at theworld.com

Subject: [PD
4388] Online learning and PD
From: Debra Hargrove
Date: Tue Jan 12 10:04:31 EST 2010


I agree with you that online PD is an
emerging delivery system, and have to say that we currently offer over 30
online courses for PD credit in Florida. What's missing from our menu though,
is money to reevaluate what we currently have, to update the resources to meet
the current needs of our teachers and administrators. To give them the tools to
keep up with what their students are using.

Technology is exploding exponentially and
what was once an online course that you completed on your computer must now be
revamped to include alternate sources of technology, such as Cell phones,
PDA's, Netbooks, Ipods, Flip Cameras, etc. It's not good enough, in my humble
opinion, to create an online course that has links to stuff outside the course,
or online quizzes to complete. We need to really step up and create dynamic
online PD that mirrors what our students and colleagues are experiencing and
learning with every day. I hoping that OVAE will consider these needs and
assist all states in developing these types of online PD.


Debra L. Hargrove, Ed. D.

Director, Florida TechNet

Indian River State College

AALPD Webmaster

Lithia, Fl

Subject: [PD
4390] Re: Online learning and PD
From: Fantine, Jeff
Date: Tue Jan 12 11:02:37 EST 2010


The only point I would add (or stress as I
think you captured it kinda in the end of your post) that online PD
opportunities be a coordinated effort at the national level - at least in my
opinion. It doesn't make any sense, particularly with our limited resources in
adult education, that each state around the country is spending money
developing the same kinds of online PD. We would certainly get higher quality,
more diverse and "deeper-level" offerings, and more bang for our buck
if we coordinated this nationally. It seems with everyone developing the same
kinds of things, we have a lot of basic or entry level online PD offerings, but
few in-depth and ongoing - leveraged resources nationwide might help move adult
education PD to a higher level.

Jeffrey A. Fantine

State Director of Adult Education

Maine Department of Education

Augusta, ME

Subject: [PD
4389] Re: PD Questions
From: Federico Salas-Isnardi
Date: Tue Jan 12 10:30:35 EST 2010

Dr. Dann-Messier:

Thank you for taking the time –and the
initiative—to listen to practitioners. I am an adult literacy specialist in Texas and a member of the board of AALPD. In 21 years in the field of adult education
professional development, I have not seen invitations like yours before. It is
encouraging for the field of adult education and literacy in general and for
professional developers in particular to engage in this discussion; hopefully
together we can develop a great program. I will address two of your questions
that are closely related in my view:

What are the successful
ingredients needed to help teachers and programs prepare learners for college
and / or work?

Whatever objectives an educational program
has, one of the key ingredients of success are well trained
teachers/instructors. If adult education and literacy programs are to make a
real difference in the lives of students and impact the American economy, we
need teachers up to date on instructional technologies, able to broaden their
paradigms to include new literacies and skills for the 21st century. Teachers
need intensive, sustained professional development that not only presents
teachers with new materials and information but also affords them the
opportunity to discuss among peers, implement with support, practice, and
receive feedback. For this type of PD to be successful, it needs to be systemic
with all components of the adult education system engaged in the development of
a great quality adult education workforce.

Hal Beder speaks of the commitment of Adult
Education professionals “to achieving a new standard” but it is important that
the commitment be a “two-way street.” Educators need to see their professional
goals validated, and their commitment rewarded with some level of long-term
employment security including full-time employment options with benefits.
Professionals get burned quickly if their commitment is not met by a commitment
of their institutions

What do you see as some of the
greatest challenges? What are some innovative solutions to those challenges?

Over the years I had the opportunity to
direct a state-wide adult education professional development center in Texas, and later the privilege of helping design and implement the PD system for the state.
One problem that we faced again and again, is that many teachers willing to
engage in sustained professional development and perhaps pursue an adult
education credential (intensive, sustained, peer evaluated professional
development) are discouraged because of the lack of incentives. Programs don’t
have the resources –and the system does not help—to offer long term incentives
for teachers pursuing higher level of professionalization.

That’s why I support my friend Jeff Fantine’s
suggestion that there needs to be a national entity focused on professional
development that may be part of the national research center to be funded by
OVAE. Such an entity at the national level should not only focus on research,
but also take a systemic look at practical research applications on
professional development. An entity focused on professional development could
encourage the development of innovative PD options by the states. WIA should
contemplate the possibility of offering incentives to the states that successfully
encourage teachers and administrators to complete credentials and certificates
and engage in sustained and intensive 21st century PD.


Federico Salas-Isnardi

Adult Literacy Specialist, Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and

Secretary, Executive Board, Association of Adult Literacy Professional

Adult Education Consultant, Houston, Texas

Subject: [PD
4391] Re: PD Questions
From: Connie Spencer-Ackerman
Date: Tue Jan 12 11:42:14 EST 2010

Community Conversations: Adult Literacy
Professional Development

   What are the successful ingredients needed to help teachers and
programs prepare learners for college and/or work?

   What do you see as some of the greatest challenges? What are some
innovative solutions to those challenges?

   What is needed in the next five years to improve professional

I would say that one of our primary
challenges is a lack of information, often meaning access to research findings,
that would answer questions about “successful ingredients” and “innovative
solutions.” First we lost the ERIC Clearinghouse, which was a source of such
information. Then we lost NCSALL. I remember the announcement over seven years
ago about research awards to study adult literacy, but, although I have searched
for the information, I have no way of knowing the status of those projects or
findings. Put very simply, we do not know what we should be doing if we are to
be effective in preparing teachers to prepare learners because we do not yet
know the content to convey through PD.

A challenge in my state is the historical
reliance on part-time instructors who are constrained to work within county
boundaries. I have no way of knowing the answer, but I have wondered for over
thirty years what would happen if we supported full-time teachers and program
administrators who would work across county lines to provide services. I have
wondered what would happen if we supported one full-time instructor who could
travel across county lines rather than three part-time instructors with a
limited service region. As I said, I do not have answers, but I do wonder.

We have been working now for at least four
years in my state to improve professional development by narrowing and
deepening our professional development efforts. Next year, we expect to focus
on instructional strategies (Marzano’s work), reading and writing instruction,
and math instruction by offering initial face-to-face session preceded by
advance assignments to get the brain ready to learn and followed by online
work, Web conferencing, some form of support for learning communities, etc.

One challenge is to do so in a way that
appears to the field to be systematic and responsive to their needs while also
responding to needs identified by our state office. Another is to avoid the
trap of always thinking that there is pedagogy and there is andragogy and never
the twain shall meet. And we do not yet have a way to ascertain the skills and
prior knowledge that our instructors bring to their positions. Until we do, we may
be guilty of imposing a one-size-fits-all set of instructional content and
professional development activities.

Connie Spencer-Ackerman

Subject: [PD
4392] Re: Day 2: PD Questions
From: Bell, Kit
Date: Tue Jan 12 11:59:32 EST 2010

In responding to the third question - what we
need in the next 5 years - I would like to see a focus on the support of
research that studies the link between professional development and student
outcomes. When lobbying for $ for professional development, this research can make
the difference.

Kit Bell

Supervisor - ABE, ESL/CBET and Citizenship

Division of Adult and Career Education

Los Angeles Unified School District

Subject: [PD
4393] Re: Online learning and PD
From: Debra Hargrove
Date: Tue Jan 12 13:58:36 EST 2010

Absolutely Jeff! I think an entity at the
national level is vital to a successful implementation of technology for our
teachers and administrators. I am a big advocate of sharing resources. I also
think that a national initiative could take the time to design PD using the
adopted AALPD PD Standards and would allow all of our colleagues access to the
same quality professional development.


Debra L. Hargrove, Ed. D.

Director, Florida TechNet

Indian River State College

AALPD webmaster


Subject: [PD
4394] Professional Development thoughts
From: Alice Champagne
Date: Tue Jan 12 14:46:02 EST 2010


In response to the question posed re:
professional development, I would like to focus on what I consider to be
"innovative" in these tough economic times. A little over a year ago,
several states sent teams of professional adult educators and state department
staff to the TIAN (Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy) State Leader
Facilitator training in Cambridge, Mass. The end result was that each state
developed a "plan of action" to provide professional development in
the area of numeracy instruction to adult educators.

In my state of Louisiana, the 2 facilitators
offer state-approved professional development free of charge to their colleagues.
What has worked beautifully is that one facilitator lives and works in the
northern region of the state while the other (myself) lives in the New Orleans
metro area. This allows Louisiana to offer professional development to regional
audiences, thereby saving on travel expenses. I have already trained numerous
groups of adult educators at our annual state conference and have a scheduled
regional training at the end of this month. Participants receive CEU's for
attending these state-sponsored professional development opportunities.

Support from our state director and staff has
been tremendous; however, the biggest challenge is in monetary support for even
these regional PD offerings. Participants must be given travel allowances and
pay for attending training. This has not always been the case in the past,
however, due to budget constraints.

The renewal of WIA should include continued
federal support in the form of OVAE-sponsored projects such as TIAN and SIA
(Standards in Action) projects. Training opportunities such as these are, in my
opinion, the only way to "professionalize" our delivery of services
to this population so much in need of preparation for college and work.

I look forward to networking on this question
and others throughout the next few weeks.


Alice L. Champagne, M.Ed.

Adult Education Instructor/Site Manager, Boutte Adult Learning Center

St. Charles Parish Public Schools; Luling, LA

Subject: [PD
4397] professional development
From: Fischer, Valerie J.
Date: Wed Jan 13 13:24:57 EST 2010

Professional Development

         What are the successful ingredients needed to help teachers and
programs prepare learners for college and / or work?

         What do you see as some of the greatest challenges? What are some
innovative solutions to those challenges?

         What is needed in the next 5 years to improve professional

Teachers know content areas - reading, math,
etc. They do not always know about careers and job demands. Additional WIA
funding would allow sites to have access to or hire career counselors or
develop programs that are collaborative with partners to inform students about
various careers, career planning, occupational trends, soft skills, etc. This
is not a demand we can continue to put upon teachers beyond basic information
and awareness. Let teachers teach. Professional development must meet the needs
of the student population we serve as well as the growing curricular
opportunities available. Teachers generally know what their skill sets are and
are not - annual and comprehensive assessments must be part of the state plan
and concentrated PD time (not just events) must be supported for growth. This
inevitably means more funding ...

Valerie Fischer

Director of Adult Education

ND Department of Public Instruction

Bismarck, ND

Subject: [PD
4398] 1)What are the successful ingredients needed to help teachers and
programs prepare learners for college and/or work?
From: Dominick Gagliardi
Date: Wed Jan 13 15:23:04 EST 2010

1)What are the successful
ingredients needed to help teachers and programs prepare learners for college
and/or work?

Minimum teaching standards and credentialing
requirements are needed to ensure there are high quality professionals in the
classroom. In conjunction with this, would be targeted funding for teacher
mentor processes so that both the mentor and new instructor could be
compensated to participate in such strategies.

2) What do you see as some of the
greatest challenges? What are some innovative solutions to those challenges?

Funding is always a challenge when attempting
to provide quality professional development. In Escondido Adult School, we have made every effort to compensate individuals for their participation in
professional development—that is becoming increasingly difficult and next to
impossible with the current budget situation. The use of technology and on-line
tools can certainly be innovative and cost-efficient, one cannot escape the
fact that most professional development when it comes to improving effective
teaching techniques and strategies is best accomplished face-to-face, and that
requires sufficient levels of funding.

3) What is needed in the next
five years to improve professional development?

With the renewed focus on combining literacy
training and career technical training, there is a need for increased
professional development in how to establish programs such as this that can be
successful and also increased professional development of teachers to work in
such programs (i.e. VESL). Teachers will require training in the development of
integrated curricula and collaboration models where teachers from different
disciplines can work together.

More targeted funding is also needed to train
teachers to work with students with learning disabilities and to assist adult
students with the transition to other post-secondary or career training


Subject: [PD
4399] PD questons
From: Allison Pickering
Date: Wed Jan 13 15:57:18 EST 2010

Dear national devotees of adult education,

So much of what has been shared is right on. Increased funding, new methodology
videos, online PD, national system, qualified teachers and management, more
research on how adults learn and how to teach adults—all good. Adult education
has always been the ugly step child of the educational system, even more so
now. After all, you can’t eliminate the 7th grade.

However, currently, because of low pay, few
potential instructors are willing to invest in college level courses in adult

education. As mentioned in previous posts in spite of being critical to the
health of our society, the hours are few, the pay is low. The California
Commission on Teacher Credentialing is considering making requirements for an
adult education credential even more rigorous. Such a move will make it even
more difficult for adult education programs to hire quality teachers. There
should be some way to standardize or qualify regional workshops. Gretchen
Bitterlin of San Diego Community College District Continuing Education and I of
Escondido Adult School (under the auspices of the high school district) have
implemented a regional PD program for ESL teachers. We provide a series of free
ESL techniques workshops based on the old ESL Institute videos and updated with
recent research. We offer about one a month in two locations*central San Diego County and North San Diego County. We invite teachers from all over. While we have
enough participants to warrant the workshops and our time, we would have more
if we were able to pay the teachers to attend. Although argument can be made that
PD should be the teachers’ responsibility, the reality is that since they are
part-time and underpaid, few are willing to donate even more time. The
workshops provide instruction and practice in critical ESL techniques.

A missing piece I have not yet seen mentioned
in the posts is follow up to professional development. There needs to be
structured post-workshop or class follow up whether the workshops are
face-to-face or distance learning. Peer mentoring, or supervisor observation,
or both should be a part of the structure to help teachers process and
implement the information gleaned from the PD experience. Also, funded
internships in adult education would encourage professionalization of the

Additionally, we must never stop working to
raise awareness about the importance of adult education to our communities and
society at large.

Regards to all,

Allison Pickering

Assistant Principal

Escondido Adult School

Subject: [PD
4400] Answers to WIA questions
From: Gretchen Bitterlin
Date: Wed Jan 13 17:25:58 EST 2010

Here are my perspectives on some of the

What are the successful
ingredients needed to help teachers and programs
learners for college and/or work?

One of the critical barriers preventing
learners from succeeding in college or transitioning to college is low level
writing skills. Since most teachers in adult education programs are hourly
employees, they don't invest the necessary time to teach and grade their
students' writing. If more teachers had contracts, they would make a greater
commitment to developing the necessary curriculum to provide more rigorous
instruction to their students and spend more non-classroom time grading their
students' papers.

Paid professional development opportunities
to learn about the teaching of basic skills and writing are essential to
preparing teachers to prepare their students for college and/or work.

Another critical ingredient in professional
development is required follow-up so that teachers try out new strategies and
receive feedback on their application of new strategies. Several years ago in
the 1990s, California had one of the most successful teacher training programs
ever developed - The ESL Teacher Institute. Funding paid for the following

  • Development
    of state of the art teacher training videos on practical techniques
  • Training
    of regional trainers, which included annual retreats to fine tune training
  • A
    series of Mentoring modules and videos outlining strategies for one to one
    mentoring for the application of new skills gained in the basic training
    workshops. Mentors and Mentees should be paid for these activities.

I also believe that the most successful
training that results in change is face to face training. While some parts of
training can and should be online, real change is more likely to come about
through face to face training and practice inside classrooms with peer

What are some of the greatest
challenges? What are some innovative solutions
to the

One of the biggest challenges is lack of
funding to support professional development. Another one is getting people to
apply what they have learned. An innovative successful model in California is the TIMAC project, which focused on technology training of instructors. Modeled
after the "Each one, teach one" model, the project trained a core of
trainers on various technology innovations. Then these trainers chose 1-2
mentees in their districts to work with over a period of several months. Then
these mentees applied what they learned and did projects with their mentors to
demonstrate their new skills. The project ended with presentations by all
mentors and mentees to administrators statewide.

Since the future emphasis in adult education
will be preparing learners for work and college, special training is needed in
VESL and new instructional models, such as the I-Best model. If WIA could fund
professional development activities targeted to these new instructional needs,
teachers will be more prepared to meet these new needs. Since so many learners
are held back because of learning disabilities, special training is also needed
in this area.

Finally, adult ESL teachers are an aging
group, so there is a great need to recruit young people with the proper
training and also provide hands-on internships in actual adult education
programs so that they learn practical techniques. It would be great if there
were incentives for programs to collaborate with their local universities to
recruit these young teachers..

Gretchen Bitterlin

ESL Program Chair

ESL Resource Office

Mid City Campus

San Diego, CA

Subject: [PD
4403] The Challenges.....
From: Sonia Socha
Date: Wed Jan 13 20:13:42 EST 2010

I have appreciated the opportunity to read
what my colleagues from across the country have to say on this important
discussion topic. Most of us would probably like to like to dialogue with each
other more often but generally have no time because we are doing so much with
so little (and are so dedicated to doing it).

The challenges:

in adult education from federal, state & local budgets to pay for all the
needs mentioned so far (curriculum development, research center, teacher
training & evaluation, best practices, instructional technology &
integration, career counselors, etc) and to ensure the development of a
professionalized field that will be able to effectively prepare our growing
epidemic of high school drop outs and those adults in need of English language
skills for the workforce. More money to create FT positions with bens, more
money to pay teachers, both full and part time so that they can actually plan
to have a living wage career in adult education, more money for training and
certification of staff, more money for the creation of bachelor and master
programs that can be developed and sustained and available for teachers who
wish to be specialists in this field.

2. LEADERSHIP - that will produce a message of importance for adult education services in this
country-and one that will translate into public policy initiatives. How many
states have a solid funding commitment that compliments federal dollars and
that does not get cut to the bone when state budgets are hurting? K - 12 and
higher education suffer cuts in tough times-but they are not treated like
"stepchildren". Another example, how many states are investing the
same amount of money as what the feds are giving to the state for adult
education? Requiring a greater and more direct state dollar investment that
goes well beyond what is in the policy now) would certainly help with some of
the lack of money available that is needed to fund professional development.
Ask for commitment from all Governors and State Superintendents to make adult
education & literacy a priority on their education policy and budgeting
agendas as part of receiving federal funding from OVAE. In turn the state
should exercise leadership in leveraging local funding.

- the GED program is not the only effective option-and, workforce training and
transitioning to post secondary will be well served if EDP becomes a funding
priority from the top. Our SBLC graduates doubled when both options were
provided: GED and EDP for attaining a high school diploma. EDP is more
expensive-but worth the investment.

4. LEVERAGE PRIVATE DOLLARS from national foundations to help fund professional development, new or best
practice models of service delivery and a position paper that shows why there
is such a great need for an increased investment of funding to build a more
professionalized field-and why this is so needed in today's world of the
educational divide.

it works! We have one!

Sonia Socha, Executive Director

South Baltimore Learning Center

Subject: [PD
4404] Re: The Challenges.....
From: Steve Kaufmann
Date: Wed Jan 13 21:56:46 EST 2010

I think it is a fair assumption that less
money, and not more money, will be available for adult education, literacy, ESL
and other education projects, regardless of how worthy they may be. This is
simply a reflection of the economy, the deficit, the existing commitment to
increased health care spending, demographics and other factors.

Therefore, in looking at challenges and
opportunities, I believe it is best to look at how more can be achieved with
less money. How can we effectively use new technology, and the opportunities
that it provides for connecting with learners, and connecting learners with
each other, to unleash the potential of each learner's own desire to explore
and learn independently of the classroom?

Steve Kaufmann

Subject: [PD
4407] Re: The Challenges.....
From: Ellison, Art
Date: Thu Jan 14 10:01:49 EST 2010

I agree with Steve's comments below related
to the use of technology in our work but I do not think that it is a fair
assumption that there will be less money for adult education in the near

The FY10 federal adult education
appropriation which states will receive this July contains a $74 million dollar
increase, most of it in the state grants line item. The Obama Administration is
scheduled to send its FY11 budget proposal to Congress on February 1, only
eighteen days from today. We are hoping and have been working for an increase
in this budget proposal that is significantly above last year's increase.
Whatever figure is in this budget proposal the adult education field will work
closely with members of Congress and their staffs to either support a large
increase or to add the funds during the Congressional appropriation process.

We are at a point in the nationwide advocacy
efforts for adult education where the adult education communities across the
country can influence not only legislation like WIA but also the funds that are
committed to our work.

Art Ellison, Policy Committee Chair, National
Council of State Directors of Adult Education

Subject: [PD
4406] My Answers [PD 4406] My Answers
From: Ellen Lindsey
Date: Wed Jan 13 23:01:14 EST 2010

Thanks for the opportunity to give input.

are the successful ingredients needed to help teachers and programs prepare
learners for college and / or work?

Our adult vocational training programs (in
cabinetmaking and shipping & receiving) prepare students for work at high
rates - 85%of graduates placed in jobs, 90% retaining their jobs once hired.

Teachers' or other staff's development of
authentic relationships with local companies that have work opportunities would
be the key ingredient. This requires: business-like communications, conforming
to industry standards, employer input to the content of training, personal
frequent communication with and visitation of specific companies, and diligent
matching of candidates with jobs and follow up post-placement. We cover the
"soft skills" for employment in our trainings, and they are needed,
however, we find that teaching specific, technical skills for which there is a
need in industry tips the balance for companies to be interested in our
graduates. Furthermore, for the ex-offender or other highly-barriered graduate,
the technical skills make the difference in order to be given a chance by
companies. Teachers need PD in resume writing and job search technique as well
as job development skills.

NOTE: If s/he who teaches the skills has
responsibility for job placement, it can have a beneficial effect on results.

do you see as some of the greatest challenges? What are some innovative
solutions to those challenges?

Relapse into drug or alcohol abuse is one of
the most frustrating challenges. New homelessness has recently been a huge
heart-breaker. Now we rely on referrals to partner organizations in these
situations, sometimes with good results, but more resources and innovation is

is needed in the next 5 years to improve professional development?

Training for wearing the many hats needed:
teacher, industry liaison, learning disability diagnostician and technician,
guidance counselor for recommending to adults an appropriate starting point.


Ellen Lindsey

Subject: [PD
4405] Day 4: PD Questions—Testimonies and Details
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Thu Jan 14 09:47:08 EST 2010

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your contributions; Keep the
testimonies coming!

I'm hearing a lot about the need for high
quality professional development that must happen in tandem with supporting the
conditions practitioners need to access and benefit from that PD. These
conditions include (but may not be limited to) access to FT employment, paid
professional development release time from class, and class coverage from a
substitute. They also include the conditions practitioners need to benefit from
high quality PD, including sharing time with colleagues, mentoring, coaching,
administrators trained to support them in integrating what they learned into
practice. Last, I'm hearing that these conditions include professionalizing the
field through licensing, credentialing, and opportunities for higher education
courses and degrees, and the support needed to pursue them.

Resources: You've said that we need to
leverage resources to create innovations in distance PD, such as the video
library of instructional practices, deeper level online PD coordinated
nationally, evaluating and upgrading existing online PD to mirror real life
technologies, so that states don't keep recreating the online course wheel. I'm
hearing about the funding needs to improve the professional quality of the

I'm not hearing so much about the details on
successful strategies for providing high quality PD, developing a FT workforce,
providing paid PD, and the program structures needed to help skilled and
talented professionals stay in adult education.

Please say more about the strategies (and
related ones) above with which you may have found success. HOW do they work?

To review all testimonies posted to date,
I've compiled them here:


My appreciation for your dedication grows
with each testimony I hear. I look forward to hearing more.




Jackie Taylor

PD List Facilitator

Subject: [PD
4408] Re: Day 4: PD Questions -- Testimonies and Details
From: Janet Isserlis
Date: Thu Jan 14 10:08:53 EST 2010

Jackie and all

Continued thanks for wrangling us, and this
process, and apologies if I'm re-stating things that have been said. (although
maybe, in this instance, re-stating isn't a bad thing).

In response to your invitation:

>I¹m not hearing so much about the details on successful strategies for
providing high quality PD, developing a FT workforce, providing paid PD, and
the program structures needed to help skilled and talented professionals stay
in adult education.

- Integrate / embed professional learning
into employment in every way possible ‹ e.g. staff meetings always include time
not only for logistics and business but also for content: sharing, learning,
materials development ­ practitioners can share things that are working,
challenges, anecdotes, strategies -- but this must happen with completely
regularity in order for communities of practice to thrive in workplaces.

- Ensure that programs have liaisons to PD
centers and/or their own PD providers on staff so that there's a regular chain
of communication between practitioners and PD support workers. NOT monitors ­
not compliance officers, but colleagues who can respond to questions, guide
action research, act as resources, etc. As part of this, somewhere, is the need
to acknowledge and work with practitioners' abilities ­ to see that X person
can be really helpful with this issue, and Y has knowledge of something else ‹
so that it's not only PD workers who help but that cultures of building
capacity thrive in workplaces and people develop their strengths while also
addressing areas of weakness.

- FT advocacy has been discussed elsewhere
and I've no new thinking about this at the moment.

VALUE learners, value the practitioners who
work with them. Do advocacy that transcends the cart and pony show/that
transcends the 'success' story but really conveys the realities of working /
living in 2010 with literacy challenges but with other strengths and

Respect the learners and respect the
practitioners ­ and ensure that any statements or actions reflect that respect
and do not patronize learners, bash teachers or otherwise disrespect those
people working for and with adult learning processes.

Janet Isserlis

Subject: [PD
4410] PD Questions
From: Combs, Kay
Date: Thu Jan 14 11:09:57 EST 2010

This is in response to the following:

I'm not hearing so much
about the details on successful strategies for providing high quality PD,
developing a FT workforce, providing paid PD, and the program structures needed
to help skilled and talented professionals stay in adult education.

Please say more about the
strategies (and related ones) above with which you may have found success. HOW
do they work?

Providing High Quality PD - The State of Kentucky has revised their PD to include job-embedded follow-up
from specific PD. In addition, because adult practitioners may want to continue
their education, KYAE has set aside money for tuition reimbursement for college
classes in addition to the PD offerings. This is one of the best opportunities
our adult educators in Kentucky have had in order to progress and continue
obtaining skills at the post-graduate level or to become a specialist in
specific areas. I assume each state who administers their federal funding could
possibly do the same to increase the skill level of their adult educators. In
addition, I believe this allows our instructors to continue to increase their
academic skills in the areas THEY choose as long as it pertains to adult

Creating and developing a FT
workforce -
Because of funding, I think this will be difficult to increase
full-time adult education workforce. K-12 teachers don't take a teaching position
as part-time teachers. They all seek and are offered full-time positions and
the money is there to pay them. We do need to understand that full-time adult
education instructors deserve the same. Possibly if state adult education folks
require "full-time" instructors at the local level through the grant
process, this could be done. With the cost of benefits and pay, full-time
instructors are at a minimum. We can hire two instructional aides part-time at
the cost of one part-time instructor and be able to meet the needs of more
students. It is using the monies wisely to be able to serve our adult
population. I will say, at this time, because of the economy, we are able to
hire more experienced and educated instructors at less money and part-time.

Providing Paid PD - There is something to be said about utilizing your staff meetings at the
highest level possible. We developed instructor meetings and study circles at
our local program level three years ago which are held every other week.
Because of this type of PD, we were able to increase our GED obtainment rate by
153% the first year. These sessions are basically work sessions in order to
develop a better program through curriculum and PD. This has been highly
successful is backed by research. However, this can only be made possible when
you have directors of adult education programs supportive of any new and
innovative idea. We are lucky in that respect. In addition, as a program coordinator
who has been an instructor and continues to be an instructor, my position
allows me to "coordinate" this activity. This is something that is
crucial to the success of any PD at the local level. Programs need to possibly
consider a highly-skilled instructor to take on program coordination for PD as
part of their job. Not only do I administer the instructor meetings, I assist
staff when they are taking on-line PD or cover from them when they have to be
out of the office participating in local PD offerings. In addition, I
coordinate and also I am the main contact for our students in orientation and
intake. This allows our instructors to be "instructors, coaches and
counselors" in the classroom.

Last, I encourage whomever to
think about a credentialing process.
Many people are opposed
to this, but one of significant problems in our society is our nation does not
respect this profession of adult education as "a profession".
Rightfully so. As adult educators, we do often work with our local high schools
and I can tell you they don't have a clue as to what it takes for us to "educate"
the students they were not able to educate. We have a profession, adult
education. We all need to take the responsibility as adult educators to bring
quality and respect to our profession through PD and increased academic skills
to better assist our students.

Kay Combs, M.A.Ed.

Program Coordinator - GED/ESL

Center for Lifelong Learning

Georgetown, KY

Subject: [PD
4411] Re: Day 4: PD Questions -- Testimonies and Details
From: Martha Rankin
Date: Thu Jan 14 11:57:24 EST 2010

Innovative use of technology can help cut PD

At NMUSD Adult School we use the free
wordpress.com for our electronic learning community. http://adultedmatters.wordpress.com/ I started this blog a couple of years ago (with no blog experience at all), to
support our staff of 40 in collaborative professional development.

To date, our e-PLC blog has 334 posts, 644
comments (mostly from our staff of 40...but also from across the state and
country), and more than 113,000 views. These powerful online collaboration
tools (blogs, wikis...) are FREE! :-) They are SO valuable!!!!


Pure life,


We share to impart, impact,
improve and empower!

Martha Rankin

Lead Administrator

NMUSD Adult School

Our blog / e-PLC: http://adultedmatters.wordpress.com/

Our website: http://adulted.nmusd.us/

Costa Mesa, CA

Subject: [PD
4413] Re: PD Questions
From: Donna Pierce
Date: Thu Jan 14 16:01:22 EST 2010


Thank you so much for your comments and I
can't say loudly enough that you are right on track. I teach adult education in
Georgia and we have a full time teacher in most counties to lead instruction,
but still the pay is below par and there is no respect for the profession. I
have been offered a "real" teaching job in public school, and have
been asked if there are any "real teachers" at our adult education
center. There needs to be a recognized process for credentialing adult
educators and an understanding among public school counselors and teachers that
we do, indeed, strive to educate the young people they failed to bring to

I was also pleased to see that Kentucky has a reimbursement program for graduate level studies. I am currently about three
fourths of the way through my Master's program, but our technical school has no
such program. The adult education classes attached to a university seem to have
this in their package, but we just don't and I know that more adult educators
would attain advanced degrees if some form of reimbursement-even partial-were
available. Again, you said very well what I have had in mind as I have read
these posts. Thank you.

Donna Pierce

Adult Education Instructor

Ringgold, GA

Subject: [PD 4414]
from Martha Jean: WIA - A teacher's perspective
From: Martha Jean
Date: Fri Jan 15 08:51:13 EST 2010

I've been an adult education teacher for 20
years. I go to every training I can because I don't want this "brave
chance to try again" to be another failure for my students. I was in the
seven year, Young Adults with Learning Disabilities Project. I was trained in Wilson and Lindamood-Bell and use those methods to teach the basics of reading. I am a
realist. Not everyone is meant to go to college. I try to help learners know
their strengths and interest so they can make good career path choices. I use
learning styles and MI to engage learners. I require at home reading and do
reading groups. My students use Power Point to produce Root Word Picture Dictionaries.
Students use manipulatives in Math. They read poetry and write essays. Unlike
many other programs I have classes four days a week! (9 hours)

Those are some good things about my teaching
experiences. But, I'm not the usual adult education teacher who stays a few
years, gets a little training, gets better and better, and then leaves because
financially this is not a viable occupation. I live frugally to do the teaching
I love. I've worked 40 hours a week in less than half those 20 years. I've had
second and third part time work.

Adult education should have full time, well
paid teachers to keep that experience in programs. Our students, who did not
succeed in public school, have multiple needs that require teachers with depth.
What's the point of professional development for adult education if it walks
out the door every 2 or 3 years? Lucky public schools, getting our trained

The benefits are huge. There will be teachers
who are able to give appropriate assessments, provide research based teaching,
individualize lessons, do referrals, provide career guidance, and attend
regular PD events.

How? Use experienced teachers as mentors.
They share their knowledge and get fulltime positions. Increase class time,
childcare, transportation and counseling supports. More student success and
more work time!

Thank you,

Martha Jean

GED Counselor

ABE Teacher

Community Action Inc

Haverhill, MA

Subject: [PD
4416] Re: PD Questions
From: Donna Chambers
Date: Fri Jan 15 08:55:16 EST 2010

Brenda and All,

I appreciate this opportunity to share my
thoughts at this critical juncture for Adult Education. I coordinate the Rhode
Island National External Diploma Program and have spent many years in adult
education, specifically working with competency-based instruction/assessment.
What I have read and heard lately on education reform in the US refocuses our attention on the learning, rather than on the teaching. Current research
focuses on metacognition (how people learn) and how we assess for learning and
understanding. Why is this theme not central to all Adult Education
Professional Development? If some practices are not working in AE programs as
well as we think they should, how can we creatively think about and implement
ways to do things differently? How can we perform better? To me this is what
Professional Development is about and no matter how much time and money is
invested in professional development, it needs to be planned in a way that is
thoughtful, consistent, and centered around how to get the learners to learn.
Practicing appropriate learning methodology must become institutionalized in
Adult Education, with time to refine and practice learning strategies.

Literature on current and proven learning
theories abound. For example, learning outcomes are positively affected by the
ongoing practice of using formative assessment. This to me is the core of
effectively working with our students so they can advance academically. It is
important that learners actively engage in the learning process. Teachers at all
levels need to facilitate opportunities for the students to be aware of what
they don’t know and help them determine which learning action needs to happen
in order to fill in the gaps to know what needs to or wants to be learned. Yet,
how many adult education teachers incorporate this process into their
instructional practice by engaging the learner in the whole process?

This may seem elementary; however, formative
assessment to improve instruction is quite different from traditional teaching.
Teachers need ongoing professional development and coaching to develop good
teaching methods, to assure that active learning is taking place, to build a
foundation for proficiency, and to know when the learner is ready to move the
next level. The learner must learn how to learn using multiple tools. Less
emphasis should be placed on passing a test within a certain time period, and
more emphasis placed on what skills and competencies are learned in a
cumulative way.

Adult educators need to know at every level
where the learning is leading. We need to be sure time spent with the learner
facilitates active learning outside of the classroom so that goals can be met
as efficiently as possible. Professional opportunities and a willingness to try
new strategies will benefit everyone. However, professional development alone
will not solve the problem. Professional Development needs to be thoughtful and
consistent, coupled with lots and lots of communication among our peers. This
will stimulate new ideas and practices, and as with all change, we need
opportunity to learn and practice. The world is changing for adult learners,
and for adult education teachers and administrators as well.

Donna Chambers

Rhode Island National External Diploma Program Coordinator

Subject: [PD
4417] Re: PD Questions
From: Smith, Karen
Date: Fri Jan 15 09:36:28 EST 2010

Brenda and all,

I also appreciate the chance to discuss this
crucial topic.

1. What are the successful
ingredients needed to help teachers and programs prepare learners for college
and / or work?

  • Paid
    transition advisors who come from an adult education background
  • Job-embedded
    Professional Development that focuses on college and work transition
  • Student
    intake and orientation on a college campus to break down mental barriers about
    going to college
  • Student
    orientation that addresses trends in the job market, including pay scales
    and job availability in that specific area

2. What do you see as some of the
greatest challenges? What are some innovative solutions to those challenges?

  • The
    obvious greatest challenge is lack of resources


  • "Glue"
    funds to support adult education program/community college/business
  • Workplace
    Education programs (adult education classes on work place sites)
  • Resources
    for transition advisors in every adult education program
  • Child
    care stipends or centers for adult learners' children

3. What is needed in the next 5
years to improve professional development?

  • Resources
    to support job-embedded Professional Development
  • Resources
    for continued Adult Education participation in Professional Development Leadership Academy experiences
  • Continued
    adjustment of PDLA to reflect Adult Education realities
  • Continued
    conferences like "Meeting of the Minds" (December 2007, Sacramento) where researchers and practitioners are brought together

Thank you,

Karen Smith

Family Literacy Program Manager

Pima College Adult Education

Subject: [PD
4418] Re: PD Questions
From: Susie Cason
Date: Fri Jan 15 09:52:33 EST 2010

Bravo!!! I agree whole heartedly. I think
that Adult Ed. teachers are "the real teachers"!

Susie Cason

Subject: [PD
4419] Re: from Martha Jean: WIA - A teacher's perspective
From: MaryAnn Florez
Date: Fri Jan 15 11:45:05 EST 2010

Thank you, Martha Jean. The voice that I
heard here is the voice of many of the incredible people that I've worked with
and met in adult education and adult ESL in the last 15+ years: thoughtful,
committed, realistic, reflective, passionate. This is another reason that
people who come to adult education stay in adult education. The strengths and
talents of colleagues is almost as strong a pull as the opportunities to
support the learners.

I think that's another reason that providing
adequate resources for PD and for growth in general for staff is so important.
Sure, there's the very, very practical realities that without livable pay,
access to benefits, reasonable expectations of job stability, and some sort of
viable career path (and access to the means to advance in that career path), we
cannot retain the talented people we have and solidify a base of consistency
and experience necessary to truly advance the field and the services we
provide. We also can't attract new talent to the field, to replenish the ranks
as those in the later stages of their leadership and careers move on. But it's
almost unconscionable to me that as a field dedicated to promoting lifelong
learning and providing access to it, we have yet to adequately address the
learning and growth needs of our own teachers, administrators and staffs. If we
truly believe in the mission and values of our field, and we want to walk the
talk and model the behaviors, we have to apply them to ourselves as well.

There have been so many legitimate needs and
challenges mentioned in this past week's discussions that it's a bit daunting.
Thank goodness some people have balanced that with examples of wonderful ideas
and approaches to meeting those needs and challenges. The professional
development challenge is just one of many in our field and it has to be put in
the mix with all the others that need more resources, resources, resources. I
applaud those who have made the point that it not only deserves a spot at the
table but that it is integral to addressing many of the other challenges and
needs that we face.

MaryAnn Florez

Director, Adult Education Professional Development Center

Project Coordinator, Literacy*Americorps


Washington, DC

Subject: [PD
4420] PD
From: Susie Cason
Date: Fri Jan 15 11:59:52 EST 2010

Thank you Mr. Ellison,

For bringing out something positive in what
has seemed somewhat gloomy. I think those of us who have been in Adult
Education & Literacy for a number of years have heard the same mantra over
and over again about doing more with less money and resources and have
therefore just about exhausted a good many of our "creative efforts"
in working with less funds.

I think we should each work to educate
policymakers (federal and state) on our successes, needs, and hopes for adult
education during these tough economic times. Then formulate all these ideas we
have been discussing into concrete initiatives that will improve how AEL
services are delivered.

Sorry this response is a little late, but I
hope it can be included.

Susie Cason

Adult Education & Literacy Director

Subject: [PD
4421] The role of technology in adult ed PD
From: Silver-Pacuilla, Heidi
Date: Fri Jan 15 14:07:30 EST 2010

Hello all, I'm responding today as a
researcher at AIR, deeply interested in the role of technology to support
learning for struggling students, and have learned a lot about the challenges
to PD and creative solutions you suggest. As a crossover post from the tech
listserv, one of my concerns is, among all the others, is how to help adult
educators use technology for their own PD, productivity, and teaching.

Enhancing technology capacity in adult
education should be seen not only as another learning station for the students,
but a channel for PD for the teachers, as well. Many ideas have been shared
about how this is happening, but we could make it more explicit. There are
many, many free or low cost trainings and webinars available to help teachers
learn new techniques and research findings; there are online communities for
formal and informal learning and sharing; and higher education opportunities
which can serve the field well if a credentialing requirement is enacted.

Working with technology as a productivity
tool should be required of all of us, and we can always learn more as new tools
become available. This is also a good modeling for our students who are workers
and will-be workers. Every sector is continually upskilling for the digital
age. Adult ed teachers and programs should be no exception.

Teaching with technology is a topic this list
has discussed many times in depth and very well. It's a philosophical shift
that has to be introduced and supported for teachers who are less comfortable
with their technology skills. K-12 also has many fine examples of how this can
be done, what becomes barriers, and how to scale up success. We ALL (K-20
education) can do better to replicate success and we must.

And, now for the crossover part: the below is
part of my post to the Technology listserv, but applies here as well to support
my suggestions for PD.

One of my hopes for adult education, really,
is that we join the larger innovation community and take up our role as a key
step in lifelong learning, and not be confined to funding through a single

Our issues on ensuring Internet connectivity
and broadband capacity belong squarely in the FCC conversation about bringing
broadband to all and we should have a way to reap benefits from the EETT
funding for technology. Our plans to integrate technology and distance learning
should be included in the National Education Technology Plan being written by
the Dept of Ed's Office of Innovation and Improvement. There is a very large
overlap in our population with the under- and un-insured; we could contribute
to the roll out of information on health care and health literacy with community
partners such as community health clinics. We could be a seminal site for
financial literacy and consumer empowerment education. We do not seem to be
well positioned to apply and benefit from I3 or Race to the Top challenge
grants. These larger initiatives' priority language rarely include adult
education explicitly and this makes it difficult for programs, even those based
in eligible institutions (school districts or community colleges), to be seen
as strong contributors in proposals and collaborations. I would like to see a
stronger interagency directive built into WIA that could strengthen some of
these connections between federal agencies and initiatives. Too often we are
dividing the same pie into smaller and smaller pieces in order to try something
new. That's no way to encourage innovation.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate
in the conversation.

Heidi Silver-Pacuilla

Sr. Research Analyst

American Institutes for Research

Washington, DC

Subject: [PD
4422] Re: from Martha Jean: WIA - A teacher's perspective
From: Rebecca Sherry
Date: Fri Jan 15 15:33:53 EST 2010


I think Martha Jean made an excellent summary
of the part-time teacher's position. If the economic reality is that this field
is going to continue to rely largely on a part-time workforce, then I would ask
that federal policies like WIA begin to institute equity measures for part-time
instructors. Time and again, I have seen a substantial amount of a program's
resources be directed towards its full-time staff, including non-teaching
administrators and people whose sole responsibility is managing the massive
amount of data required by NRS. Professional development is, of course, the
prime example. Programs often preference their full-time staff for the true
professional development activities like tuition reimbursement, conference
attendance, and study circles. Part-time instructors, on the other hand, have
one in-service per semester, and half of that is dedicated to doing your
paperwork properly. I understand the argument that at the outset you will see
more return on your investment by funding PD for your full-time staff (i.e.
they'll still be there next semester), but what would happen to student
outcomes if your frontline, part-time teaching staff were prioritized for PD?
After all, the people who have the full-time leadership positions usually have
a more relevant educational background for adult education - that's how they
got the full-time position in the first place.

Rebecca Sherry

ESL Program Coordinator/Adjunct ESL Instructor

Women's Intercultural Center

Anthony, NM

Subject: [PD
4423] Re: PD Questions
From: Pat Bush
Date: Fri Jan 15 17:19:57 EST 2010

Let us not forget about all of those trained "volunteer literacy
tutors" in the many literacy council programs across the U.S.

Pat Bush

Horry County Literacy Council

Myrtle Beach, SC

Subject: [PD
4425] Re: Day 5: Share Your Perspectives on PD
From: Anne Murr
Date: Fri Jan 15 18:22:55 EST 2010

Adult Literacy Professional Development:

What are the successful
ingredients needed to help teachers and programs prepare learners for college
and / or work?

Use of technologies to bring our field into
the 21st century. Smart phones, online learning, text-to-speech,
speech-to-text, and the new stuff that's still being developed.

Partner with business for contextualized
learning as well as knowledge about what employers expect workers to
learn/know. Universal design: adaptations that are needed for persons with
disabilities can also be useful for all of us. EX: automatic door openers when
we are carrying too much to open the door ourselves; speech-to-text for
hands-free computer use More research on WHAT WORKS.

What do you see as some of the
greatest challenges? What are some innovative solutions to those challenges?

Identifying adults' learning challenges and
adapting instruction and technologies to assist them in meeting their goals.

What is needed in the next 5
years to improve professional development?

Ditto to everyone else's comments!


Anne Murr, M.S., Coordinator

Drake University Adult Literacy Center

School of Education

Des Moines, IA

Subject: [PD
4436] Re: FW: Day 5: Share Your Perspectives on PD
From: Karla Frizler
Date: Tue Jan 19 14:20:49 EST 2010

Hello all,

I'm the EL Civics Coordinator for Torrance Adult School in Southern California. One of my many roles is to provide professional
development for our ESL teachers, so I would like to share my two cents ...

are the successful ingredients needed to help teachers and programs prepare
learners for college and / or work?

Student motivation.

Communication and collaboration between ESL, ABE/ASE, Career Tech
programs, counselor, etc.

School mission that includes these goals.

Professional development for teachers that exposes them to the
21st century workplace—what are the expectations and needs? With input from
industry, teachers can better prepare their students.

do you see as some of the greatest challenges? What are some innovative
solutions to those challenges?

To me, the biggest challenge is that our
teachers do not get paid for any prep time. If they did, I think they would be
more likely to apply what they learn through professional development
opportunities. In addition, so much of what happens in the classroom is now prescribed
(e.g. CASAS testing, blended distance learning, EL Civics). The teachers'
creative freedom has been greatly reduced in recent years.

I think one solution could be to offer
opportunities for team teaching, or at least teacher mentoring, where experienced
teachers work with newer teachers (or tech-savvy teachers work with those who
are less so), so that training is essentially happening "on the job."

is needed in the next 5 years to improve professional development?

Instructional design support. No matter how
many workshops and training sessions we provide to our teachers (or give them
access to), they need ongoing instructional design support to integrate what
they've learned into their teaching and make adjustments accordingly. Ideally,
each school (or at least district) should have a dedicated Instructional
Designer available to help teachers integrate new technologies and
methodologies into instruction and class management.

Hope these ideas are helpful!

Karla Frizler

Torrance Adult School

Subject: [PD
4424] Discussion Thanks!
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Fri Jan 15 17:26:12 EST 2010

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful posts
and contributions during this week's WIA Community Conversations here on the PD
List! Feel free to keep your responses to the PD Questions coming through the
end of the day today.

A special thanks to Assistant Secretary
Brenda Dann-Messier for making this opportunity on the PD List possible.

Next week, I will post a summary of our WIA
Conversations to the PD List for your feedback. Then on Friday, I will finalize
the summary based on your feedback and submit it, along with the complete
transcripts of our WIA Community Conversations, to the Assistant Secretary.

Also next week, I hope we will continue
informal discussions to explore strategies and best practices for addressing
some of the challenges and hopes we've raise for professional development.

I'll be offline this weekend, but back online
early on Tuesday. In the meantime, keep your thoughts coming in!

Have a great weekend,


Jackie Taylor

PD List Facilitator

jackie at jataylor.net