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Teacher Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education - Discussion Transcripts - Discussion Lists - Professional Development

Teacher Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education


Discussion Transcripts

Discussion Description

Contents

  1. Welcome Message
  2. How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?
  3. What Other States Are Doing
  4. Qualifications and Certification
  5. Credentials vs. Quality
  6. Evidence for Certification and Credentialing
    1. Chicken? Egg?
    2. Who We Are-What We Want
    3. Need for Content Mastery
    4. Graduate Programs in Adult Education and TESOL
  7. Certification and Credentialing Models and Considerations
    1. Determining Expectations for Credentials
    2. Minimum Qualifications and Models
    3. Integrated Credentialing
    4. Alternative Credentialing
  8. Focus of Credentialing-Full or Part-Time Staff?
  9. Appropriate Courses for Credential
  10. Other Lessons from K-12
  11. Quality Through Certification: Individual vs. Field
  12. Evidence About Value of Certification
  13. Need for Regional or National Platform
  14. Incentives
  15. Hiring Practices
  16. Career Pathways for Adult Educators
  17. Shifting the Nature of the Workforce
  18. Role of National Associations
  19. Teacher Quality and Teaching to the Test
  20. What's Needed for Policy and Practice
  21. Certification and the Big Picture
  22. Need for Math Specialists
  23. PD for Experienced Teachers on Road to Credentialing
  24. Core Standards and Testing
  25. Next Steps for Certification and Credentialing
  26. Certification and Credentialing Discussion Feedback

1. Welcome Message

Subject: [PD 5543] Discussion Logistics
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Mon Jun 20 09:02:34 EDT 2011

Dear PD List,

I'm excited to announce that our guest discussion of Teacher Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education begins today! Also, 200 + individuals have subscribed for this discussion, including individuals from New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Australia, and Canada. Welcome!

Given the discussion's scope, please consider the following framework to build our conversations. This is not meant to limit conversation; rather to ensure that we cover the realm both in depth and in breadth. Discussions that begin on designated days should continue as long as you would like, but a new topic will be introduced each day. We can also adapt this framework during the week to accommodate our discussion needs.

  • Monday: Why certification and credentialing in Adult Education? What should the qualifications be for teaching adults?
  • Tuesday: Special Topics (Ex: adult English language learning, Numeracy)
  • Wednesday: Models for Certification and Credentialing to Teach Adults
  • Thursday: Supports and Incentives
  • Friday: Implications for Policy and Practice

Email traffic may get high. If it's too much, consider changing your subscription to "digest format" before unsubscribing. Digest format bundles all posts into a few emails each day. Digests are sent to you by the server when a message size threshold is met. To learn how to set your subscription to digest, visit: http://lincs.ed.gov/lincs/discussions/list_help.html#digest

Below are a few more tips for a successful discussion. Please reply to the initial questions (see next email) and post your own beginning today.

Discussion tips:

  • To post, either reply to an existing post, or send a new email to: professionaldevelopment@lincs.ed.gov
  • When replying to posts:
  • Change the subject line to reflect the change in topic.
  • Delete "trailing replies" (old messages found beneath your reply to an email that is left over from previous messages and not relevant to the point you are making). This helps keep digests easy to read and as limited in number as possible.

For more on how to make an effective post, visit: http://wiki.literacytent.org/index.php/Effective_Email_Posts

Monitoring the Discussions:

Thanks, and looking forward...Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/


2. How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?

Subject: [PD 5544] How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Mon Jun 20 09:49:59 EDT 2011

Dear PD List,

When I began teaching adult education 15 years ago, I taught part time; I was required to have a K-12 teaching certification because a certification for teaching adults did not exist in my state. While my certification is in secondary science, not everything I did as a new teacher at first was quite the right fit for my adult education class. While I feel I adapted quickly, I also had to learn the hard way. How different would my experience and my students' experiences have been if I had been certified to teach adults? I wonder.

I also noticed some distinctions among educators in my area based on whether one taught K-12 or GED. I was proud to attend adult education staff development offered by the state. I realized that I was now a part of a larger profession in adult education, prior to which I did not know it even existed. I now had some materials and grounding that I could "hang my hat on."

Based on your experience, how important is certification and credentialing to you and what do you think it would it do for the field?

I welcome your thoughts, reflections, and questions.

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/


Subject: [PD 5551] Re: How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?
From: Miriam Burt
Date: Mon Jun 20 11:36:03 EDT 2011

Hi, PD List,

I'm happy to be part of this already rich discussion.

On 6/20/11 Jackie Taylor wrote:

"I also noticed some distinctions among educators in my area based on whether one taught K-12 or GED. I was proud to attend adult education staff development offered by the state. I realized that I was now a part of a larger profession in adult education, prior to which I did not know it even existed. I now had some materials and grounding that I could 'hang my hat on.'"

Based on your experience, how important is certification and credentialing to you and what do you think it would it do for the field?

I agree with Jackie about the need for materials and grounding.

I have been in the field of adult education since the 70s. Most of my work has been related to instruction for adults learning English. I've seen wonderful teaching from practitioners who are certified or credentialed or with many degrees, and I've seen wonderful work from teachers who came up from another route - perhaps from K12, perhaps from volunteer work done overseas while spouses were posted to foreign service work for the U.S. government, or perhaps from somewhere totally unrelated.

But I've never seen great work from someone who didn't actively seek out professional development to improve her practice—through readings, trainings, online and in person PD, observations of other teachers, and so on.

Many of us have sort of fallen into adult education and then didn't want to leave because the learners are so fantastic and the work so important. Yes, we need to acknowledge the fact that some people have chosen the field for its hours and availability and find they really like it and maybe "have a knack" for it. However, the knack only gets you so far, as does length of time in the field. If this is the yard stick, we may end up with experienced but not expert teachers.

I think providing high-quality, paid, mandatory training for in-service instructors - with earned credits is the key. Easier said than done, I know, though.

Jodi Crandall et al.'s brief (2008) points out many models for providing training to practitioners working with adult English language learners do exist. http://www.cal.org/CAELA/esl_resources/briefs/tchrcred.html. (Reviewed at http://lincs.ed.gov/lincs/resourcecollections/abstracts/workforce/RC_work_abs65)

Thoughts?

Best,

Miriam

Miriam Burt

Moderator, Adult English Language Acquisition (ELA) discussion list

Center for Applied Linguistics

mburt at cal.org


Subject: [PD 5553] Re: How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?
From: Donna Pierce
Date: Mon Jun 20 12:01:35 EDT 2011

"I think providing high-quality, paid, mandatory training for in-service instructors – with earned credits is the key. Easier said than done, I know, though."

Well written. We have made a great deal of progress in Georgia since I entered the profession in 1998. Funding and making training mandatory for part-time workers are problems which are being met to some degree with online PD opportunities.

Donna Pierce


Subject: [PD 5552] Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education
From: Donna Pierce
Date: Mon Jun 20 12:28:40 EDT 2011

I am Donna Pierce and have worked in the adult literacy field for the past thirteen years, both in ESL and ABE/GED. I am currently lead teacher for my county which has one learning center with day and evening classes in ABE/GED.

I completed the Master's program for adult education through UGA last year, and have become very interested in the credentialing and certification process. I look forward to hearing what is going on in states other than Georgia.

Having been offered "help getting a real teaching job", asked if there are any "real teachers" in the adult education classroom where I teach, and comparing my professional status and pay scale to those of K-12 educators, I have to agree credentialing would help "even the playing field", but I think it goes beyond just credentialing. Until the educational world understands our niche and its requirements, the rest of society will never value the job we do. We not only work with the students the public educational system could not effectively serve for any number of reasons, we also work with special education students who cannot get a job with their "diploma", undiagnosed LD individuals, many of whom are older, and students who have reduced cognitive abilities due to health, accidents, or substance abuse. We are teachers, counselors, career planners, and much more. I think that credentialing, partnered with high profile professional organizations which portray our career accurately can begin to change the opinions of the general public and our policy-makers. It is important to be recognized as a qualified practitioner with an appropriate education documented by credentials. It is equally important for our profession to be well represented.

Donna Pierce


Subject: [PD 5555] Re: How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?
From: Plumb, Judie
Date: Mon Jun 20 12:46:19 EDT 2011

This is in response to Ms. Pierce. I also work in Georgia, in Gwinnett County, and last year I attended over 20 hours of paid training (in-service). Some of it was mandatory, but much of it was choice. I would describe all of it as high-quality. And, I didn't attend all the training, both on-line and f2f that was made available to us in Gwinnett County last year.

Question: would a K12 county/city school system certify a teacher that teaches 4-6 hours per week?

Judie Plumb

Lead Instructor EL/Civics

Adult Education Department

Gwinnett Technical College


Subject: [PD 5556] Re: Credentialing and Certification...
From: Roger Downey
Date: Mon Jun 20 12:46:37 EDT 2011

Good afternoon,

I am Roger Downey from Columbia Adult Education in Brooklyn, Michigan. Our adult Education has been in place for 27 years and I have been involved for 10 of those 27. Our funding is strictly state monies and if there is a short-fall, our district has been able to help fund us in the past.

In Michigan the state has decreased the available funding by 95%, that is right, they fund only 5% of what was funded 15 years ago. Our providers have dropped to about 25% of what they were 15 years ago, and it doesn't look like the trend in either area is going to change soon.

The problem with credentials, or certifying our teachers, is that if they are brought up to regular teacher pay rate, the system will not be able to afford them. I feel like the teachers need to have the specialized PD and would react positively towards that, but it might be at the cost of other essentials within the classroom.

I am glad to have this opportunity to hear from others in this important field.

Thank you!

Roger


Subject: [PD 5559] Re: How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Mon Jun 20 13:55:53 EDT 2011

I am delighted to see the extent of interest in this topic. I care about it very much, but it has been much neglected. As a result, I hope we will use the time provided by this wonderful opportunity well.

First, for those of you who have questions about "what other states are doing," I suggest that you read the papers by Cris Smith and myself on C&C published on the CAAL website (www.caalusa.org). It's a long story, and it shouldn't consume our time here. Basically most "other states" aren't doing much, but there are some promising innovations in MA, TX, VA and a few other places.

Second, I think we have to distinguish between C&C and professional development. I would define PD as conveying knowledge and skills teachers need. Everybody is in favor of more PD in every field. But, however you define them, C&C entail setting standards for WHAT knowledge and skills teachers should have. In every field C&C draws a line—some people make the cut and others don't. If everyone qualifies for a certificate or credential, then it is meaningless.

And for the "cut" to be meaningful, there must be some benefits to making it and/or limitations for not making it. I hope we can keep the focus of this discussion squarely on C&C understood in this way.

Third, thus I think the question we must address is whether we want to develop a C&C system (understood in this way) in the AE field. WE don't have one now. If so, WHAT would it "certify" or "credential"? For example, can we stipulate that there is a certain minimum level of knowledge and skills in each of the areas of AE that all teachers should have (even if we can't precisely define them today) and that certificates and credentials should be awarded based on some direct measure of whether teachers have those levels of knowledge and skills? Or do we want to certify some higher level of proficiency—or something else entirely? And are passing courses or seat time in PD enough to indicate the knowledge and skills we want to certify? If so, what courses and how much PD of what kind?

Fourth, why do we care about this? Is it just a matter of projecting a more professional "image" for the field? Or are there real benefits to students and teachers of having a system of C&C? Can you suggest what they would be? And how much do you REALLY care about this? How much difference do you think it would REALLY make? And why? Or would C&C in adult education do more harm than good? Often the reason why something doesn't happen in any field (or in life in general) is that nobody thinks it is a very high priority, or because it's a bad idea. So if that's true here, let's get it on the table up front.

These are some of the questions I hope you will try to answer. I certainly would like to hear what you have to say.

Forrest Chisman

Vice President

Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy


Subject: [PD 5561] Re: How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?
From: Sara Jorgensen
Date: Mon Jun 20 14:06:54 EDT 2011

Hello. My name is Sara Jorgensen and I have been involved in adult education for over 25 years mostly in New York City but for the past 4-5 years, in Boston. I never needed credentialing in the past and it was not systemically encouraged in NY, but when I came to Massachusetts, it was exciting to see that they had a supportive system in place to work on it.

So I decided to spend one Saturday per month for about three years putting together a portfolio for licensure and taking all the required exams. I did this with a cohort of adult educators and SABES (professional staff developers paid by the DESE) at UMASS Boston. It was a big commitment of my time but the process was enjoyable and I thought it would be a wise thing to do for my career.

Well, I submitted the four complete portfolios in December of 2010 and followed up on it twice to inquire about the status of my portfolio. I discovered that a few more candidates are needed to even convene a panel to judge the portfolios and I am the only one who has submitted one at this time. After all that work, what a downer! I hope my material will not be outdated with all the changes happening in the field. Also, I am not sure I would encourage others in the field to undergo this process but then again, I live in hope; maybe they will convene this summer.

Sara Jorgensen

Director of Adult Education

Haitian Multi-Service Center

Dorchester, MA


Subject: [PD 5562] Re: Credentialing and Certification...
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Mon Jun 20 14:15:42 EDT 2011

I'm sorry to hear about what's happening to adult education funding in Michigan. Some version of this story is playing out nationwide.

Doesn't the question of whether you can "afford" certified adult education teachers depend of: 1) what rewards teachers get for certification, 2) what certification signifies? If it signifies that teachers have at least minimum level proficiency, one could argue that you can't afford NOT to have it. Rewards could be one time bonuses, health care for part-timers, or almost any kind of preferential treatment. We may have to think out of the box here.

Forrest


Subject: [PD 5563] Re: How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?
From: Hughes, Robert
Date: Mon Jun 20 14:59:21 EDT 2011

Colleagues,

Thanks for this opportunity to have this discussion. I look forward to having this dialogue in the week ahead.

Washington is one of the states that doesn't have a formal requirement for certification in adult basic education or TESOL. We're also a state where most ABE/TESOL instruction is done by the community colleges which are the primary recipients of WIA funding. Because of those two factors, we've evolved an interesting dynamic. Around the greater Seattle area, the community colleges generally require a master's degree for both adjunct and full-time positions. However, that master's degree isn't always in adult education or TESOL. That's especially the case if we're talking about people who were hired 15+ years ago. While programs like that one in which I teach provide master's degrees in adult education, there aren't that many programs like mine in the state (and as you may know, adult education degree programs are being eliminated by universities at an alarming rate).

When I was the basic skills dean at one of the local colleges (about five years ago), I had a box of resumes that was about three inches thick with qualified applicants, and all with master's degrees. That's not the case in other areas of the state. In areas that are distant to Seattle, the colleges have more difficulty finding master's-trained faculty. This is all made more complex by the roles that CBOs have in the state. While we don't have adult schools, our CBOs fill the gap that many adult schools do in other states. In both greater Seattle and throughout the state, the CBOs generally don't require a graduate degree to teach ABE/TESOL. Many of these CBOs rely heavily on volunteers and paid staff with bachelor's degrees that can be from any discipline.

In Washington state, because of all this, talking about certification is always challenging. When we had a conversation on this topic at COABE last April (see the links provided in the resource list for this discussion), participants noted that these same factors influence most states' conversations about certification. That discussion suggested issues like the over-reliance on part-time faculty, the low pay, and rural vs. urban needs. Any system that provides for certification must address these issues squarely. It's one thing to think about and plan for the ideal, but that ideal must be tempered in the realities that we all work within.

So, having said that, it still seems that we should look at certification as something for which we should be advocating. Despite the many challenges in adopting clear standards that don't disadvantage categories of instructors or types of institutions, creating some certification helps us make the case of the professionalization of our field; it allows us to provide clear evidence that we are a profession. Additionally, it is within certification that we can acknowledge the outstanding skills that our instructors have. Certification differentiates a casual volunteer from the person who has worked hard to develop and master the skills of teaching. Finally, certification is a way to acknowledge clear standards to which we hold ourselves accountable.

In observing instruction in ABE and TESOL classrooms, I do notice a difference between someone who's had training and someone who hasn't. Students who come into our master's degree program with some prior teaching experience describe this as the difference between what they were able to figure out on their own and what they were able to learn from formal training. Without exception, these students with teaching experiences all tell me that they weren't able to intuitively discover concepts such as adult development, the importance of or techniques for providing universal instruction, or the need for clearly defined objectives in a lesson. I'm not advocating that everyone should get a master's degree in adult education (although, as you can imagine, I wouldn't be opposed to that). Given the realities of our field that I described previously, a master's degree is hard to mandate. However, what I am advocating for is the need for clearly defined standards of preparation for what constitutes an ABE/TESOL instructor. And that would mean a certificate of some kind.

I have some thoughts on what that might look like, and I'll share those thoughts in the week ahead as we explore different aspects of this topic. In the meantime, I look forward to reading other thoughts from you all.

Regards,

Bob H.

Bob Hughes, Ed. D.

Associate Professor of Adult Education

Seattle University

Seattle, WA


Subject: [PD 5564] Re: How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?
From: Karen Mundie
Date: Mon Jun 20 15:27:35 EDT 2011

We have had chicken or egg discussions on the value of credentialing when the career isn't there many times in one form or another on one discussion list or another. I generally agree with every eloquently expressed opinion, and then I flip and flop. In the end the chicken and the egg are one.

I think we need to start with full times jobs in our field—even if for a time this means more expensive programs serving fewer people. Our teachers should have a BA or BS degrees as a minimum.

Once there is a career, the conditions for a career path can be thoughtfully considered. There was a large corps of full time teachers in K-12 long before there was certification.

Karen Mundie


Subject: [PD 5566] Re: why certification? Some functions certification MAY perform
From: Cristine Smith
Date: Mon Jun 20 15:51:17 EDT 2011

Hi, everyone. Cristine Smith here. In line with our discussion topic today of "why certification or credentialing", I wanted to provide a quick overview of six "functions" of certification that I identified and outlined in the CAAL report I wrote (Certifying Adult Education Staff and Faculty, January 2011, available at http://www.caalusa.org/certteach.pdf). The full discussion of these potential functions of certification is between pages 28 and 38, but let me just summarize briefly below. I proposed that certification or credentialing for adult basic education and literacy teachers MIGHT have the following functions:

  • assurance of quality: we might have a stronger argument for asserting that the quality of services we offer to adult learners is high.
  • professionalization: having a certification system might go a long way towards improving the "stature" of our field.
  • gatekeeper function: programs might have an accepted "signal" that the person they are hiring, if certified, has at least met the minimum requirements deemed necessary and acceptable by the state or other credential-conferring body.
  • self-assessment: because any certification or credential system must be based on some set of standards for what teachers should know and be able to do, a certification system might help individual teachers to gauge areas where they need more knowledge and professional development, especially if they are not so familiar with the field yet.
  • teacher preparation: because teachers will need professional development to meet the certification standards, teachers may demand more PD, states may be justified in asking for more funding for PD, and colleges/university may offer PD knowing that there is a stronger "audience" for professional development than there is currently.
  • improving working conditions: teacher certification might support teachers' demands for higher salaries, full-time jobs, and benefits, based on the investment they have made in becoming certified.

HOWEVER, if you read or skim this whole section in the paper itself, you will see why I use the word "might" and "may" often in this discussion. In reviewing the research on K-12 certification and its functions/benefits, not all of these functions necessarily follow automatically from certification/credentialing. K-12 does have a different system from adult education, and certification is one of the main-but certainly not the only-difference. There are reasons both for and against assuming that these functions will have the types of effects described above in our adult basic education and literacy field.

Nevertheless, I thought it would be useful to try to categorize these functions, since they represent some of the reasoning and motivation behind certification that-to me-seems to exist in practitioners' minds about why and why not certification.

My question is: If you support the movement FOR certification in adult education, which of these functions (or others, if I left any out) do you feel provides the strongest support?

And then, based on that, how would you address some of the arguments I make in the paper about the uncertainty of expecting that particular function to occur as the result of instituting a certification system?

(By the way, in the beginning of the CAAL paper, there are a couple of pages where I try to establish some clarity about terms relating to certification and credentialing, if anyone might find those helpful).

Thanks. Cristine Smith

Cristine Smith, Associate Professor

Center for International Education

UMass Amherst


Subject: Re: why certification?
From: Terry Algire
Sent: Monday, June 20, 2011 5:25 PM

There is a distinction between the literacy programs working to help adults function in their world and the adult basic education programs which work to increase formal education and training for adults. This distinction has not been recognized when talking about credentialing or certification.

If adult basic education programs are not certified and their instructors are not credentialed then we are providing a lower standard of education for adults who want to re-enter education to improve their own certification (GED, job certification or college degrees). (Would anyone place their K-12 student in a program with teachers who were not certified?) However, for the groups and organizations who work to improve functional literacy for adults, there is less of a need for instructor certification and a greater need for professional development and best practice sharing.

Community colleges often offer remedial programs but cannot provide the long term remedial support in the basic reading skills and critical thinking skills necessary for student success, leaving a gap filled by CBOs. What holds back any effort to recruit certified educators is the money. Adult education programs are not funded at levels that make certification worth the cost to individuals teaching in the field or sustainable as personnel costs for the organizations hiring them.

Terry Algire

Executive Director

The Washington Literacy Council

Washington, DC


Subject: [PD 5628] How Important is Credentialing and Certification in Adult Education?
From: Terry Shearer
Date: Wed Jun 22 11:58:09 EDT 2011

I am a program administrator in Texas. Most of my teachers have no interest in attaining a certificate that is a standalone certificate that is not recognized by the State Board of Education. There is also no raise in salary. The handful of teachers in my program that have gotten their certificates were already good teachers with high performance and retention. I have seen no evidence statewide that the certificate has made a significant impact on performance of students.

While I believe that the content of the certificate is worthwhile for training, the cost of the program concerns me. Last December, I was at an advisory meeting where we were told that only about 66 teachers in the region had attained the certificate out of more than 2,000 instructors. This is the result of a program that began 5 or 6 years ago (perhaps even longer). If it were up to me, I would much prefer to spend the funds getting a more widely recognized certificate such as a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), for ESL instructors and something similar for ABE/GED students.

Terry Shearer


3. What Other States Are Doing

Subject: [PD 5565] what other states are doing
From: Isserlis, Janet
Date: Mon Jun 20 15:36:08 EDT 2011

All

Also updating this working site for Rhode Island - reviewing old links and updating for sites posted during this discussion, fyi Janet Isserlis,
http://www.brown.edu/lrri/teacherorient.html. it should be updated within the hour
grateful for additions / suggestions as we all move forward with this exploration


Subject: [PD 5557] Introduction-from Nevada
From: Sharyn
Date: Mon Jun 20 13:44:07 EDT 2011

I coordinated the development and implementation of Nevada's ABE Certificate of Performance in 2002 (http://www.nevadaadulteducation.org/Educators/ABE_Certificate_of_Performance.html.

Geared especially for ABE, ESL and GED teachers in NV's federally funded adult education programs, it is not mandatory from the state's point of view. However it is tied in to our Program Quality Indicators and programs can chose to make it mandatory for their teachers. The Certificate was "blessed" by the State Superintendent of Instruction and is administered solely by us (Adult Education).

The big deal is: It is outcome-based. To receive the initial Certificate, applicants must present evidence they've met specific persistence and outcome criteria. To renew the Certificate, applicants must continue to show proficiency in achieving outcomes and must complete 30 hours of meaningful PD within the past 3 years.

Sharyn Yanoshak

Professional Development, ABE for NV


Subject: [PD 5563] Re: How important is certification and credentialing in adult education?
From: Hughes, Robert
Date: Mon Jun 20 14:59:21 EDT 2011

Colleagues,

Thanks for this opportunity to have this discussion. I look forward to having this dialogue in the week ahead.

Washington is one of the states that doesn't have a formal requirement for certification in adult basic education or TESOL. We're also a state where most ABE/TESOL instruction is done by the community colleges which are the primary recipients of WIA funding. Because of those two factors, we've evolved an interesting dynamic. Around the greater Seattle area, the community colleges generally require a master's degree for both adjunct and full-time positions. However, that master's degree isn't always in adult education or TESOL. That's especially the case if we're talking about people who were hired 15+ years ago. While programs like that one in which I teach provide master's degrees in adult education, there aren't that many programs like mine in the state (and as you may know, adult education degree programs are being eliminated by universities at an alarming rate).

When I was the basic skills dean at one of the local colleges (about five years ago), I had a box of resumes that was about three inches thick with qualified applicants, and all with master's degrees. That's not the case in other areas of the state. In areas that are distant to Seattle, the colleges have more difficulty finding master's-trained faculty. This is all made more complex by the roles that CBOs have in the state. While we don't have adult schools, our CBOs fill the gap that many adult schools do in other states. In both greater Seattle and throughout the state, the CBOs generally don't require a graduate degree to teach ABE/TESOL. Many of these CBOs rely heavily on volunteers and paid staff with bachelor's degrees that can be from any discipline.

In Washington state, because of all this, talking about certification is always challenging. When we had a conversation on this topic at COABE last April (see the links provided in the resource list for this discussion), participants noted that these same factors influence most states' conversations about certification. That discussion suggested issues like the over-reliance on part-time faculty, the low pay, and rural vs. urban needs. Any system that provides for certification must address these issues squarely. It's one thing to think about and plan for the ideal, but that ideal must be tempered in the realities that we all work within.

So, having said that, it still seems that we should look at certification as something for which we should be advocating. Despite the many challenges in adopting clear standards that don't disadvantage categories of instructors or types of institutions, creating some certification helps us make the case of the professionalization of our field; it allows us to provide clear evidence that we are a profession. Additionally, it is within certification that we can acknowledge the outstanding skills that our instructors have. Certification differentiates a casual volunteer from the person who has worked hard to develop and master the skills of teaching. Finally, certification is a way to acknowledge clear standards to which we hold ourselves accountable.

In observing instruction in ABE and TESOL classrooms, I do notice a difference between someone who's had training and someone who hasn't. Students who come into our master's degree program with some prior teaching experience describe this as the difference between what they were able to figure out on their own and what they were able to learn from formal training. Without exception, these students with teaching experiences all tell me that they weren't able to intuitively discover concepts such as adult development, the importance of or techniques for providing universal instruction, or the need for clearly defined objectives in a lesson. I'm not advocating that everyone should get a master's degree in adult education (although, as you can imagine, I wouldn't be opposed to that). Given the realities of our field that I described previously, a master's degree is hard to mandate. However, what I am advocating for is the need for clearly defined standards of preparation for what constitutes an ABE/TESOL instructor. And that would mean a certificate of some kind.

I have some thoughts on what that might look like, and I'll share those thoughts in the week ahead as we explore different aspects of this topic. In the meantime, I look forward to reading other thoughts from you all.

Regards,

Bob H.

Bob Hughes, Ed. D.

Associate Professor of Adult Education

Seattle University

Seattle, WA


4. Qualifications and Certification

Subject: [PD 5571] Day Two: Evidence, Qualifications, and Special Topics in Adult Education
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Tue Jun 21 09:52:47 EDT 2011

Good day or evening!

We discussed yesterday whether and how important a C&C system would be to you (and I encourage you to continue to do so), but we haven't really discussed much about evidence. What evidence is there that certification makes a difference, that teachers who are certified are paid better, that this affects learning outcomes, that there is more respect for the field?

Second, do we want to develop a system of certification and credentialing in adult education? If so, what would it certify or credential? For example, would it be based on the minimum level of knowledge and skills in each area of adult education that all teachers should have, including a direct measure of those levels of knowledge and skills?

Would the minimum level of knowledge and skills differ for different areas of adult education (e.g., ABE, ASE, ESL?

Or should it be based on something else? If so, then on what?

PS-(Don't forget to use these Tips for Making Quality Posts, esp. tips #4 and #6: http://wiki.literacytent.org/index.php/Effective_Email_Posts.)

Looking forward,

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/

865.680.7668
Jackie@jataylor.net


Subject: [PD 5580] Day Two: Thoughts on qualifications and certification
From: Hughes, Robert
Date: Tue Jun 21 11:38:28 EDT 2011

I don't have evidence of the impact of certification, but some of the evidence I've seen leaves me with a couple of questions. To explain:

This past year, one of our TESOL graduate students, Christie Lynne Bonner, surveyed our regional job market for TESOL graduates. She completed an independent study course with me in which she surveyed area ABE/TESOL directors to see what their hiring criteria are. She contacted 41 agencies statewide and received returned questionnaires from 26 of those agencies. While the numbers or her sampling techniques didn't allow her to make statistically definitive statements, the responses showed some interesting patterns. One pattern that I found interesting was the disparity of qualifications among the community colleges in our state and CBOs. As I noted yesterday, most of basic skills instruction in Washington state happens in the community colleges. Christie-Lynne found that this distinction generates differences in the qualifications of who's teaching in basic skills. While the community colleges generally require a master's degree, the CBOs don't. The colleges also tend to require at least a year's prior teaching experience to hire even part-time instructors, while the CBOs will hire someone with no experience and no graduate degree. New, full-time jobs tend to be at the CBOs, who pay less than the community colleges.

From my observations, this generates some challenging dynamics. The instructors beginning their careers tend to be working at the CBOs and the more experienced and established faculty tend to be at the community colleges. It's a tiered system that means that CBOs have lots of staff turnover, while the colleges' teaching corps is relatively stable. The college where I used to direct the basic skills division had a part-time teaching faculty who had typically been teaching at the college for 15 years or more. In contrast, the CBOs have few instructors with that much experience. The turnover in staffing at CBOs means that they're constantly getting the innovation and energy that comes with new people in any field. But it also means that they don't have seasoned veterans who can build on past experiences.

We don't have a certification system in our state, and I'm wondering if a certification system would contribute in any way to creating some parity between CBOs and community colleges. So here are my two questions: For those of you who are in states that have certification, are there more opportunities for newer faculty in more established programs to be hired and stay? Also, has certification contributed to the stabilization of your teaching force in any way?

The other part of what Jackie has asked us to explore today is the qualifications that a certificate should address. I offer five areas that a certificate must encompass:

  • A clear understanding of adult development. An instructor needs to know who her/his students are and what makes them unique to teach.
  • Skill with lesson planning and delivery that's grounded in research-based understandings of how adults learn. Instructors need a foundation in effective lesson delivery models and practices, and they need to know how to apply these to the work they do.
  • An understanding of instructional design. Too often adult education is not developed cohesively or strategically. Instructors need to know how to plan a course of study that goes beyond exercises and activities and allows for concept development that is sequenced and sufficient in scope.
  • An understanding of the systems in which instructors work. Basic skills instructors are often impacted by systems and policies that they don't understand, and an awareness of these will help them to be able to advocate more effectively for their students' needs.
  • Knowledge of the subject matter they are being hired to teach. For example, a TESOL instructor needs to understand concepts such as how people acquire language; and someone teaching reading needs to understand fundamentals such as the four components of the reading process.

A certificate must encompass all five of these areas to ensure that instructors are ready for the work that they perform. Such a certificate should assure someone who's hiring an instructor that the instructor has competencies needed to serve adult learners in basic skills.

Bob H.

Bob Hughes, Ed. D.

Associate Professor of Adult Education

Seattle University

Seattle, WA


Subject: [PD 5576] Qualifications for teaching adult English language learners
From: Miriam Burt
Date: Tue Jun 21 11:38:30 EDT 2011

Hello, PD List.

Jackie A. Taylor wrote on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 9:53 AM:
"Would the minimum level of knowledge and skills differ for different areas of adult education (e.g., ABE, ASE, ESL?)'

Or should it be based on something else? If so, then on what?

For the OVAE-funded CAELA Network project, we at the Center for Applied Linguistics developed a guide, the Framework for quality professional development for practitioners working with adult English language learners.

This guide provides a framework, based on a survey of research on adult learning and on second language acquisition to build quality professional development opportunities for those working with English language learners. It has information on planning, implementing, and evaluating these opportunities. The framework has three components-content, process, context- which address what practitioners need to know and the professional development process and system.

Under the content section, the following topics make up the body of knowledge needed by practitioners who work with adult English language learners.

  • Characteristics and needs of students - previous educational, work, and life experiences of students
  • Processes of second language acquisition for adults
  • Processes of learning components of the language- listening, speaking, reading, and writing
  • Types and impacts of native language literacy on English language and literacy learning
  • Affective factors that influence adult learning
  • Evidence-based principles and instructional strategies
  • Selection and use of valid, appropriate, and reliable assessments
  • The use of ESL content standards and curriculum standards
  • The appropriate use of technology to support adult learners

from Center for Applied Linguistics. (2010). Framework for quality professional development for practitioners working with adult English language learners. Washington, DC: Author. http://www.cal.org/caelanetwork/profdev/framework/index.html

reviewed in the Workforce Competitiveness Collection at http://lincs.ed.gov/lincs/resourcecollections/abstracts/workforce/RC_work_abs22.html

Some of these topics certainly cross over to ABE/ASE—such as affective factors that influence adult learning, characteristics and needs of students, selection and use of assessments, evidence-based principles and strategies, and appropriate technology. Those bolded, however, are quite specific to adult English language learners, I think.

As we ESL practitioners have been saying for years—probably first, or at least most famously, said by Heide Spruck Wrigley: ESL is not just ABE with an accent. English language learners studying English in the United States have diverse educational backgrounds. Some have earned graduate degrees, while others have had little or no access to education at all. They have differing degrees in literacy in different languages that may or may not employ the Roman alphabet. They are not likely to have the oral skills in English that their ABE counterparts do. A credentialing system for practitioners working with adults learning English needs to address the content needed to help adults acquire the language skills needed to be successful in work and further education.

It's a lot, right? I guess that's why just having a knack for teaching, and some experience under your belt is not enough to make an experienced teacher an expert teacher.

Miriam

Miriam Burt

Center for Applied Linguistics


Subject: [PD 5583] Qualifications and certification
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue Jun 21 12:22:28 EDT 2011

GREAT thanks to Bob for outlining these essential areas of instruction for all adult educators-couldn't have articulated them any better.

Stephanie

The other part of what Jackie has asked us to explore today is the qualifications that a certificate should address. I offer five areas that a certificate must encompass:

  • A clear understanding of adult development. An instructor needs to know who her/his students are and what makes them unique to teach.
  • Skill with lesson planning and delivery that's grounded in research-based understandings of how adults learn. Instructors need a foundation in effective lesson delivery models and practices, and they need to know how to apply these to the work they do.
  • An understanding of instructional design. Too often adult education is not developed cohesively or strategically. Instructors need to know how to plan a course of study that goes beyond exercises and activities and allows for concept development that is sequenced and sufficient in scope.
  • An understanding of the systems in which instructors work. Basic skills instructors are often impacted by systems and policies that they don't understand, and an awareness of these will help them to be able to advocate more effectively for their students' needs.
  • Knowledge of the subject matter they are being hired to teach. For example, a TESOL instructor needs to understand concepts such as how people acquire language; and someone teaching reading needs to understand fundamentals such as the four components of the reading process.

A certificate must encompass all five of these areas to ensure that instructors are ready for the work that they perform. Such a certificate should assure someone who's hiring an instructor that the instructor has competencies needed to serve adult learners in basic skills.

Bob H.


Subject: [PD 5587] Re: Qualifications and certification
From: Andrea Wilder
Date: Tue Jun 21 12:50:22 EDT 2011

Adult development: There is significant divergence here, who are you using, following?

Adult learning: Also, who is important here?

Thanks very much,

Andrea Wilder


Subject: [PD 5598] Essential areas/content
From: Janysek, Michelle
Date: Tue Jun 21 14:17:50 EDT 2011

The Texas Credential is based upon the following Six Core Content Areas. As you can see, we have the option for teachers to specialize within Contextual Learning or to take a more generalist approach.

  • Principles of Adult Learning-Utilizing a theory-based framework allows adult educators to better understand adult learners. Principles of adult learning include understanding the unique characteristics of adult learners, activating prior knowledge and life experiences to facilitate meaningful learning.
  • Teaching/Learning Transaction-This core content is the key to success for both the adult leaner and the adult educator. Teaching the adult learner requires an ethic of caring and knowledge of successful teaching and learning practices that motivate the adult learner and promote a community of learning
  • Diverse Learning Styles, Abilities and Cultures-Appreciation of learning styles, knowledge of learning abilities, and sensitivity to multicultural, socioeconomic, and socio-cultural issues assist the adult educator in selecting and in modifying appropriate teaching and learning strategies.
  • Integrating Technology into Adult Learning-In addition to helping learners utilize technology in their learning and to prepare them for the workforce, adult educators must also be prepared to utilize technology themselves in their own professional development.
  • Accountability and Assessment-Currently there is a greater focus on accountability in adult education in Texas. The challenge lies in the successful implementation and documentation of adult education. Documentation may be formal or informal. It includes mandated assessments, authentic assessments as well as measures of teacher proficiencies, learner recruitment and persistence.
  • Contextual Learning-Adult education teachers work in diverse settings and locations or "contexts." This content area provides a mechanism for teachers to specialize in one of several different contexts including workforce, family literacy, corrections, and/or transitions. Teachers not wishing to specialize may take a generalist approach.

D. Michelle Janysek, Ph.D.

Texas Adult Education Credential Project

The Education Institute

Texas State University-San Marcos


Subject: [PD 5604] Re: Essential areas/content
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Tue Jun 21 16:55:05 EDT 2011

Yes, Texas has one of the most highly evolved AE credentialing systems, as far as I've been able to tell. But it is voluntary, and there is no guarantee of any reward if a teacher completes it. I've been led to believe that it is so demanding that very few teachers sign up for it or complete it. Is that true?

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5612] Re: Qualifications for teaching adult English language learners
From: Gretchen Bitterlin
Date: Tue Jun 21 21:20:34 EDT 2011

I agree that specific skills are needed to teach English language learners. It is often said that someone with a degree in foreign language teaching is more qualified to teach ESL than someone with a degree in English or literature. For this reason, I support having credentials or certification that relates to specifically teaching ESL.

Gretchen Bitterlin

ESL Program Chair

ESL Resource Office

Mid City Campus

San Diego, CA


Subject: [PD 5633] Re: Evidence, Qualifications, and Special Topics
From: Jacci West
Date: Wed Jun 22 12:47:03 EDT 2011

My two cents:

As an early advocate for my children, I had experience with LD and learning difficulties after my middle son was diagnosed with a Learning Disability and given an IEP in 3rd grade.

While beneficial in elementary school by high school it amounted to extra time in the Learning Support room. Since he was doing well, I was ok with his grades until he failed his high school physics exam. Marching into the teacher's room for conference day I asked him if he had read my son's IEP all the way through. He sheepishly admitted he had not, he had assumed this son's IEP was the same as his older brother's.

My oldest son had a gifted IEP and my middle son had a Learning Support IEP - Big Difference!

This experience has helped me immensely in my work as director of an adult literacy program. I also inherited a wealth of tutor support materials from experienced teachers over the last 25 years. The volunteers in our program with experience in teaching LD students are immensely helpful and willing to mentor other tutors when they have difficult adult students. During our 12-hour required tutor training the Tutor Coordinator and I instruct all volunteers how to prepare an individualized lesson plan for non-readers, low-level readers and beginning ESL, along with ABE/GED prep, utilize many handouts and materials from volunteers who have walked before us and work according to the student's goals and needs. I am continually surprised by how many teachers are out of their comfort zone during our tutor training.

Credentialing should be based on current knowledge and experience, not necessarily by "tests", hours of PD or degrees earned no matter what the pay scale is, since pay rates differ widely state to state, and what about volunteers?

In PA new state education funding requirements insist on a 4-year accredited degree, even for volunteers! Literacy programs are still necessary in our communities or we wouldn't be seeing the growing number of adults seeking help because they have no other recourse. If a credential will fund our program I would gladly require it of all volunteer tutors.

Jacci

Jacci West, Executive Director

Wayne Pike Adult Literacy Program

Honesdale, PA


5. Credentials vs. Quality

Subject: [PD 5572] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Sharon Hillestad
Date: Tue Jun 21 10:37:18 EDT 2011

I graduated from a two year teachers college in 1964. I was certified to teach grades 1-8. I then attended a State University and graduated in 1966 with a degree and was certified to teach grades 1-4! Wisconsin was in the process of "upping the standards". These 4 year certified teachers have been teaching for several decades and there is more ADHD, ADD and Dyslexia than ever. The adults we now service have been taught by such teachers. Perhaps getting more credentials will improve the status of the Adult Education Teacher. However, I doubt that credentializing teachers of adults will make them better teachers. It didn't work for elementary teachers who have to attend all kinds of college and follow-up continueing education classes. We should be careful of what we wish for.

Sharon Hillestad

National Right To Read Fnd www.nrrf.org


Subject: [PD 5574] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Forrest Chisman
Date:Tue Jun 21 11:07:10 EDT 2011

Sharon,

I’d like to be clear about what you mean. Are you saying the overall quality of the teaching force would be higher if there was no credentialing system at all? Or just that the Wisconsin system needs to be improved?

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5575] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Andrea Wilder
Date: Tue Jun 21 11:35:33 EDT 2011

It sounds as though it depends on the quality of the credentialing. Perhaps those who live in states which credential could give a run-down of what their credentialing entails. That might be useful.

Andrea Wilder


Subject: [PD 5579] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Roger Downey
Date: Tue Jun 21 11:53:28 EDT 2011

Hey folks,

I think Sharon has a point on Credentials. While they would be good to have, do they, alone, make a good teacher? Plus, what are we involved with adult education for? The previous day's discussion showing that quite a few of us thought that PD was a good thing for adult educators to do consistently, can be helpful to those involved now. Bringing our ranks up to speed is not that difficult, only costly, and there is such a wide variety of things that would help our staff (closer work with higher ed., closer work with employers, closer work with trade schools, or even some PD through the eyes of a social worker). Usually our staff is quite passionate about what they do and who they service, and know that what we do is not glamorous, nor was it meant to be.

I think, if we have the 'Quality', whether new or old, and enhance with 'Credentials', whether from classes or PD, we should be that much further ahead. Ofcourse, what 'Credentials' will be needed, and so forth, have to be determined.

Roger Downey

Columbia Adult Ed.


Subject: [PD 5581] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Schneider, Jim
Date: Tue Jun 21 11:58:08 EDT 2011

From my years in ABE, Sharon’s comments stirred up these thoughts:

For the many severely under-resourced Adult Literacy programs, credentialing is just one more layer of bureaucratic process that does nothing to address the crippling limitations of being under-resourced. Many times credentialing is little more than a series of very expensive hoops to hop through that have little real impact on the quality of instruction, and a much more significant impact on the bottom line of the source of the credential. Finally, I have known many excellent instructors/volunteers that would be unable or unwilling to subject themselves to an arduous process resulting in a loss of good people willing to work in an under-resourced program.

Jim Schneider


Subject: [PD 5589] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Tue Jun 21 13:11:55 EDT 2011

Jim,

Can you clarify? To what particular credentialing programs are you referring when you make these negative comments? As far as I know there aren’t enough adult education-specific certification programs in existence to evaluate one way or another. Your comments imply that you are basing your evaluation on your experience. It would be very valuable to know what adult education credentialing programs lead you to this conclusion.

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5582] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Sharon Hillestad
Date: Tue Jun 21 12:02:06 EDT 2011

Wisconsin is no worse than Minnesota or Florida. I am very familiar with both of these states too. Yes, I do believe that the quality of teaching would improve if there were no "State Credentials". Teachers could get trained by Montesorri or Applied Scholastics or any number of colleges. That would be their credential. What would count is what they could DO with their training. I say this because I attended 4 years of college. Because I had attended the "County College" I was given blanket credit for 2 years at a Wisconsin State University and then required to take two more years of education courses. After 4 years of Education Courses I had no data on teaching children to read except to "follow the teacher's guides because they are teacher proof". I educated myself and now can teach almost anyone how to read. I learned from teachers who could do that. The credential has come in handy though. I was able to get a couple of nice teaching jobs in public schools in WI and MN. Also it kept authorities off my back while I educated my own children. I am not against get credentials; I am opposed to the horrific waste of time it takes to do that.

Sharon Hillestad


Subject: [PD 5585] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue Jun 21 12:26:28 EDT 2011

Jim Schneider writes, "For the many severely under-resourced Adult Literacy programs, credentialing is just one more layer of bureaucratic process that does nothing to address the crippling limitations of being under-resourced. Many times credentialing is little more than a series of very expensive hoops to hop through that have little real impact on the quality of instruction, and a much more significant impact on the bottom line of the source of the credential. Finally, I have known many excellent instructors/volunteers that would be unable or unwilling to subject themselves to an arduous process resulting in a loss of good people willing to work in an under-resourced program."

Indeed, here in CO, our CDE AEFL department is now requiring adult educators who teach fewer than 15 hours to start the credentialing process-while the Titanic is sinking before their very eyes (CO does not fund adult education-zero).

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5593] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Tue Jun 21 13:34:17 EDT 2011

Again, can you please clarify. What does the credentialing process CO is requiring teachers to start consist of? And what does "start" mean?

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5595] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Schneider, Jim
Date: Tue Jun 21 13:41:23 EDT 2011

No specific adult education system, just credentialing, certified counselor, master teacher, etc. Joined with the frustration of 18 years in Iowa ABE with no state funding and ever increasing federal demands and reductions in federal dollars resulting in low pay, hours & status for my staff & program. If the adult education system had 1/10 of the respect/consideration given to Trio programs/staff/students it would be an immeasurable improvement. Although I am now free from that nightmare, I remain frustrated when I read that the system is moving along to a 4G network (so to speak) while so many programs are limping along with two cans and string.

Jim Schneider


Subject: [PD 5602] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Tue Jun 21 16:43:08 EDT 2011

Jim,

I certainly agree that somebody has to care enough to pump more resources into adult education generally and into certification in particular for us to make a difference by this or any other means.

Forrest


Subject: [PD 5597] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue Jun 21 16:50:48 EDT 2011

Sorry for my assumptions. Colorado adult education now has the Literary Instruction Authorization process as outlined yesterday by Jessie Hawthorn, who supervises the Literacy Instruction Authorization (LIA) http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeadult/cdeadult/LIAIndex.htm which is the credential for adult basic educators in Colorado. This credential has been available since 2004. A percentage of instructors who work for AEFLA funded programs are required to have the LIA. It is also a professional standard for Department of Corrections instructors in Colorado.

Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the course competencies for four required courses http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeadult/download/LIA/Version4/Section2/2.2CourseDesc.pdf:

  • Introduction to Adult Education
  • Planning, Organizing and Delivering Adult Education Instruction
  • Adult Basic Education (ABE)/ Adult Secondary Instruction (ASE)
  • Teaching English as a Second Language to Adults

Family Literacy in Adult Education (optional—was required for adult education instructors in Even Start funded programs). Candidates can either take the course and/or submit a professional portfolio to demonstrate proficiency in the competencies. The LIA is issued by CDE Educator Licensing http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/download/pdf/literacy.pdf.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5603] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Tue Jun 21 16:50:48 EDT 2011

So is this like a "master teacher" certification program? If so, why do you find it a problem. Also, what happens if "a portion" of teachers don’t sign up for it or complete it? Do those who do complete it receive any reward for doing so? Sorry to be so nosy, but this is a new one on me and it sounds very interesting-despite the fact that I am well aware of how CO under-invests in adult education.

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5611] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue Jun 21 22:28:38 EDT 2011

The challenge-not necessarily a problem per se-is that teachers who work so few hours are not often interested in using their own funds and their own free time to pursue an endorsement that is not going to make a difference in their professional lives. Most of our part-time adult educators are either older and this is one of several part-time jobs or they have a credential already and are raising their children and have no time or interest in pursuing such a lengthy form of PD.

It's all part of the thorny question of what constitutes a professional adult educator.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5651] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Hawthorn, Jessie
Date: Wed Jun 22 18:40:20 EDT 2011

The Literacy Instruction Authorization (LIA) certifies foundational knowledge in adult education. It is not a ‘master teacher’ credential. It is a basic standard that the CDE/AEFL office developed to professionalize the field of adult basic education and to work toward giving ALL learners the opportunity to be taught be qualified adult educators. Learners do not know if they are being taught by part-time instructors and should have instructors with the same qualifications as 'full-time' instructors.

We recognize the challenges of having an adult education credential when funding is inadequate to fully address the needs, but we chose to not let that stop us from developing a credential for adult educators. The fact is that legislators and other funders tend to respect and support the field more when there is a credential for instructors.

As I stated in my introduction, a percentage of paid teaching staff in AEFLA-funded programs must have the LIA. The policy is available at http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeadult/download/LIA/Version4/Section10/10.1CompliancePolicy.pdf. Every year over 90% of AEFLA funded programs are in compliance with the LIA policy. Those programs not in compliance submit an improvement plan and we work closely with those programs to support them in obtaining compliance.

I’d be happy to answer any further questions about the LIA. Feel free to email me.

Jessie Hawthorn

LIA Specialist & Learning Needs Coordinator

CDE - Adult Education and Family Literacy Unit
http://www.cde.state.co.us/index_adult.htm

Denver, CO


Subject: [PD 5662] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: Catrina Draffen
Date: Wed Jun 22 19:17:43 EDT 2011

I agree. I am currently trying to get some type of adult education credential. I've worked for six years in an adult education vocational training program, co-teaching and creating all the document, at the same time I went to school for the entire six years employed at an adult education school. Now I have my Master in Education without any credit for teaching, counseling, mentoring, and tutoring adults. What can I do? Now I'm told to take the CBEST and substitute, or return to school for a K-12 Credential. Wow!


Subject: [PD 5653] Re: Credentialing vs. Resources
From: Gina Jarvi
Date: Wed Jun 22 19:14:35 EDT 2011

Warning: This is a bit of a rant...

Most of the teachers in our Minneapolis program are part-time and have Masters Degrees, some in Adult Ed. One can't assume that adjunct or part-time staff are less credentialed or qualified because they are part-time. These teachers are our core. We need resources and support for our adult students so they can stay in school. And we need a new funding system that doesn't penalize programs because adults have complicated lives and have to stop out to work or care for their kids. This, so we can keep our excellent programs and teachers and pay them a respectful wage no matter whether they are part-time or full time. It is often so easy to focus our attention on teachers to correct what is wrong. Why is that? When the system itself is broken.

I realize this is a Professional Development discussion, but some of this conversation has to touch on the systemic issues of "failure" which is somewhat implied by whether we need credentialing or not.

If I had to choose between the need for a credentialing system or an overhaul of the resource/financial system, I would choose the latter.

Gina Jarvi

Computer Teacher Minneapolis Adult Basic Education Minneapolis, MN


6. Evidence for Certification and Credentialing

Subject: [PD 5584] Re: evidence about the value of certification
From: Cristine Smith
Date: Tue Jun 21 12:24:58 EDT 2011

Cristine Smith here. I was surprised to learn, looking at the research from K-12 on teacher quality and teacher characteristics (including certification) that there is little solid evidence that being certified is definitively connected to teacher quality, as indicated by student achievement. The latest reports and reviews say that it is "difficult to determine" what it is, actually, about teachers that contributes to student achievement, even though all agree that teachers ARE the single strongest predictor of student achievement. (Note: I needed to look at the K-12 research since there is really no research in ABE specifically related to teacher quality, teacher characteristics and student outcomes. Admittedly, it is very difficult to do, and costly!)

When I looked closer, I found an interesting hypothesis in two very recent K-12 research studies. One study focused on teacher certification and quality of elementary school teachers; the other focused on teacher certification and quality of secondary school teachers. What I found interesting is that the connection between teacher certification and student achievement was weak for teachers at the elementary level, but that same connection was significant at the secondary level, particularly (if I remember correctly) for math teachers. In other words, teacher certification didn't play that big of a role for primary school teachers, but it did play a somewhat significant role for high school teachers. The hypothesis is that greater subject matter content (which is always part of certification at the secondary level where teachers teach specific subjects like math and science) MAY BE related to higher teacher quality for secondary school teachers, but mastering subject matter content perhaps is not as related to teacher quality for elementary school teachers, who teach all subjects in their single-grade classrooms.

What do you think this means for adult basic education teachers, when some teach low-level reading and writing, and for GED-prep teachers, who do have to teach math, science, social studies as well as reading and writing skills?

As far as whether certification has a monetary value for teachers, we may be in a unique position in our field to answer this question, since K-12 teachers are all required (at some point) to be certified in order to keep teaching. I have not seen any research in ABE about teacher characteristics (including being certified or not) and salary level; has anyone else?

This, then, relates to the need for research on the outcomes of teacher certification specifically for the adult education field that we may want to advocate for as we think about creating a comprehensive and mandatory system of ABE teacher certification. But by no means is everyone in the field interested in more research, since other "functions" for certification, such as improving the stature of the field as a whole, may be the basis of their belief in certification, as I discussed in my post yesterday.

Best, Cris


Subject: [PD 5592] Re: evidence about the value of certification
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Tue Jun 21 13:25:56 EDT 2011

Cris,

Everyone should know that you and I have had this discussion before. In my view, the K-12 research may mean many things, and it's hard to know what. For example, it MAY mean that both the means by which elementary school teachers are presently certified and the measures of student outcomes are poor and need to be improved. Certainly many teachers believe both. If so, the research is not an indictment of certification but a call to "get it right." Alternatively, the research may mean that there are simply so many intervening variables involved in elementary education that researchers in this area haven't been able to control for all of them. In this case, it is a call to make sure that any certification system adopted is evaluated on a continuing basis by improved research.

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5609] Re: why certification? Some functions certification MAY perform
From: Nicole Graves
Date: Tue Jun 21 21:11:02 EDT 2011

Hi everyone and Cristine. Nicole here (from the former PDRN times in MA)

I was among the first ones who went after the ABE license in MA and I renewed it after 5 years. My main reason was for self-assessment in a way. I wanted to demonstrate that I had the knowledge to work in adult education. Having standards to meet was essential. I worked in various fields in education over the course of my career. I always sought certification. I felt it helped me develop as a teacher in any given area (teacher preparation and assurance of quality). There were always standards to meet. For the ABE license, I also felt it was important to the field because it could professionalize it and therefore improve working conditions eventually.

As a program coordinator, I always look for candidates as teachers who meet minimum requirements at least by having some kind of credentials. I would like to have teachers who know about adult development and adult learning theories and how to connect them to practice. All adult educators should know something about learning disabilities and best practices to use in a class with various students. They should also know about methodologies appropriate for adult learners. And finally, they should know about lesson planning.

The MA ABE license is for all ABE practitioners. I found that frustrating as an ESOL teacher. I used my ESOL experience to meet all the standards. That was fine BUT having the ABE license does not assure that a teacher has knowledge about second language learning, methodology, language interference, cultural implications, to name only a few important and specific aspects about ESOL teaching. These should also be standards. Perhaps there should be basic standards for all to meet and two tracks to choose from: ESOL and Pre-GED/GED teaching.

I support the movement for certification to improve quality of delivery and to professionalize the field. We have a long way to go. Practitioners are often part-time workers and volunteers. We cannot demand that they be certified to start. We should provide paid staff development and demand on-going participation in SD activities based on the basic standards mentioned above.

Nicole


6a. Chicken? Egg?

Subject: [PD 5591] chicken? egg?
From: Isserlis, Janet
Date: Tue Jun 21 13:18:44 EDT 2011

Cris mentioned research indicating that credential/teach quality had more bearing on learning in secondary than in elementary years, particularly around content areas and, if I read correctly, math.

Here's my question - IS it the case, MIGHT it be the case that these factors are more critical to secondary students because many learners do not receive the kind of solid foundation in math and numeracy in elementary school but squeak by -- whereas the differences are more visible (and more tested? measured?) in secondary schools? So, in the aggregate a lot of us (esp. before No Child Left Untested) got by in grade school because we could read even if we did not excel in math, but were then all the more dependent upon quality help in escaping/learning algebra and harder math in high school?

I'm probably way off the mark factually, but am wondering about the ways in which that which can be measured will inevitably 'count' more than that which cannot.

Janet Isserlis


Subject: [PD 5599] Re: chicken? egg?
From: Donna Pierce
Date: Tue Jun 21 15:43:39 EDT 2011

Hi, Janet,
"So, in the aggregate a lot of us (esp. before No Child Left Untested ) got by in grade school because we could read even if we did not excel in math, but were then all the more dependent upon quality help in escaping/learning algebra and harder math in high school?"

I think you have a very valid point. It is amazing to me the number of students in adult education math who do not understand the very basics of computation, and the lack is more obvious as the skill levels become more complex. I do not have statistical evidence, but the past year I have had a second instructor on site who is very gifted at breaking down the most basic math skills and, with great patience, helping students gain that solid foundation. When they have completed her instruction, they come to me for higher level math skills and as a result, there have been more level completions in math. These students have a much easier time understanding the higher level math skills, I assume because they are proficient in the basics. It seems that quality instruction at all levels is desirable, particularly in adult education.

By the way, my colleague and I both hold Master of Adult Education degrees, and she has worked hand-in-hand with an adult education teacher (her mom) for several years. While credentialing may not always guarantee a better teacher, successful completion of training, whether in graduate studies or Professional Development, elicits more confidence that quality instruction will be provided.

Donna Pierce, ABE/GED Instructor

Georgia Northwestern Tech College


Subject: [PD 5605] Chicken/Egg
From: Brett Taylor
Date: Tue Jun 21 17:02:47 EDT 2011

Hi,

I am the Training Specialist with the Regional Adult Education Technical Assistance Center (RAETAC) Region V in Rock Hill, SC. I formerly taught ABE and GED classes part-time in the evening for about 15 years and full time for about 3 years in Pinellas County, Florida.

I believe most adult education teachers are part-time teachers, most with full-time day jobs teaching elementary, middle school, or high school. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Teachers typically start teaching these classes to supplement their income and many, like myself, find it wonderful to encounter students who want to learn and are grateful for assistance. A precious few teachers are lucky enough to find a full-time position in adult education.

The large part-time work force presents problems with scheduling trainings. Requiring certification in Adult Ed. is a good idea, but not practical.

As for the lack of math skills in teachers, yes, I have seen that first hand and it is sad. The teachers I worked with knew who on our team to ask if they got stumped helping a student with a problem like, "16 is what percent of 80?". The responsibility for hiring teachers with good skills (math and writing) falls with the principals.

I am new to this format (discussion board) so pardon me if I am not participating according to convention. Any helpful hints are welcome.

Take care,

Brett

Brett Taylor

Interim Region V Training Specialist


Subject: [PD 5739] Re: Chicken/Egg
From: J T
Date: Sat Jun 25 23:47:45 EDT 2011

Hello Brett Taylor!

I apologize for responding to this so late, but I am finally able to read through this discussion. I felt a need to respond to your assumption that AEL teachers are "part timers" with other jobs to support themselves. I am an Intermediate ESL and Adult Literacy instructor. My position is considered part time by my employer, but I consider it full time. I am paid hourly for the 25 hours/week I spend with students in the classroom and receive 30 minutes of paid prep time for every 5 hours I teach (2.5/week). Although I appreciate the paid prep time, it doesn't touch the number of hours I actually spend preparing for my students. I am not paid for Professional Development and if I attend a conference, I do it on my on dime.

Having worked as a full time special education teacher prior to this position, I see a stark difference for compensation between K-12 and adult educators. During my years as a Special Education Teacher, I spent 20-25 hours/week with students in the classroom and was given 5-7 hours/week for planning. I also had a contract which was considerably more money than I make now. Professional Development was built into the school year calendar and if I wanted to attend a conference, my school district paid for it. There are more inequities between the two...too many to list. If I didn't enjoy this work so much, I would have found another profession a long time ago.

Jeanne Van Lengen-Taylor


6b. Who We Are-What We Want

Subject: [PD 5617] who we are, what we want
From: Janet Isserlis
Date: Wed Jun 22 09:00:17 EDT 2011

I'm not sure that we're all part time teachers with day jobs in K-12-many of us piece together part time work in adult education, in varying programs.

I'm also not sure that it's a matter of interest as much as a lack of leadership or support from program directors (in some cases) and/or a lack of resources to enable programs to support part time people wishing to strengthen their skills through continued participation in meaningful PD opportunities.

Janet Isserlis


Subject: [PD 5627] Re: who we are, what we want
From: Fran T. de Sousa
Date: Wed Jun 22 12:01:43 EDT 2011

Janet, I agree on a lack of resources being the main problem-although there are even many free classes available in adult education-many teachers cannot afford to take them because of the low salary they are living on. We waste a lot of talent because of this. Considering we serve students who the K-12 programs were not able to- it is a multiple loss.

Frances Tornabene de Sousa


Subject: [PD 5634] Re: who we are, what we want
From: Debra Harlow
Date: Wed Jun 22 13:26:41 EDT 2011

I cannot agree that there is a lack of resources for professional development of part-time or full-time adult ed. faculty. In NC, we have many professional development opportunities provided at the local, regional and state level. Each local program decides how they will use their budget for professional development.

As a local Adult Basic Skills (ABS) Director, I am offering more professional development opportunities than I can get our ABS faculty to attend. We pay our instructors for each hour of professional development activity and pay for any expenses involved. For example, the NC Basic Skills Conference is offered to at least ten of our local ABS employees annually. We pay the registration fees, meals, hotel, travel, and compensate part-timers for the total time in workshops which is usually twelve to fifteen hours. (The part-time ABS employees' professional development pay rate is $13.50 an hour which is less than their instructional rate per hour.) It is often a struggle to get these ten slots filled for this conference! It is not a matter of money. It seems to be a matter of time: time away from family, etc.

I think the bottom line for our ABS faculty participation in professional development is first whether it will be paid time and other expenses involved. Second, I think it is a matter of priorities which is also linked to whether there is any opportunity to invest in adult ed. as a career or not. The career ladder is limited in adult literacy for full time employment and that is not encouraging.

Debra B. Harlow

Director, Adult Basic Skills Program

Piedmont Community College

Roxboro, NC


6c. Need for Content Mastery

Subject: [PD 5590] Need for Mastery of Content in Adult Educators
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue Jun 21 13:15:31 EDT 2011

As Cristine Smith notes:
"The hypothesis is that greater subject matter content (which is always part of certification at the secondary level where teachers teach specific subjects like math and science) MAY BE related to higher teacher quality for secondary school teachers, but mastering subject matter content perhaps is not as related to teacher quality for elementary school teachers, who teach all subjects in their single-grade classrooms.

What do you think this means for adult basic education teachers, when some teach low-level reading and writing, and for GED-prep teachers, who do have to teach math, science, social studies as well as reading and writing skills?"

Can there be much doubt about the correlation between weak teacher ed departments--and specifically, weak teacher training in math and writing--and our students' lackluster scores on those two GED subtests compared to Sci/SS/Reading?

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5596] Re: Need for Mastery of Content in Adult Educators
From: James Witte
Date: Tue Jun 21 13:56:27 EDT 2011

Perhaps we should look beyond the secondary education certification models.
http://www.edreform.com/Archive/?Study_Finds_Certified_Teachers_Arent_Always_the_Most_Qualified Very interesting discussion, thus far.

witte

James E. Witte, Ph.D.

Coordinator, Adult & Higher Education Programs

Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology

Auburn University, AL


Subject: [PD 5600] Re: Need for Mastery of Content in Adult Educators
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Tue Jun 21 16:36:54 EDT 2011

It's also the case that teaching math, reading/writing, and ESL are very distinct skill sets. I wonder what the research shows about teachers who have endorsements in any of these areas and student outcomes (e.g. reading, math, or ESL specialists at lower grades)? I think something like endorsements in various areas of AE characterizes what would comprise a meaningful credentialing system in our field-since most AE teachers have K-12 certifications.

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5601] endorsements
From: Isserlis, Janet
Date: Tue Jun 21 16:44:05 EDT 2011

again

it would matter/depend on the institution offering the endorsement. Some programs are stronger than others; many are focused on K-12 contexts and "make room" for adult education participants in their cohorts.

An endorsement-evidence of work in a content area-can be useful, but as we're seeing, this knowledge is only a small part of the overall skill set required to work with adult learners.

Janet


Subject: [PD 5607] Re: endorsements
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Tue Jun 21 19:33:20 EDT 2011

No, I mean an endorsement that is specific to AE, and/or endorsements in particular areas of AE. I know nobody offers this now. But practically nobody offers any academic product useful for certification in AE, as far as I can tell-except for a few MA programs like Bob's. Thus, if we want certification via the academic route, we're going to have to specify what should be created, and how to build a market for it. Alternatively the "endorsement" could be non-academic-in the strict sense of the term. It might be offered by a state or a professional association-using basically the same logic.

Forrest Chisman


6d. Graduate Programs in Adult Education and TESOL

Subject: [PD 5620] Re: endorsements
From: Anderson, Philip
Date: Wed Jun 22 10:46:53 EDT 2011

Forrest,

In your post (#5607) you mentioned there are "a few MA programs like Bob's" that offer a useful academic product for certification in AE. Could you share the names/websites of these programs?

Phil Anderson

Adult ESOL Program

Florida Department of Education


Subject: [PD 5630] Re: MA AE Programs
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Wed Jun 22 12:42:46 EDT 2011

That's a fair question. Actually Bob Hughes and Cris Smith were my primary sources on this, and perhaps they can help to flesh out the list. As I recall we had a hard time finding programs, and most of those we found didn't have very many students. I recall that both Hamline University in Minnesota and the U. of Minnesota were on the list, as well as Virginia Commonwealth U. in Richmond, U. of Delaware, and U. of D.C. I THINK U. of Georgia was on the list. Doubtless there are more, and I hope others will contribute names. Sadly Rutgers, which was a leader in this field, recently discontinued its program-I think because of a shortage of students. Of course, there are many MA TESOL programs. Miriam would be in the best position to refer us to a list of them. The problem is that we were told few of them have a specialty in ADULT ESL. Some adult ESL experts told us they don't think this matters, others told us they think it does. Of the programs I reviewed, I was most intrigued by the Hamline program, because it is available online. I also think that the program created by College of Lake County - and described by Suzanne Leibman in a post today-is outstanding, and I see no reason why it can't be replicated (with some elbow grease!).

Personally, I have come to the conclusion that the shortage of these programs is the proverbial "chicken and egg" problem: individual programs/states don't require advanced degrees in AE, and they usually provide no reward for anyone to obtain one, so very few people sign up for the considerable cost in time and money required. That is, at bottom, C&C can't go very far via the academic route unless and until programs/states/the feds. are willing to invest more money in it. I may be wrong about that, however. Suzanne's program is essentially self-financing-and perhaps she can explain how. Also, of course, there are routes to certification that do not entail advanced degrees-see the discussions in both Cris Smith's CAAL paper and mine on programs in MA, VA, and TX, for example.

Forrest


Subject: [PD 5632] Programs with MA degrees in adult education and/or TESOL
From: Hughes, Robert
Date: Wed Jun 22 13:17:32 EDT 2011

Phil,

Generating a list of MA programs in adult education has all kinds of challenges. But I bet that we could begin a pretty good attempt at generating a preliminary list through this discussion. If people reply to to me directly at rhughes at seattleu.edu with names of universities that offer master's degrees in adult education and TESOL (please identify which), I'll compile the list and send it out to all.

Again, don't reply to the entire list. Just send it to me directly at rhughes at seattleu.edu .

Bob H.

Bob Hughes, Ed. D.

Associate Professor of Adult Education

Seattle University

Seattle, WA


Subject: [PD 5638] Re: MA AE Programs
From: Hughes, Robert
Date: Wed Jun 22 13:57:17 EDT 2011

Forrest,

Your recollection and analysis are correct. Universities are driven by enrollments and it's challenging to maintain enrollments in programs that prepare people for TESOL/ABE. Typically, the programs that survive are the ones that bring in students who have varying career plans. In my own program, that means that we offer three tracks: ABE, TESOL, and Human Resource Development (corporate training and professional development). The recession brought us a surge of new enrollments, but those were mostly in HRD. As those new enrollees were laid off or companies stopped providing educational benefits, we lost some of them. So we're being creative and finding new ways to attract students by offering certificates or standalone courses online. The Rutgers program loss was a big blow to adult education. But, fortunately, some universities continue a commitment to adult education, even in tough fiscal times.

Complementary to the issue of certification is the need for leadership in adult education. Master's degrees in adult education have prepared many folks to be the local and regional leaders who move our field forward. Graduate degrees are a critical component of any field's ability to build for its future, so it's critical to find ways to maintain and build the programs we have.

Maybe we should start a "support your local adult education graduate program" campaign... :-)

Bob H.

Bob Hughes, Ed. D.

Associate Professor of Adult Education

Seattle University

Seattle, WA


Subject: [PD 5648] Re: MA AE Program in Colorado
From: Hawthorn, Jessie
Date: Wed Jun 22 18:08:32 EDT 2011

The CDE Adult Education and Family Literacy office has partnered with Colorado State University to align existing courses with course competencies in the Literacy Instruction Authorization (LIA) and to create a new course-Teaching ESL to Adults. LIA candidates can take undergraduate courses or graduate courses. We listened to feedback from the field during focus groups when we established the partnership with CSU. More information about the Adult Education and Training program is available at www.learn.colostate.edu/degrees/aet-online/. The courses that address LIA competencies are EDAE 520 Adult Learning, EDAE 590 Teaching ESL to Adults and EDAE 620 Processes and Methods.

More information about the LIA is available at http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeadult/LIAIndex.htm.

Jessie Hawthorn

LIA Specialist & Learning Needs Coordinator

CDE - Adult Education and Family Literacy Unit
http://www.cde.state.co.us/index_adult.htm

Denver, CO


Subject: [PD 5652] Re: Programs with MA degrees in adult education and/or TESOL
From: Jodi Crandall
Date: Wed Jun 22 18:55:50 EDT 2011

Hi all. I'm sorry to be late in joining this conversation, but my knowledge of this area is focused on adult ESL and I feared that this was too narrow. However, I do want to let people know that TESOL maintains a directory of all MA and PhD programs in TESOL. The problem is that it isn't clear from the entries which programs focus specifically on adult ESL. I looked through all the entries when I was putting together a publication on "Adult ESL Teacher Credentialing and Certification" in 2008 with Genesis Ingersoll and Jacquie Lopez at the Center for Applied Linguistics and found a few, including the Hamline online certificate that has been mentioned.

As part of that brief, we attempted to get the most current information on any requirements that each state has for initial hiring of adult ESL teachers and also for continuing professional development. We also discuss some of the arguments in support of and against certification, many of which have been expressed in this fascinating discussion. I am very interested in the specific state or program information that some of you are providing, as it may update the information that we provided in the table that you can also access in the document.

On a personal note, I believe that teachers learn a great deal on the job, but I also believe that they need specific preparation in the form of content knowledge and teaching practices before they begin teaching, similar to what Lynda Ginsburg mentioned in her posting on math. There is quite a lot of agreement in the field of TESOL on the knowledge and skills needed by teachers of adult ESL and even a set of standards for ESL teachers of adults that TESOL has published. That said, I think we also need to find ways in which teachers can demonstrate their growing knowledge and skills in some kind of credentialing process.

If you want to access the certification and credentialing document, you can find it at:
http://www.cal.org/CAELA/esl_resources/briefs/tchrcred.html

Note that the table of information for each state is provided in a separate document that you can access through this one.

Jodi


JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall

Professor and Director

Language, Literacy and Culture Ph.D. Program

University of Maryland Baltimore County

Baltimore, MD


Subject: [PD 5654] Re: MA AE programs
From: Gina Jarvi
Date: Wed Jun 22 20:24:42 EDT 2011

Forrest, et al~

You mentioned Hamline University in MN as having AE programs. Very true. As a matter of fact that is where I earned my MA TEFL Certificate. Hamline University is now home to ATLAS, MN ABE's Professional Development arm. In 2009, ATLAS teamed up with the MN Department of Ed and conducted a survey of our profession. You can read a synopsis here: http://www.hamline.edu/education/atlas/surveys.html

You can also visit Atlas' website here: http://www.atlasabe.org/

This has been a very rich PD experience for all of us who have struggled with less for many years. They offer many kinds of enrichment for many kinds of teaching, including tech and workforce. Most recently, the MN Numeracy Initiative has made an enormous impact on developing excellence in teaching math for both ELL and GED teachers. Peer Mentoring, Practitioner Research, STAR (evidence-based reading instruction), and much much more. For those of us with years of experience, but who are hungry for higher level PD, this project has raised the bar and has made us feel challenged by the learning that takes place. It is also current. It is also ABE based. An excellent model to consider.

Gina Jarvi

Computer Teacher

Minneapolis Adult Basic Education

1500 James Ave. N

Minneapolis, MN


Subject: [PD 5655] Re: Programs with MA degrees in adult education and/or TESOL
From: Kimberly A. Johnson
Date: Wed Jun 22 21:33:57 EDT 2011

Like Jodi, I haven't jumped in yet, but have been following with great interest and thank everyone for adding to this great discussion.

I work at Hamline University in St Paul, MN. We currently have a graduate Adult ESL Certificate, 8 credits, that is offered in both face-to-face and online formats. It can be used as a "stackable" credential, because teachers can also apply those credits toward the MA-ESL degree. I'm proud to say that we have a lot of adult ESL teachers in MN with advanced degrees, but as Gina Jarvi mentioned in another post, many of these very qualified teachers have trouble finding full-time positions and many struggle to find something with decent pay and benefits. That is frustrating, because there is no shortage of need.

So, as others have said, the issue of credentialing is only one piece of professionalizing the field. It is also about working conditions and larger structural issues like the way that ABE is funded.

Kim Johnson

ATLAS Director/Assistant Professor

Hamline University, St Paul, MN


Subject: [PD 5658] Re: Programs with MA degrees in adult education and/or TESOL
From: David Greig
Date: Thu Jun 23 00:28:59 EDT 2011

Hello All,

Excuse me for the late response but my work has consumed me lately. This topic is near and dear to my heart as I have been involved in adult education for over 25 years both in the Yukon Territory and British Columbia, Canada. I have read your emails and have been fascinated with the variety of learning areas that people are involved in. My concern, though, is that the discussion about awarding credentials is about content knowledge and not about the knowledge of working with adult learners.

Yes, content is important but so is knowing how to work with adults of many backgrounds, abilities, cultures, experiences and learnings. Therefore, I do not think content should take precedence over adult education knowledge. I suggest that we be mindful of the difference between providing adult education or education for adults. If this can be sorted out, then content does not become something that one adult has and another does not.

I did an Adult Education Diploma Program at the University of British Columbia but for grass routes andragogy look at the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.

Thank you,

David Grieg, BA, Prof. Teaching Cert., Ad. Ed. Dip., MEd., HTR

Chair and Instructor

Employment Training and Preparation Programs

Camosun College

Victoria, BC

Canada


Subject: [PD 5693] Re: Degrees of Education for Adult Education Instructors.
From: Hilda Dudley
Date: Thu Jun 23 17:28:29 EDT 2011

Hello everyone,

I am a little late joining this discussion but I do have some concerns. Some of you say we should have all day classes for Adult Education; try keeping these students in the classroom that long. Others say all Adult Education Instructors should be highly qualified, well let's look at this; these students have already been with highly qualified teachers and what happened?

I teach Adult Education for Bevill State Community College, in Alabama and get students too often that are straight from high school to my class that read on 2nd and 3rd grade levels, don't know there address, do not know their multiplication tables, and cannot do basic math. I work with them and they get their GED. I do not have a Masters but I have mastered my job.

What it takes to work and help these people is dedication, determination and a desire to get down to their level in society and forget about the finer things in life and help them. We are not educating them per se as a K-12 does we are educating them on what is on the test and making sure they know enough to pass the test. We teach them what it takes to get a job and keep the job and encourage them to attend college and show them how to overcome the fears of failure they have lived with all their life.

The majority of my class this year has been special education students that should have never been in special education they should have been taught as the others in school were, most of these got their GED and the others will when we return for this next year. I am dedicated to my job and helping my people and I look for any methods I need to help a person achieve its goals. I enjoy taking training courses but you do not need to be a rocket scientist to teach a person.

Hilda Dudley


Subject: [PD 5736] Graduate programs in adult education and TESOL
From: Hughes, Robert
Date: Sat Jun 25 14:48:55 EDT 2011

Colleagues,

I've compiled the names of graduate programs in adult education and TESOL that people sent me this week. I compared each list to lists already compiled by two professional organizations (CPAE and TESOL), and found that there are some names of programs that people sent me that aren't on those lists. With each category, I've first provided the link to the professional organization's list. Following that link are the names of programs I received that aren't on the CPAE or TESOL lists.

A caveat on all this: Remember that this is a list of programs that people sent me. The programs I'm listing haven't been filtered in a way that identifies what sort of programs that these institutions really offer. In my experiences, there are programs which offer degrees in adult education, but are adjuncts to a general master's degree in education and without dedicated faculty who are adult educators. If you're looking for a graduate program, I encourage you to take time to look for a program that truly has a focus on adult education, with faculty whose expertise and scholarship are in the area.

Thanks to all who sent me names of programs.

Bob H.

Bob Hughes, Ed. D.

Associate Professor of Adult Education

Seattle University

Seattle, WA

PROGRAMS:

The Commission of Professors for Adult Education (CPAE) keeps a list of programs that offer degrees in adult education. The link to that list (which has contact information and Web addresses) is: http://www.uni-bamberg.de/fileadmin/andragogik/08/andragogik/andragogy/intnatlink.htm

The following programs that people sent are not on the CPAE list:

Auburn University

Cornell University

Fielding Institute

Florida State University

Fordham University

Memorial University of Newfoundland

North Dakota State University

Nova Southeastern University

Portland State University

San Francisco State University

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Teachers College, Columbia University

University of Cincinnati

University of Denver

University of Guelph

University of Missouri-Columbia

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

University of Oklahoma

University of South Carolina

University of South Florida

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Walden University

Widener University

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) publishes a list of colleges and universities that offer graduate degrees in their field. That list is online at: http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=124&DID=429

The following programs that people sent are not on the TESOL list:

National Louis University in Chicago, Illinois

University of Washington in Seattle


Subject: [PD 5740] Re: Graduate programs in adult education and TESOL
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Sun Jun 26 13:33:55 EDT 2011

Dear List Members,

I would like to add my own caveat to the lists of adult education graduate programs recently sent to you under this heading by Bob Hughes. I commend Bob for his dedication and service in circulating the lists. However, I am familiar with some of these programs, and based on that familiarity I would caution that the lists should be read with the following caution in mind.

As we all know, the term "adult education" is used to refer to many different types of service/instruction, both in the academic world and elsewhere. In the recent discussion by members of this List, it refers to ABE/GED instruction—basic skills instruction for adults with limited basic skills. At some (possibly many) universities, however, "adult education" degree programs primarily (often exclusively) focus on what is often called "human resource development" or "human training." These programs primarily prepare students for careers in corporate or business training. And there is a good market for them. In addition, some "adult education" degree programs focus on developmental education for postsecondary school students. Finally, some provide professional development to adult education teachers, but not degrees in adult education, as such.

As far as I can tell, the lists Bob was able to generate contain programs of all of these types. This is a valuable first step in zeroing in on the academic resources available to prepare teachers for "adult education" in the sense that we have been using the term. However, I think that anyone interested in any particular program (or in estimating the sum total of "adult education" degree programs) would be well advised to dig more deeply into the programs on Bob's list to determine exactly what their focus is. This would be a worthy undertaking for a graduate student, if any of you have a spare one looking for a project.

As far as I know, the TESOL lists are accurate, but I am less familiar with those programs or with the various types of TESOL and related certifications and degrees.

Forrest Chisman

CAAL


Subject: [PD 5741] Re: Graduate programs in adult education and TESOL
From: James Witte
Date: Sun Jun 26 14:05:33 EDT 2011

A colleague provided the list shown below some time ago. If you find any that need correction and/or updating I would appreciate your response as I am sure the list custodian would as well.

In reviewing the discussion I believe that we as practitioners and scholars in the field contribute to clouding the issue by our limited reference to "Adult Basic Education (ABE)" as a means of differentiating GED/literacy skills from other "branches" of adult education. The term adult education is one shoe that does not fit all feet.

regards

witte


Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina - (Master's)

Auburn University, Alabama - (Master's, Specialist & Doctorate)

Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana - (Master's)

Buffalo State University, Buffalo, New York - (Master's)

Capella University, Minneapolis, Minnesota - (Certificate, Master's & Doctorate)

Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina - (Bachelor and Master's in HRD)

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado - (Master's)

Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, Missouri - (Master's)

Columbia University - Teacher College, New York, New York - (Master's & Doctorate)

Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio - (Master's)

Cornell University - Agricultural, Extension, and Adult Education

Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa - (Master's)

East Carolina University (Master’s)

Florida AM University

Florida Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida - (Master's)

Florida International University, Miami, Florida - (Doctorate)

Fordham University, New York, New York - (Master's)

Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia - (Master's)

Indiana College Network - Distance Learning from Indiana Colleges and Universities, - (Master's)

Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania - (Master's)

Interwork Institute

Iowa State University

James Madison University (Master’s)

Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas - (Master's and Doctorate)

Kansas State University - Adult and Continuing Education, Manhattan, Kansas - (Master's)

Lesley College

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan - (Master's and Doctorate)

Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana - (Master's and Doctorate)

Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky - (Master's)

National-Louis University, Chicago, Illinois - (Master's Online)

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina - (Master's)

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina - (Master's, Certificate, and Doctorate)

Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois - (Master's and Doctorate)

Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana - (Master's)

Norwick University

Oklahoma State University

Oregon State University (Master’s)

Penn State University

Radford University

Rutgers University

Seattle University

SUNY, Buffalo

Syracuse University

Troy State University, Montgomery, Alabama - (Master's)

Temple University

Texas A&M University, College Station

University of Alaska, Anchorage (Master's)

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

University of Arkansas, Little Rock (M.Ed.)

University of Central Oklahoma (M.Ed.)

University of Connecticut M.A., Ph.D.

University of Georgia, Athens (M.Ed., Ed.S. Ph.D.)

University of Idaho (M.Ed., M.S., Ed.D., Ph.D.)

University of Memphis

University of Minnesota

University of Missouri, Columbia

University of Northern Colorado Greeley, Colorado

University of Rhode Island

University of Southern Maine

University of Southern Mississippi

University of South Florida (M.A., Ed.S., Ed.D., Ph.D.)

University of Tennessee, Knoxville (M.S., Ed.D.)

University of Texas, Austin

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (Master’s, Ph.D.)

University of Wyoming

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (M.S., Ph.D.)

Western Washington University (Masters)
Online Adult Education Programs

The University of Georgia's Department of Adult Education: On-line Master's of Education (M.Ed.) Degree

Auburn University, College of Education, M.Ed. in Adult Education
United Kingdom

University of Glasgow, UK

University of Exeter, UK

University of Nottingham
Canada

The Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counseling Psychology - University of Toronto

University of Victoria - Certificate in Adult and Continuing Education

Brock University

University of British Columbia

Cambrian College of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Henson College, Canada

St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
People Republic of China

Peking University, People Republic of China
Australia

Northern Territory University

Griffith University, Australia
Other countries

Department of Adult and Non-Formal Education (DANFE) - Faculty of Education, University of Namibia, SAIDE
Communities

Adult Education Resources, Canada

Cambridge Center for Adult Education

Center for Adult Learning and Literacy (Maine)

Internet Directory of Literacy & Adult Education Resources

The YMCA of Philadelphia & Vicinity

Other resources

Links from Andragogy Net
SOURCE:

ADULT AND CONTINUING EDUCATION

306 Stone Bldg.

Tallahassee, FL 32306-4451

Telephone: (850) 644 8165 - Fax: (850) 644 6401

E-mail: adult-ed at garnet.acns.fsu.edu

Copyright © Florida State University - [fsu seal]

All Rights Reserved

James E. Witte, Ph.D.

Coordinator, Adult & Higher Education Programs

Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology

4036 Haley Center

Auburn University, AL


Subject: [PD 5742] Re: Graduate programs in adult education and TESOL
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Sun Jun 26 15:04:35 EDT 2011

Hi Everyone,

Jim Witte, thanks for sharing this list. I have not seen it before and I haven't seen it posted to this forum. Clearly there's a need and interest for connecting adult educators who work in the field of adult education and literacy (ABE, GED, ASE, adult ELA, family literacy, corrections, and so forth) to graduate programs that will help them towards their own higher education goals.

Thanks to Bob Hughes for compiling an updated list and to Forrest Chisman for helping us to understand the differences that we should watch for when seeking graduate programs.

Best,

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

Jackie at jataylor.net


Subject: [PD 5743] Re: Graduate programs in adult education and TESOL
From: Robert Leier
Date: Sun Jun 26 15:38:19 EDT 2011

Bob,

Jim Witte and I, from Auburn University, have a combined Adult Education/ESL/EFL graduate certificate under curriculum review that should be approved by Fall 2011. We believe this combined graduate certificate in Adult Education and ESL/EFL is unique. The graduate certificate came about in response to an interest of adult education graduate students wanting background in ESOL and ESOL graduate students wanting background in adult education. I also have a separate ESL/EFL graduate certificate that prepares English language teachers to serve K through adult.

Thanks for compiling the list.

Bob Leier

Robert D. Leier, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor &

Graduate Programs Coordinator

English to Speakers of Other Languages

Department of Curriculum and Teaching

College of Education, Auburn University

Auburn, AL


Subject: [PD 5744] Re: Graduate programs in adult education and TESOL
From: Robert Leier
Date: Sun Jun 26 15:59:17 EDT 2011

Jim,

I am pleased that you have emphasized the point of how adult education has many branches. For example in the field of ESOL, we have to prepare teachers to work with adult students who have little or no formal education to those with doctorate degrees. There are also many opportunities for those ESOL teachers to work with adults in church based-English programs, English for special purposes (ESP) such as in the medical and business fields, TOEFL and university based language skill development programs, and through private tutoring situations in the U.S. and overseas. This is just to mention a few.

Bob Leier

ESOL-Auburn


Subject: [PD 5752] Re: Graduate programs in adult education and TESOL
From: Kimberly A. Johnson
Date: Mon Jun 27 13:14:27 EDT 2011

I'd like to highlight another institution: Hamline University in St Paul, MN which has a number of options for adult ESL teaching:

We are currently developing:

  • Adult Basic Education Certificate - 13-15 graduate credits (this should be in place by Spring 2012)
  • Adult Basic Education Additional License - 13-15 grad credits (for currently MN licensed teachers)
  • Adult Ed emphasis for the current MA Ed program (should be in place 2012)

Thanks to everyone for sharing!

Kim Johnson

ATLAS Director/Assistant Professor

Hamline University, St Paul, MN


Subject: [PD 5754] Re: Bob's Fantasy to Fruition
From: SUZANNE SMYTHE
Date: Mon Jun 27 15:39:04 EDT 2011

I agree this is a wonderful and very sound vision of professional development for adult literacy educators.

I would like to add to the evolving list of existing professional development programs in adult education Simon Fraser University's Certificate in Literacy Instruction (based near Vancouver, BC, Canada). This has been recently re-designed, updated and listed in the calendar. The goal is to attract and support newcomers to the field of adult literacy (we are getting older!) and to create vital mentoring links between these newcomers and seasoned and experienced educators (who are quickly retiring!). In the spirit of a tiered system of professional development, we are also putting the finishing touches on a post-baccalaureate in adult and community literacy.

A challenge though, is just as we create these opportunities our provincial and federal governments are cutting funding for adult literacy and basic education left, right and centre. Another challenge, which I find exciting, is to incorporate digital technologies, new literacies and ideas of universal design as innovations in the field, just as more regressive views of literacy ascend.

You can read a calendar description of the certificate here: http://students.sfu.ca/calendar/education/literacy_instruct_cert.html

or visit us on Facebook (SFU Certificate in Literacy Instruction).

Suzanne Smythe


Subject: [PD 5757] Adult Education University Degree Programs listed on the ALE Wiki
Date: David J. Rosen
From: Mon Jun 27 18:12:50 EDT 2011

Colleagues,

Here's a reminder that the Adult Literacy Education (ALE) Wiki has a section (in the Professional Development area) on graduate degree programs for adult education, including ESL/ESOL, at:
http://wiki.literacytent.org/index.php/University_Degree_Programs

If your graduate program is not listed there, or needs updating—since it's a wiki—you can make needed changes or additions yourself.

David J. Rosen


7. Certification and Credentialing Models and Considerations

Subject: [PD 5614] Day Three: Models and Considerations for Certification and Credentialing Systems
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Wed Jun 22 10:03:34 EDT 2011

Dear Professional Development List,

Yesterday, we talked in-depth about whether we should have teacher credentialing and certification systems in adult education and what evidence exists for or against it. An archive of Day One and Day Two can be found at: http://wiki.literacytent.org/index.php/Teacher_Certification_and_Credentialing_in_Adult_Education

Today, I encourage us to make time to explore models for certification and credentialing.

What are some of the different models for certifying or credentialing both pre-service and in-service teachers to work with adults? What resources are available to us on various models? What are key considerations for certification and credentialing systems in adult education and how do different models accommodate them?

Let's hear some examples and considerations on this today.

Many thanks,

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/


Subject: [PD 5618] IDP model
From: Roberts, Roland (NBCC - Saint John)
Date: Wed Jun 22 10:39:19 EDT 2011

Greetings,

In the province of New Brunswick at the Community College we are required to take an Instructor Development Program during the first years of employment which is offered free of charge (subsidized) for two summers and during the year online courses are offered. In turn this offering credits toward a certificate or degree in adult education.

Roland Roberts


Subject: [PD 5624] Re: IDP model, Online PD for Adult Ed? Great idea!
From: Brett Taylor
Date: Wed Jun 22 11:11:17 EDT 2011

Hey Roland,

I like the idea of online courses for adult ed teacher training purposes. It would be ideal if there were (is there?) a nationwide, or North American, association for adult education teachers?

If so it would be fantastic to have live, and recorded, online sessions covering basic concepts such as characteristics of adult learners, retention, methodologies, pros and cons of open enrollment, along with guest presenters who have special areas of expertise. This could be used for CE credit too.

If anyone is willing to be a volunteer presenter, I can contact a group in Florida that may let us use their Elluminate (now Blackboard Elluminate) format/license to conduct trainings live and also record the sessions for those unable to attend live.

Any volunteers to conduct a session?

If you are unfamiliar with the Elluminate format, email me privately and I will send you a link and schedule of classes being conducted regularly from Florida for ABE and GED students. That way you can take a peek at how it works.

Brett Taylor

Region V Training Specialist


Subject: [PD 5621] FW: Models for Certification and Credentialing to Teach Adults—Texas Credential
From: Janysek, Michelle
Date: Wed Jun 22 10:54:20 EDT 2011

Good morning!

Texas has offered both a Teacher Credential and an Administrator Credential for several years. Our website contains a PowerPoint presentation that explains both in further detail so that you can examine it at your convenience http://www.tei.education.txstate.edu/credential/alreadyenrolled/enrolledteacher.html. It is titled, COABE 2009.

A brief explanation of how the Texas Teacher Credential works follows:

  • Teachers complete a Professional Development Planning Workshop (PDPW). This is done either face-to-face or online (you can view the first 3 modules on our website, http://www.tei.education.txstate.edu/credential/TchrRegistration.html). At the PDPW, teachers learn how to plan for and make conscious choices regarding professional development.
  • Teachers create unique individualized Professional Development Plans. The Professional Development Plan serves as a guide; it is a living document and is intended to change as the needs of the teacher change. Professional development included on the plan should relate to the Six Core Content Areas: 1) Principles of Adult Learning, 2) the Teaching/Learning Transaction, 3) Diverse Learning Styles, Abilities and Cultures, 4) Integrating Technology into Adult Learning, 5) Accountability and Assessment, and 6) Contextual Learning. (You may view the 6 Core Content Areas in more detail on our website, http://www.tei.education.txstate.edu/credential/alreadyenrolled/enrolledteacher.html).
  • Teachers complete professional development. The Texas Teacher Credential takes professional development further than knowledge attainment by requiring that teachers implement what they learn from professional development in their classroom.
  • Teachers engage in formal, structured reflective practice. Following the implementation of the knowledge or skills obtained from a professional development event, teachers reflect upon the experience and write a reflection that is submitted to an electronic portfolio. Reflections are written to meet the performance standards specified in a formal rubric that was developed using a lengthy, rigorous process. The reflective process is focused on the ultimate bottom line…student outcomes. In the reflection teachers: 1) provide an overview of the PD they completed, 2) discuss the purpose of the PD and their rationale for selecting it, 3) discuss how they applied what they learned in their classroom, 4) evaluate the outcomes following implementation in terms of instructional effectiveness and they provide evidence of student outcomes, 5) discuss how the learned knowledge/skill relates to and builds upon their previous knowledge/skills and how the knowledge/skill has been incorporated into their practice. (You may view The Reflection Writing Rubric on our website, http://www.tei.education.txstate.edu/credential/alreadyenrolled/enrolledteacher.html).

Reflections are uploaded into the teacher's electronic portfolio where they are scored. Reflections are evaluated (blind) by a minimum of 2 independent scorers following assessment industry standards for Focused Holistic Scoring. Reflections that meet the performance standards specified in the rubric are approved. Reflections that do not meet the performance standards are returned to the teacher with detailed feedback so that they can be revised and resubmitted. The written reflections are worth points and the point structure is based upon professional development. The Credential places a greater importance on those professional development options that are focused and sustained over time by awarding these options with higher point values (example: a 1 day workshop is worth 5 points, a university-based graduate course is worth 35 points). Once a teacher has earned 150 points (spread among the Six Core Content Areas) they are eligible to be awarded the Credential.

Feel free to contact me should you have questions.

D. Michelle Janysek, Ph.D.

Texas Adult Education Credential Project

The Education Institute

Texas State University-San Marcos


Subject: [PD 5626] Re: Day Three: Models and Considerations for Certification and Credentialing Systems
From: Meagen Howe
Date: Wed Jun 22 11:21:35 EDT 2011

Greetings all! I haven't been active in the discussion the past two days, but I am an educational consultant specializing in non-profits providing literacy services through volunteers & part time staff. My current projects in Cleveland include an AmeriCorps program called NEO Literacy Corps, a faith-based collaborative of adult literacy/GED tutoring services called Learning for Life, and am starting a county-wide collaboration to provide quality tutor training.

What we are looking to either purchase or create is a curriculum/process for tutor/part time instructor training and certification. Ideally we are looking for training we can take "on the road" to different agencies, leads to changes in observable instructional behavior, and provides clear expectations and benchmarks that can then be measured to qualify for certification. I really like ProLiteracy's Trainer Certification process that involves a difficult multiple choice test on content knowledge in either ESL or ABE (I've seen K-12 certified teachers fail it!) as well as a mentoring process with a specific metric of skills that need to be observed in training. If we could have a similar model for Tutor Certification (that could also be required for part time staff) that would be ideal for our needs. ProLiteracy does provide content for tutor training, but not a certification process like exists for trainers. For years, I've seen program after program (myself included) train based on what we "need to present" instead of what the tutors "need to know how to do" and we want to change that orientation.

Does anyone out there use a Tutor Certification? What does it look like? How are those tutors then used in the instruction of your program?

I want to describe the type of "classroom" we use in the volunteer-based Learning for Life program, because our model presents some unique opportunities & challenges. We have deemed our model the "Mustard Seed Community". Each organization has two or more trained Site Managers coordinating volunteer tutors to provide individualized instruction during a specific day & time at a non-profit that is already providing other services (for example, tutoring every Tuesday 1-3pm at a shelter, food bank, church). It is evidence-based in that it draws on research on working with marginalized & traumatized individuals by working at accessible sites, providing very few barriers to participation, and allowing the learner to guide the encounter.

Recent stats show that 72% of our learners are aiming for the GED or above; others want to build basic skills for a job or personal enrichment. I've heard folks refer to this as a "literacy lab" or "church basement" type of program. Content expertise is not an issue for established programs because the volunteers include a mix of engineers, retired elementary school teachers, authors, college professors, construction workers...there's always someone else present we can ask to teach geometry or low level reading and at times the learners teach each other. What we NEED are volunteer tutors who are patient, motivating, and know how to build trusting relationships. We can screen for compassion & mission orientation, but can we teach it?

Meagen Farrell Howe

CEO, Educational Consultant

Farrell Ink, LLC

Cleveland, OH


Subject: [PD 5635] Re: How Important is Credentialing and Certification in Adult Education?
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Wed Jun 22 13:30:02 EDT 2011

Dear Terry,

Your post refers to a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). That's a new one for me, and possibly others. But it sounds interesting. Can you explain what it consists of and who sponsors it?

Forrest Chisman

CAAL


Subject: [PD 5637] Re: How Important is Credentialing and Certification in Adult Education?
From: Terry Shearer
Date: Wed Jun 22 13:57:18 EDT 2011

Hi Forrest,

Here is the link to the program. http://www.english-international.com/CELTA.html

Some community colleges in the Gulf Coast region of Texas require this certificate for ESL instructors. It is an internationally recognized certificate that can help instructors gain employment in a variety of ESL instructional settings.

Terry


Subject: [PD 5604] Re: Essential areas/content
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Tue Jun 21 16:55:05 EDT 2011

Yes, Texas has one of the most highly evolved AE credentialing systems, as far as I've been able to tell. But it is voluntary, and there is no guarantee of any reward if a teacher completes it. I've been led to believe that it is so demanding that very few teachers sign up for it or complete it. Is that true?

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5671] from Maria, The Texas Adult Education Teacher Credential
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Thu Jun 23 12:15:09 EDT 2011

My name is Maria Cesnik; I am the coordinator of The Project GREAT Center for the Far West region of Texas. Texas has eight regional professional development centers (GREAT) that are funded through state leadership funds to provide professional development to adult education teachers. The GREATs provide a wide variety of professional development to teachers at no cost. So, access to quality professional development is not an issue. I am also on the advisory committee for the Texas Credential.

I have mentored many of the teachers in our region while they worked on their Credential. They often come back to me and thank me for helping them to improve their teaching. And that is what earning a Credential does. Teachers learn about themselves and their students. They gain confidence in their teaching.

The Texas Credential is rigorous; it should be. However, many teachers (more than 400) are pursuing the Credential. The length of time that it takes a teacher to complete the Texas Credential is entirely in the hands of the teacher. Teachers choose the professional development activities that they wish to use in order to earn the Credential. So, a teacher who selects only 1 day "sit and get" types of professional development -worth 5 points each-is going to take much longer to complete the Texas Credential than a teacher who has selected more intensive and sustained professional development such as graduate university courses, teacher action research, multiple session trainings with follow up, etc. These are worth more points-35 and 25.

Another consideration is time. Texas, like almost every other state, has a primarily part time adult education teacher workforce. Our Credential takes that into consideration. Teachers are allowed to set their own pace as they work toward their Credential. Some teachers will complete the Credential very quickly (less than a month); other teachers will take several years working on it as time permits. The average time to complete is currently less than a year.

When we examine the K-12 literature related to professional development and teacher quality (and what little research there is in adult education on the same topics—Cristine has done some nice work recently), we learn that professional development that is sustained over a longer period of time and that is embedded in actual instructional practice is most likely to have the kind of impact on teacher practice that will result in positive student outcomes. This is what the Texas Credential does; it has teachers focus on what is actually going on in their classrooms-so that they can select and apply professional development that meets their needs as well as the needs of their students.

Maria J. Cesnik

Far West GREAT Center Coordinator

SISD Community Services

El Paso, TX
http://www.farwestgreat.org/ http://www.epall.org/


Subject: [PD 5733] certification and speaking clearly and enthusiastically
From: Val Yule
Date: Fri Jun 24 19:27:38 EDT 2011

This is a point I made before, which is making sure teachers learn to speak clearly and letting their enthusiasm shine through.

I have not quantitative research on the importance of this, but as a psychologist and trainer of teachers I sat in so many classrooms where how the teacher spoke was really the chief determinant of the class progress, particularly of the failing learners.

How can certificates take this into account?

Val Yule


Subject: [PD 5656] AE ELL credentialing in WI
From: Solomon, Debra
Date: Wed Jun 22 23:52:43 EDT 2011

Hello all,

I teach full time adult ELL at a public technical college in WI. I teach with the best, most qualified colleagues I have ever known. All full time contract staff must have an MA. The qualifications for adjuncts vary from the FT qualifications, but more and more adult TESOL experience is required. In the past, I understand that elementary teachers with no other special qualifications were considered qualified to teach adult ELL, but no more.

Unfortunately our state system is in the process of undergoing extreme change (if you watch the news you know what I'm talking about) so there is a lot of uncertainty here for the short and long term. I think rather than requiring additional certifications, within existing MA TESOL programs there could be a specialization offered for adult education; covering both theory and practical application of adult psychology, learning, assessment, etc.

Debra J. Solomon, M.A.

Gateway Technical College

Kenosha, WI

Doctoral Candidate

Cardinal Stritch University

Milwaukee, WI


7a. Determining Expectations for Credentials

Subject: Determining expectations for Practitioner Credentials
From: Edmund J. Ferszt
Date: Tue Jun 21 09:43:23 EDT 2011

Greetings to all,

I am Ed Ferszt and for the past two years have been assisting various work groups in Rhode Island (through the Department of Education and the RI Adult Education Professional Development Center) with the process of developing credentials for Adult Education practitioners. Our experience in Rhode Island suggests that one of the issues with the territory of Adult Education credentialing is the lack of a common vocabulary, the differences between states in expectations for performance and the lack of common assessment tools and procedures. Without a shared vocabulary it is difficult for us to learn from one another and potentially draw on a set of best practices or even a set of standards. Cristine Smith's paper on Certifying Adult Education Staff and Faculty, January 2011 has been extremely helpful in providing definitions and describing the territory. There is a real need to continue a dialogue across state boundaries in order to build some common set of ideas even if it were at a regional level.

The second major issue we are dealing with in Rhode Island at the moment is how to determine what the level of expectations should be for a given credential (and how do you measure it). The current emphasis on using student outcomes as the determination of teacher effectiveness seems flawed with a kind of simplistic "cause and effect" thinking. I am interested if others on this list have had experience with alternative models of assessment and a process for determining how high the bar should be set.

Regards -Ed


7b. Minimum Qualifications and Models

Subject: [PD 5610] From Gretchen, How Important is Credentialing and Certification in Adult Education?
From: Gretchen Bitterlin
Date: Tue Jun 21 23:26:46 EDT 2011

Having been an ESL teacher in adult education since 1971, I have experienced all the pros and cons of credentialing processes. I was initially qualified to teach in Adult education through having a secondary teaching credential, which did not prepare me for working with adults. I learned by doing and attending as many workshops as I could. At that time, there were no special qualifications to teach English as a Second Language. I only need my secondary teaching credential.

When I decided to get a Master's degree in ESL, I realized how important it was to have this degree, if for no other reason than to know the research basis for why some techniques worked over others. When I moved into program coordination and teacher training, we found it essential to provide basic workshops on practical techniques for teaching ESL because all those who just had a general teaching credential with no formal instruction in teaching ESL needed training.

I will never forget the day my boss called me and said he had a friend who was leaving the priesthood and asked me to train him to teach ESL in one week before he would be assigned to the classroom. Shortly thereafter, our community college system in California abolished credentials and established minimum educational qualifications for teaching in each area of adult education and the credit based college programs. The minimum qualifications for teaching ESL are as follows:

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR A NON-CREDIT COURSE IN ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL)
Any of the following: Master's in TESL, TESOL, applied linguistics with a TESL emphasis, linguistics with a TESL emphasis, English with a TESL emphasis, or education with a TESL emphasis.

OR

Bachelor's in TESL, TESOL, English with a TESL certificate, linguistics with a TESL certificate, applied linguistics with a TESL certificate, or any foreign language with a TESL certificate AND Master's in linguistics, applied linguistics, English, composition, bilingual/bicultural studies, reading, speech, or any foreign language.

OR

A bachelor's degree in teaching English as a second language, or teaching English to speakers of other languages.

OR

A bachelor's degree in education, English, linguistics, applied linguistics, any foreign language, composition, bilingual/bicultural studies, reading, or speech; and a certificate in teaching English as a second language, which may be completed concurrently during the first year of employment as a noncredit instructor.

OR

A bachelor's degree with any of the majors specified in subparagraph (2) above; and one year of experience teaching ESL in an accredited institution; and a certificate in teaching English as a second language, which may be completed concurrently during the first two years of employment as a noncredit instructor.

OR

Possession of a full-time, clear California Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credential authorizing instruction in ESL.

If an applicant does not meet any of the minimum qualifications listed above but possesses one of the following equivalencies they may request a review by completing an Equivalency Supplemental Form:

  • A Bachelor's degree in a non-related subject (one not on the list), plus a completed certificate equivalent to 216 hours of coursework in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL) from an accredited institution.
  • A Bachelor's degree in a non-related subject, plus three (3) years teaching experience in adult level ESL within the past five (5) years, plus completion of four (4) sessions of the ESL Teacher Institute.
  • An elementary or secondary teaching credential with LDS (Language Development Specialist) or CLAD/B-CLAD certification and completion of four (4) sessions of the ESL Teacher Institute.
  • A Bachelor's degree in Communications, Liberal Studies, Language Arts, Journalism, Literature, or Bilingual/ Bicultural Studies which may include Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, and Multi-Cultural Studies; and a certificate in TESOL, which may be completed concurrently during the first year of employment as a non-credit instructor.

With these minimum qualifications, an applicant just has to show evidence of the above, and thereby meet the minimum qualifications. After this, we require a demonstration lesson in a classroom to also use as criteria for deciding whom to hire. I will elaborate on the demonstration lesson in a later post.

Moving to having minimum qualifications by discipline instead of a general credential was the best thing that happened in our program because specific training in our discipline is now required. Some people said we would never find enough qualified people to teach ESL if we did that. But that never happened. Instead prospective teachers went out and got the formal training they needed, e.g. TESOL certificate, to qualify themselves to teach ESL.

The problem now is different qualifications required depending on the provider of adult education. In California, the community colleges have minimum qualifications, while the K-12 Adult system still has credentials. Teacher applicants get very frustrated when they have to meet different requirements for teaching the same population. I think we need to standardize qualifications to assure specific training in the discipline, whether it be ABE or ESL.

Gretchen Bitterlin

ESL Program Chair

ESL Resource Office

Mid City Campus

San Diego, CA


Subject: [PD 5619] Re: response to Gretchen's post on minimum qualifications & models
From: Leibman, Suzanne
Date: Wed Jun 22 10:45:21 EDT 2011

Thanks, Forrest, Gretchen, Jackie & many others for your fascinating posts.

Like many of us, including Gretchen, I stumbled into ESL (by breathing at the right time and place while having a bachelor's degree and some experience as a FL learner) and found workshops and eventually an MA in Linguistics/TESOL specialization my ways to learn and move forward in my profession. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to get discipline specific education, (and probably my students are even happier since, like Gretchen, I think I got better at teaching once I knew a little bit about why as well what I was doing). I had the advantage of knowing that I wanted to work with adult students during my graduate studies, so that I could focus my attention and projects. I agree with Gretchen that whatever our credentialing/minimum qualification process, it needs to be discipline specific. (And if we could ever get to the point where more of us entered the field better prepared, then our PD could focus more on necessary cross-training.)

In Illinois, the minimum qualification for teaching in adult education is a bachelor's degree, a 6-hour required new teacher's workshop (for either ABE/GED or ESL) and 6 contact hours of continuing professional development each year. NOT sufficient, IMHO, but better than it used to be. Our area AE programs help teachers get their PD done in many ways, including an annual 6-hour PD conference.

However, in our program (College of Lake County Adult Education, located halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee), we have higher minimums for initial hire: discipline specific (reading, math, adult education, and heavily related for ABE/GED; TESOL or Linguistics/TESOL or adult education/ESL or heavily related with at least 18 hours of TESOL related) MA for our far too few full-time positions and bachelor's degree with at least 12-18 hours (depending upon how you count them) in the discipline for part-time faculty. Since our adjunct part-time pay rates are relatively high for the state (and that's a significant factor), we can find enough teachers to meet them. We weren't sure at the beginning, and we grandfathered everyone working then, but it's worked.

One way that our program has helped teachers reach the minimums is by having a TESOL certificate/endorsement program at the college. (You can read more about it in the Torchlights CAAL publication that Forrest referenced-www.caalusa.org.) Newcomers to the field can meet our minimums through the program (and do their observation hours/practicum in our adult education classes, so that we get a way to see if we'd like to consider them for hire as a sneak peek). And since part-time adjunct faculty get a benefit of a free class each semester from the college, we can encourage cross-training in more than occasional workshop fashion. Many of the TESOL certificate courses are taught by faculty who have adult education ESL teaching experience and full-time adult education faculty have offered to host/mentor practicum students. In addition, a university center offering cohorts graduate classes in adult education is located next to our main campus, offering another convenient means for people to get the education that they need to meet our minimums.

I know that in many ways our program is privileged, but...if we don't ask and try, we know we don't get. And now for more of those full-time jobs, which would really be one way to be able to demand higher minimum qualifications.

Take care and be well, Suzanne

Suzanne Leibman

Department Chair, English as a Second Language

Adult Basic Education, GED and ESL

College of Lake County

Grayslake IL


7c. Integrated Credentialing

Subject: [PD 5578] Evidence, Qualifications, and Special Topics
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue Jun 21 11:40:04 EDT 2011

All,

Stephanie Moran here, GED Program Coordinator for our aec, in adult education 11 years, teacher for 30.

As the primary new instructor trainer here for many years, the difference between an adult educator who comes with a teaching background and one who does not can be enormous. Relatively/seemingly simple tasks that any well-trained educator automatically brings to the classroom are often not obvious to a non-teacher. One example:

When I was doing some delayed teacher prep with one of our teachers several years ago due to some student rumbling, I asked him about successful lessons that he had done the prior year. Turns out that he did not (at that time) keep his lessons from year to year! We discussed a more beneficial filing system and the need to build a successful lesson and unit system so that he could grab and go/plan in the future. We discussed other such basics as having a set, modeling, and closure. These best practices aren't self-evident and can indeed be taught and practiced.

What I'd like to see far less of in adult education courses is the heavy jargon that even our field is prone to using in some deluded notion that educationalese improves professional teaching and behavior. Rather, they are confusing, unnecessary, and counter-productive because they alienate their student-teachers.

Courses on recruitment and retention are extremely critical because adult education loses so many students within the first 12 hours that it is essential for EVERYONE on staff and faculty to understand how crucial those first hours and days are vis-à-vis how we behave and respond to a student.

We need any system to include ABE, GED, and ESOL because so many adult educators wear varied chapeaus.


Subject: [PD 5586] Integrated Credentialing (ABE, GED, ESL)
From: Sandi Phinney York
Date: Tue Jun 21 12:33:14 EDT 2011

Hi Stephanie -

You mentioned that "We need any system to include ABE, GED, and ESOL because so many adult educators wear varied chapeaus." I completely agree—and I would add to that that an integrated approach to PD and certification and credentialing is necessary because students as well don't necessarily fall distinctly into those categories. Some of our most advanced students are at the point where they are ready to transition into ABE students, and many students across the board (particularly intermediate to advanced) are preparing for the GED.

On the other hand, I think there are important distinctions between ABE and ESL learning and students. Though some principles of good teaching may be fairly universal, there are certain methods and techniques that are particularly important for ESL students, and any PD or certification and credentialing process should acknowledge and include this. Similarly, I'm well-trained in ESL methodology, but I feel I would need more specialized training if I were to work with ABE students with very limited literacy and numeracy skills.

I definitely think that an integrated approach to certification and credentialing would definitely be beneficial for both instructors and students, but it should also include ways to address the differences in teaching, retention, and student goals and characteristics.

Sandi Phinney York


Subject: [PD 5588] Need for differentiated PD for ESOL and ABE/GED Educators
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Tue Jun 21 12:54:49 EDT 2011

Unquestionably, Sandi-thanks for bringing this point to us. When I did three extended observations of three different ESOL instructors, I was awed at some of the differences I saw in their approaches and mine-the Total Physical Response, for one important difference. I also saw what an extremely well-prepared teacher versus a fly-by-the-pants (he is long, long gone) fella accomplished in the classroom. Prep counts!

On the other hand, I think there are important distinctions between ABE and ESL learning and students. Though some principles of good teaching may be fairly universal, there are certain methods and techniques that are particularly important for ESL students, and any PD or certification and credentialing process should acknowledge and include this. Similarly, I'm well-trained in ESL methodology, but I feel I would need more specialized training if I were to work with ABE students with very limited literacy and numeracy skills.

I definitely think that an integrated approach to certification and credentialing would definitely be beneficial for both instructors and students, but it should also include ways to address the differences in teaching, retention, and student goals and characteristics.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5594] Re: Integrated Credentialing (ABE, GED, ESL)
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Tue Jun 21 13:36:21 EDT 2011

Stephanie,

How about a "generalist" credential with "specialist" endorsements?

Forrest Chisman


7d. Alternative Credentialing

Subject: [PD 5629] Alternative Credentialing
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Wed Jun 22 12:00:11 EDT 2011

The Colorado Department of Education, Adult Education and Family Literacy program offers adult educators a quite rigorous portfolio alternative to taking adult education college courses as a way to earn its mandatory Literacy Instruction Authorization (LIA) credential/endorsement on one's license. The portfolio process is, in many practitioners' experience, tougher to achieve than taking the courses themselves. I earned one of the state's first LIAs through a mix of courses and the portfolio process. I knew that a course was the best route for me to understand even the rudimentary basics of ESOL best practices, and it indeed was. In fact, I think that for all ABE/GED instructors, the course route may be mandatory for obvious reasons, and vice versa.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5649] Re: Alternative Credentialing—Portfolios
From: Hawthorn, Jessie
Date: Wed Jun 22 18:23:21 EDT 2011

I wanted to provide some additional information about the portfolio process for the Literacy Instruction Authorization (LIA) in Colorado. This option is an alternative to taking the required courses for 'experienced' adult educators. There are two types of portfolios—evaluation of experience http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeadult/LIAv4Section5.htm and previous coursework http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeadult/LIAv4Section4.htm.

All portfolio applicants must have:

  • Proof of an associate degree or higher (in any field)
  • A minimum of 720 hours of adult basic education (ABE, ASE/GED and/or ESL) experience in the past 10 years
  • 20 hours of adult education training in the past five years

There are additional requirements depending on whether the applicant is submitting Evaluation of Experience or Previous Coursework to demonstrate proficiency in the course competencies.

The LIA Committee approves an average 25-30 portfolios per program year. These portfolios could be for one or more LIA courses. Most portfolio applicants choose the Evaluation of Experience option. Typically experienced ESL instructors submit a portfolio for EDU 132: Planning, Organizing and Delivering Adult Education Instruction and EDU 134: Teaching ESL to Adult Learners. They may or may not submit a portfolio for EDU 131: Introduction to Adult Education. This course focuses on the theory and principles of adult education. Experienced ESL instructors often take the ABE/ASE course, EDU 133, unless they have experience teaching ABE AND ASE/GED. Experienced ABE/ASE instructors often take EDU 134.

The LIA Committee is very experienced at reviewing and approving portfolios, so the process is much more streamlined than it was in the beginning—7 years ago.

I earned my LIA through the portfolio process. I used previous coursework from my Master's degree for EDU 131, 132 and 134 and I used evaluation of experience for EDU 133. My MA program did not include ABE/ASE, and I have not found an MA program in Colorado that has a course that addresses the competencies on EDU 133.

For more information about the LIA portfolio process, please go to http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeadult/LIAv4Section3.htm. This is Section 3 in the LIA Handbook, a comprehensive guide to the LIA process as well as the instructions and forms for the portfolio.

Jessie Hawthorn

LIA Specialist & Learning Needs Coordinator

CDE - Adult Education and Family Literacy Unit
http://www.cde.state.co.us/index_adult.htm

Denver, CO


8. Focus of Credentialing - Full or Part-Time Staff?

Subject: [PD 5606] Re: Credentials vs. Quality
From: George Demetrion
Date: Tue Jun 21 19:51:58 EDT 2011

Folks, I'm wondering then whether the emphasis on credentialing should be focused on full-time staff at the program management, teaching, and counseling levels in which, if programs are strengthened at that core level of stabilization there would likely be some reasonable impact with the adjunct teaching staff. I question whether it's reasonable to require someone teaching one or at most two courses per week to go through a formal credentialing and certifying process though states are increasingly requiring it.

As a ballpark I would identify, say, a 25 hour-per-week position as a minimal threshold for a certification and credentialing requirement unless mandate by the state requires it in any event. That, in turn, would place the responsibility on the full-time program and teaching staff to take the leadership role in program development and teacher training and mentoring/coaching supervision. In this ideal certification and credentialing scenario the focus would clearly be on adult education pedagogy and program development.

George Demetrion
http://www.linkedin.com/in/geodem


Subject: [PD 5616] credentialing should be focused on full time staff
From: Jeffrey A Elmore/FS/VCU
Date: Wed Jun 22 08:26:57 EDT 2011

Hi everyone,

I think that getting full time staff credentialed is a necessary beginning, however, reducing certification requirements for staff who work part-time would seem to marginalize efforts towards professionalization of our field. Think about the health care field. They make broad use of both part-time and full-time staff who, in the same position, are required to maintain the same credentials. I sure wouldn't want to find out that the part-time technician analyzing my test results was waived on her certification because she only worked at the clinic 12 hours a week!

Jeffrey A. Elmore

Training Coordination Specialist

Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, VA


Subject: [PD 5617] Re: credentialing should be focused on full-time staff
From: Janysek, Michelle
Date: Wed Jun 22 10:41:20 EDT 2011

I tend to agree with Jeffrey on this one. It is kind of like the chicken and the egg thing.

We want adult education to be a "professional" field, but we currently have a part-time, under prepared workforce. We seem reluctant to set high expectations for training/qualifications due to time, limited funding, etc. However, current policy and funding fall short of what we need to hire full-time, dedicated and adequately prepared professionals. So, which comes first, professionalizing the field or increased funding and supportive policy?

I tend to lean towards the field of dreams approach-build it and they will come. Establish high expectations for the field and I believe the rest will follow.

Michelle

D. Michelle Janysek, Ph.D.

Texas Adult Education Credential Project

The Education Institute

Texas State University-San Marcos


9. Appropriate Courses for Credential

Subject: [PD 5666] AE administration
From: Kim Harris
Date: Thu Jun 23 10:45:45 EDT 2011

I've learned so much from all the discussion. I have been the Coordinator of a small-county adult education program for about a year now. I started as the Transition Coordinator, helping adult education students transition to work and college, and now I've moved into running the adult education program as well. I actually am a social worker, not a teacher. My background is rich in working with the population adult education tends to serve, and my skills in that area are why I was put in this position.

So my question to you is, if you were me, what kind of PD what YOU want? If I were your supervisor, and you could choose what I need my Master's in, what might you choose? I wonder if Bob's list will turn up programs for Master's Degrees in Adult Education Administration, or the like?

Kim Harris

Delta County Adult Education Coordinator

E3 Resource Navigator


Subject: [PD 5679] Appropriate Courses for Credential
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Thu Jun 23 13:17:54 EDT 2011

Excellent question, Kim, because adult education, in my opinion, some adult educators need to learn and adhere to boundaries. While we often must serve as counselors to a degree in select circumstances, I really believe that adult educators need to focus on teaching content and self-sufficiency skills and not enable students to use their personal histories as obstacles to success. I say this knowing that our student services coordinator spends much of his days putting out fires, which is within the scope of his duties; educators need to feed intellectual fires and direct needy students to appropriate counseling and partner agencies. So-let's make sure that our credential/major/endorsement includes some psychology courses germane to our students' varied backgrounds and needs.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5682] Re: Appropriate Courses for Credential
From: Kim Harris
Date: Thu Jun 23 13:56:26 EDT 2011

Agree-it's important to be understanding and flexible re: the outside lives most students are dealing with, jobs kids finances etc. etc...plus the LD plus the fear of failure plus the legal problems...and on and on. However, lacking appropriate boundaries and expectations does NOT ready a student to be in the workforce or in postsecondary education.

Kim Harris


Subject: [PD 5717] Re: AE administration
From: Meagen Howe
Date: Fri Jun 24 11:29:38 EDT 2011

Kim & All,

I absolutely love your questions and am going to ask this of those I work with.
"So my question to you is, if you were me, what kind of PD what YOU want?"

The kind of PD I would want is to get in the classroom, get to know some of the learners' names and histories, and learn to provide mechanisms for reflection and feedback on instructional practice as well as accountability to improve in areas of need. I would want the PD of networking broadly across programs, regions and field (like through this online discussion) then know how to implement the successes I saw elsewhere while sharing our area of expertise. By the way, I would take your staff with you for this PD so you're not imposing it, but are rather the leader of a work group or other entity that is making a joint effort to improve the quality of our practice.

"If I were your supervisor, and you could choose what I need my Master's in, what might you choose? I wonder if Bob's list will turn up programs for Master's Degrees in AE Administration, or the like?"

Just don't get a Masters in Nonprofit Management, okay? Please. Do you really need a Masters? Did you mention you are an LISW? I know I'm supposed to value education as an educator, but my favorite supervisor of all time was a lawyer who helped startup companies then was a stay at home Dad before becoming ED of a homeless services agency.

I guess I'm a believer that being able to complete a masters level degree requires a certain level of general skill, but what I really want to see is a supervisor who can say (like another poster said) "I mastered my job". I need you to have critical thinking skills, but most importantly to listen deeply to your learners, staff, and the broader community about their dreams, and keep the torch burning to get there when they realize it takes walking through dark tunnels to reach the goals they've set for themselves.

Meagen Farrell Howe

CEO, Educational Consultant

Farrell Ink, LLC

Cleveland, OH


10. Other Lessons from K-12

Subject: [PD 5623] Other lessons from K-12
From: Hughes, Robert
Date: Wed Jun 22 11:08:07 EDT 2011

Yesterday's discussion that was sparked by Cris' analysis of the literature on K-12 credentialing brought up some interesting points. One that seems appropriate to our overall discussion is the issue of alternative certification programs. In K-12 credentialing, these are programs generally intended for people who learn to teach after they are hired to be the teacher of record. These programs gained prominence in the late 90s when many states experienced a severe K-12 teacher shortage; however, they've been around for decades in some form or other. The idea is that someone is hired into a teaching position without a teaching credential and then earns a credential while on the job.

The best of these alternative certification programs have some excellent features: They provide for ongoing mentoring; they connect new teachers to the resources they need when they need those resources; they teach new teachers about best practices as they learn to apply theories in context; they help new teachers learn skills such as classroom management, curriculum design, and lesson planning. These teachers experience the kind of contextualized learning experience that we know makes for any deeper and more meaningful adult learning.

The applications to ABE/TESOL instructor preparation are many. Many of us (actually, including me, who began my career as a secondary teacher) were hired to teach adults without any formal training in what that meant. Given all of the factors we've discussed so far this week, it's impractical to expect that all of the people coming into the profession today will go earn a graduate degree or certificate prior to being hired. But the experiences of effective K-12 alternative certification programs suggest that we don't need to have a pre-employment model. We need to look at these alternative certification models to see what we can learn.

What we'll find is that it is possible to provide instructors with certification that is more than just perfunctory hoop jumping exercises. The most effective models are those that provide flexibility of time and place for the learning, while providing a structure for the content and ongoing support that instructors need to teach effectively. These best practices concurrently expose instructors to the theoretical knowledge developed by research institutions with the pragmatic knowledge that comes from expert practitioners.

Using such a model, we also need to consider certification as more than a one-time inoculation. We can, and should, offer ABE/TESOL instructors opportunities to grow—no matter what their current knowledge and skills. And that development can be authenticated through certification systems that are like the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (http://www.nbpts.org) that rewards instructors for increasing their level of knowledge and skills.

However, as others have pointed out in the discussion this week, any system of certification must be adequately resourced. The national board certification program in K-12 works because teachers are typically awarded at $10,000 stipend for completing it. In ABE/TESOL, who will pay for all these courses? And what levels of certification do we require for part-time instructors or volunteers? These are all resource questions that will ultimately define whether or not any scheme of certification is effective.

Finally, a caution: We need to take care in any conversation on certification that we don't become overly prescriptive in defining the standards of certification. I've noted elsewhere that when states became too prescriptive in their K-12 teacher certification standards that they actually reduce the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs (www.teqjournal.org/backvols/2004/31_3/hughes.pmd.pdf). That seems an important lesson to remember when considering any certification model. While the standards must be clear and they must articulate what certification means, if we take some of the steps that we've seen states take in K-12, we'll find ourselves mired in the same bureaucratic systems of reporting and accreditation that often keep our K-12 colleagues too busy with forms and process to consider substance.

If you're interested in reading more about alternative teacher certification in K-12, here's a link to a brief article that has a list of additional resources to read:

Bob H.

Bob Hughes, Ed. D.

Associate Professor of Adult Education

Seattle University

Seattle, WA


11. Quality Through Certification: Individual vs. Field

Subject: [PD 5625] quality through certification: individual instructors or the field as a whole?
From: Jeffrey A Elmore/FS/VCU
Date: Wed Jun 22 11:22:32 EDT 2011

I believe I've read most of the posts regarding connections between certification and instructional quality, and I'm surprised that the focus has been on the individual instructor. From my perspective working with the Virginia Adult Educator Certification Program, (this is SOLELY my opinion) I feel that the greatest gains are to the field as a whole rather than the skills of any individual instructor.

There are a number of reasons for this. In our program, instructors are required to take specific classes that we have created. This establishes a standardized baseline of information that all participants receive and results in a number of statewide benefits. First, it helps to build a unified language for instructors, program managers, support staff, and DOE administration.

Second, it can be a catalyst for instructors to go to their program managers with specific, informed questions about both statewide policies and classroom instructional tools. Also, it eases the local programs’ burden of training new instructors on content and policy. This is particularly important for smaller rural programs, who, because of geographic size and limited budgets have difficulty assembling instructors for the sake of training.

Next, to do Virginia's certification trainings, we have a minimum of 15 participants for any session to be held. This is important because it brings many instructors together for the purpose of sharing instructional expertise. Often our rural instructors teach in almost isolation and have little opportunity to communicate with their peers. Our certification trainings use small group activities that focus on research based best practices. Participants examine what they are already doing in their own classrooms in the context of best practice, share their questions and successes, hear about what others are doing, and hopefully leave with a greater degree of confidence for doing their jobs.

Does instructional quality improve for each individual teacher as a result of certification? Hopefully. Does instructional quality for the field increase as a result of 800+ teachers participating in certification? Our program has only been going on for a couple of years, so quantitative data has yet to be examined, but (again, just my opinion) I would say we are doing a better job of adult education.

Jeffrey A. Elmore

Training Coordination Specialist

Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, VA


Subject: [PD 5639] Re: quality through certification: individual instructors or the field as a whole?
From: Fran T. de Sousa
Date: Wed Jun 22 14:02:55 EDT 2011

Jeffrey- you have nailed it. Working with individual teachers to make a consistent baseline across the program builds teachers into a community of professionals and possibly into a specific Adult Ed culture. It is possible to bring different teachers together to work together, especially when the program is clear, well-articulated and based on research based practices that teachers can easily confirm in their own classrooms. Most of the research I have read supports that ongoing staff support is the key to maintaining teachers' use of new strategies and your program appears to address that challenge in spite of the distances involved.

Frances Tornabene de Sousa


12. Evidence About Value of Certification

Subject:[PD 5631] Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Lynda Ginsburg
Date: Wed Jun 22 12:32:33 EDT 2011

Sorry, I'm having trouble keeping up with the fast moving, very rich conversation. Cris Smith mentioned the recent K-12 research studies that seem to indicate that teachers' math certification was a significant factor for student achievement at the high school level. These days, many districts have chosen to have math specialists or those with middle school math certification or endorsement teach math in middle schools (usually grades 6-8). Some districts now are starting to have math specialists teaching at the lower levels as well rather than have the general teachers also teach math.

At the adult education level, there is a 2008 study from the U.K. that found that numeracy learners made more progress when their teachers were experienced AND had high formal qualifications in math. (Cris mentions this study in her CAAL report.)

This brings me to Bob's 5 areas that certification should address. I agree with his thinking but am concerned that number 5: "Knowledge of the subject matter they are being hired to teach" is often given short shrift. We would assume that ESL teachers and reading teachers read, write and speak English very well. These teachers should also, of course, be knowledgeable and skilled in understanding the learning processes and designing instruction that meets the learning needs of adult students. Bob actually mentions a TESOL teacher and a reading teacher as his examples.

However, even though adult learners often struggle mightily with math, the issues of teaching math are rarely mentioned or acknowledged. Rarely is the subject of teachers' math content knowledge, their pedagogical/andragogical content knowledge, or their understanding of how people learn math mentioned alongside of ESL and reading. Other sectors of the education world recognize that teachers' math content knowledge is likely to have an impact of student learning and require some evidence of that knowledge through a credential or other proxy such as evidence of coursework. To me, an adult education credential that does not include a specialization, such as ESL, Reading, or Math would not likely improve the perception of the field-and more importantly, improve adult education instruction and outcomes.

Further, as I've looked through the offerings in college and university adult education graduate programs, I've yet to even see one course listed that focuses on adult numeracy/math.

Lynda Ginsburg, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate

Center for Math, Science and Computer Education

Rutgers University

Piscataway NJ


Subject: [PD 5636] Credentials and the New GED
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Wed Jun 22 13:40:10 EDT 2011

With Lynda's post (above), it also occurs to me that PD and credentialing may well take on that much more import when the new version of the GED arrives in the next few years. Supposedly to be far more rigorous-or perhaps presented as a two-tiered test, one for people who "just want their GED" and a second track for those planning on college [where a minimum of 3000/4000 points might be the prerequisite]-the question and expectation of credentials and quality instruction becomes more pressing.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5723] Re: Credentials and the New GED
From: Carmine Stewart
Date: Fri Jun 24 15:00:51 EDT 2011

Hello All,

First I must say I am THRILLED to be a part of this conversation. I am a former (and hopefully future) GED teacher, and a current PhD student. My dissertation title is "Teacher Preparation and Professional Development in Adult Literacy Education." I pursued this topic because I was shocked at how easy it was to become a GED teacher and how little real instructional support there really is even within the Sate Funded system.

As an instructor, I found myself reaching back to my training in speech and language disorders, using techniques that I learned working with autistic students, and drawing from my formal teacher education. I wondered what other instructors who didn’t have that background did when they just could not seem to make progress with certain students. I thought this was particularly important since although the agency where I worked primarily was a community college, the administrative staff that "supervised" teachers had no knowledge of education either and could not be instructional leaders. They had no idea what I did in the classroom.

I observed many instructors who had good intentions but little content knowledge or skills, and I really believe that for the future of our country, particularly the children of our students, something has to change. The K-12 literature does show the link between content knowledge and student achievement. Any credential or PD must focus on both. The literature is full of "best practices" in PD. Any PD should be built on the foundation of those models. Long-term PD is going to have to be a part of that model.

Carmine Stewart


Subject: [PD 5641] Re: Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Flory Eubanks
Date: Wed Jun 22 14:44:57 EDT 2011

How accurate your assessment of the level of quality that mathematicians bring to the teaching of math. I have taught all five content areas for over 40 years with outstanding success relative to passing rates. However, I have had to maintain my personal tutor for help a touch away by cell phone. He is an electrical engineer, graduated from Johns Hopkins and Loyola. He is the math expert and I am an expert in teaching methods and approaches. In too many instances to count, his in depth knowledge of math has guided and informed the effectiveness of my instruction. the conundrum is, how can we attract such people without competitive pay and we need them for the conceptual barriers many of our learners wrestle with. I am in complete agreement that our math teachers need to be trained if not certified math majors and all of our instructors need measures of content mastery. In some ways, the instructional challenges for an adult educator are more complex. Not only must we teach a skill, but also unravel years of confusion, gaps in skill links, and layers of experience that crystallize errors in critical thinking and computation.

Flory Eubanks


Subject: [PD 5643] Re: Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Wed Jun 22 17:13:59 EDT 2011

Lynda Ginsberg,

What do we know about the math content knowledge of elementary school teachers and/or what math knowledge they must demonstrate to become certified? Or don't we know?

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5645] Re: Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Raine Bumatay
Date: Wed Jun 22 17:40:40 EDT 2011

In about 1995, Fresno Unified (4th largest district in CA) received an Urban Systemic Initiative grant from the National Science Foundation to provide many opportunities for teachers to study content knowledge in mathematics and science, but it also provided each elementary teacher with 60 hours of content knowledge instruction in both mathematics and science each year for 5 years.

One reason, was at that time, the average teacher in our district was about 45 years old and only needed one year of high school mathematics and one year of college mathematics to earn a teaching credential back in her day. This was a huge issue because California was about to bump up the rigor of Content Standards and expectations for elementary teachers and they did not have the background to teach to these Standards. Since then Liberal Studies majors take more in-depth content methods classes and the CSET was implemented as well.

Unfortunately, in a recent survey in a mathematics methods class I teach, the majority of students (mostly females) admitted they still fear teaching mathematics more than any subject area. One student described her intimidation to teach mathematics because she had only learned one way to do problems and she knew she would be challenged to teach to a large spectrum of learners and would likely need a much larger "tool box" of strategies before she felt comfortable teaching mathematics.

Raine Bumatay


Subject: [PD 5647] Re: Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Wed Jun 22 17:53:15 EDT 2011

I have heard the idea that, as an achievable first goal, we should have a math specialist available to every AE program. I've also heard the view that many retired math teachers or math specialists frustrated with the turmoil in K-12 might be more willing to move over to AE than we think-even if it pays a bit less. Does anybody think there's any truth to these ideas?

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5684] from Stephanie, Need for Math Specialists in AE
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Thursday, June 23, 2011 1:35 PM

The math wizards at my center really gain a lot of satisfaction from having helped students to *understand*-when I regularly had to teach GED math 10 years ago, I called it teaching "down and dirty"-enough for you to pass the test but nothing elegant or what I'd call true long-term storage of knowledge and application. We could never go back to those days-it would be unethical now that our students have access to true math instructors.

As another poster pointed out, so many of our students come hating math and often with even more psychological math baggage than other HS students, that your standard of a math specialist-just as we have a reading specialist on our faculty-would be a heavenly start.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5650] Re: Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Kelly Meeks

I know this is a little off today's subject matter but I wanted to give my kudos to the state of TEXAS for realizing that math is one of the hardest subjects for our adult learners to understand and be able to successfully maneuver. We implemented a Math Institute in 2007 and have progressed the program through the years to now include transitioning our students to college level Math, which is one of our core contents for our credentials.

This is what we consider as a Master Teacher program where the 16 participants can mentor teachers through different levels of math, helping to raise not only the student's confidence but also the teacher's confidences in this area. We hold two major math conferences a year and additional PD when/where requested through our Great Centers. I have seen the level of understanding in Math come up from four years ago to where Texas is no long one of the worst states in this subject.

I have personally seen students who would never have thought they would understand algebra much less mentor a small group in the subject! (I guess you can tell this is a passion.) Everyone in this program realize that there is a tremendous learning curve for our teachers and that with the changes in the Math GED Test coming in 2014 the teachers (and the institute) has its work cut out for them. Several of the Math Institute cohorts either have or are work on the credentials and feel it important to have this so to give more credibility to train the trainers.

I just wanted to let you know that there are people who saw a great need and stepped up to put an action together to help our teachers be become better teachers. This has made an impact on our students' lives both at home and on their jobs or just being able to get a job.

In the matter of how our adult students learn math there is a book called HOW THE Brain Learns Mathematics by David A, Sousa which addresses this very subject. Some of it is for PreK - 12 but it is also relevant to our adult learners, who, as stated earlier, have to overcome years of fear and confusion.

Thanks,

Kelly Meeks

Navarro College GED Instructor


Subject: [PD 5661] Re: Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Annie Walker
Date: Thu Jun 23 00:45:52 EDT 2011

I am a retired Reading teacher and ESL teacher for 16 years. In those years I saw more poorly prepared ESL teachers than I care to count. I've taught ESL in California and Texas. In Texas it is not a teacher's professional background that is considered when he or she is hired. A teacher is hired more out of political expediency. This is sad.

Annie Walker


Subject: [PD 5665] Re: Evidence about the value of certification-math
From: Lynda Ginsburg
Date: Thu Jun 23 10:24:13 EDT 2011

Forrest,

Many studies have shown that elementary school teachers mostly have very weak math content knowledge and exhibit beliefs and attitudes about knowing and learning math that you would not want them to pass on to their students. (One excellent, interesting and very readable book comparing US elementary teachers' understanding of the math they teach with Chinese teachers' preparation and understanding is "Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics" by Liping Ma.)

For certification, elementary teachers generally only have to take one math methods course. Currently in NJ, they can get a math endorsement to their license by completing five college math courses.

Lynda Ginsburg, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate

Center for Math, Science and Computer Education

Rutgers University

Piscataway NJ


Subject: [PD 5668] Re: Evidence about the value of certification-math
From: Kim Harris
Date: Thu Jun 23 11:10:02 EDT 2011

Can you say more re: "exhibit beliefs and attitudes about knowing and learning math that you would not want them to pass on to their students. " like...?

Kim Harris

Delta County Adult Education Coordinator

E3 Resource Navigator


Subject: [PD 5669] Re: Evidence about the value of certification-math
From: Raine Bumatay
Date: Thu Jun 23 11:31:40 EDT 2011

On exhibiting beliefs and attitudes teachers accidentally project...."I always had a tough time with math too" or "Girls struggle with math more than boys"

Nobody ever admits they can't read in a proud way, but how many times have you heard at a restaurant, "Here you split up the bill, I'm no good at math" or "I don't know how much to leave for a tip, I just always leave 5 bucks".

Raine Bumatay


Subject: [PD 5672] Re: Evidence about the value of certification-math
From: Lynda Ginsburg
Date: Thu Jun 23 12:33:02 EDT 2011

I would add to Raine's good examples of teachers' non-productive (actually, negative) attitudes and beliefs about learning math:

  • "You learn math by endless drill until procedures become automatic"
  • "It's not important if you understand what you are doing, just do it."
  • "Memorize steps."
  • "Many people just can't learn math (genetic argument)-- especially if you are a girl, minority, etc. (or older!)"
  • "Effort does not play a part in learning math -- just nature."

And comparable beliefs and attitudes about teaching math:

  • "Ignore wrong answers; they just confuse the learning process of others"
  • "Just show right answers to the class."
  • "Time spent talking about why and how take away from practice time that leads to automaticity."
  • "There is always one best way to get the answer (my way) and that's the way everyone in the class should copy."
  • "I memorized the math without understanding, and it was good enough for me."

Lynda Ginsburg


Subject: [PD 5689] Re: Endorsement of Liping Ma's book
From: Susan Reid
Date: Thu Jun 23 16:56:23 EDT 2011

Hi everyone

I would like to endorse Lynda's reference to Liping Ma's book.

It is not only relevant in the US or for elementary school teachers. I found it highly relevant in the adult literacy and numeracy context as well.

Kind regards Susan Reid

Consulting Manager

Workbase: The New Zealand Centre for Workforce Literacy Development


13. Need for Regional or National Platform

Subject: [PD 5640] Re: the need for a Regional or National platform
From: Edmund J. Ferszt
Date: Wed Jun 22 14:36:04 EDT 2011

Hi all,

This is Ed Ferszt again. I started teaching adults in 1970 as a way to increase my earning power and- I suspect like many of you -found how much satisfaction I received from working with adult students. In 1995 received my Doctorate in Adult Education and as a part of that process spent a fair amount of time looking at the history of the field in America. For the past two years I have been working with groups of adult educators in Rhode Island to develop a practitioner credential process.

As I read the posts in this discussion I continue to be struck by the consistency of the issues regarding credentialing. As a way of helping myself (and hopefully others) I want to suggest that there are some "structural "issues that frame our discussion.

Unlike many other countries (who are also dealing with the education of adults) we have a very decentralized system. The way federal dollars are allocated to the states is part of the fabric of our form of government and as Roger Hiemstra (http://www-distance.syr.edu/historychron.htm )points out:

"The development of adult education has been largely an "ad hoc" affair. It is a highly pluralistic movement in a pluralistic society without any evidence of the operation of a "grand strategy." Most of the impetus for the federal support of adult education has grown out of "emergency" and "quasi-emergency" situations. ... For the most part, the pressure for adult education has originated and been sustained by forces outside the agencies which ultimately set up programs to serve adults."

Ideas like Roland's or Brett's for of online courses for adult Ed teacher training purposes are great and as we have seen in Rhode Island a first step is to determine what the necessary level of knowledge and skills are to make every kind of professional development experience meaningful . The efforts in Texas are really excellent and we in RI have spent time looking and listening to how they proceeded but even where there are best practices it is not be easy to export those models because they were developed in a specific state to meet a specific state context with a certain level of state funding.

It seems to me that our personnel experiences-just like the experiences of our students-are framed by these issues. One of my assumptions is that we (as a field) need some sort of credentialing process. What that might look like is where the discussion needs to go. As far as I know there is little pressure on OVAE to convene a summit of stakeholders and engage in building some consensus around a common vocabulary that could be used by states attempting to develop credentials or a process that might be used to support the development of credentials. Lacking some larger national or regional overview I think it will be difficult to make progress Any volunteers ?

Regards-

Ed Ferszt Ed.D

Edmund Ferszt

Assistant Provost for Summer Programs

Office of the Provost

Amherst, MA


Subject: [PD 5642] Re: the need for a Regional or National platform
From: Janysek, Michelle
Date: Wed Jun 22 15:07:11 EDT 2011

I agree with Ed. One of the first steps is to agree upon a common vocabulary. Beyond that, we must also create a unified, collective vision for adult education. True, all states are different, we are structured differently, serve similar, yet distinctly unique students, have different levels of funding, etc.

As we in Texas visited with Ed and his team and other states who have, or are developing a credential, we have learned that we all have the same destination in mind. We are all focused on learner outcomes and we all want to provide adult learners with the best possible teachers and resources available. Most likely we will all develop our own unique credential systems and that is o.k. What works well for some may not work well for others. However, I believe that we can all learn from each other. As individual states (or the field as a whole) continue to develop credential/certificate systems, it is very important that we keep this dialogue open. Developing and administering such a system is not easy and there are many hurdles to overcome.

Ultimately, we must ask ourselves one very important question...Have we (as a profession) done everything we possibly can in order to provide the best possible instruction to our students?

D. Michelle Janysek, Ph.D.

Texas Adult Education Credential Project

The Education Institute

Texas State University-San Marcos


Subject: [PD 5646] Re: the need for a Regional or National platform
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Wed Jun 22 17:45:03 EDT 2011

Actually, the more I have delved into various state AE certification systems, the more similar they seem to me-at least in the knowledge and skills they are trying to certify. They just go about measuring those knowledge and skills in different ways. And if you look at how they go about it, their approaches aren't really that different-conceptually at least-either.

So, as my CAAL paper on this subject says, I've come to the conclusion that there is pretty much of a consensus in the field about what the CORE of a certification and credentialing system should be. In some respects, the major difference among states is the policy difference as to whether all or only some teachers should be required to have various levels of certifications. But that shouldn't obscure the agreement about what certification should BE.

I honestly think that the right 12-15 bright people could articulate that consensus in a few months of work. Wouldn't that be grand? Then states could use this as a resource to develop variants of their own. The problem is, who will call the meeting and pay for the work? Maybe OVAE should, maybe somebody else. What do you folks think of these proposition? Any takers?

Forrest


Subject: [PD 5664] the need for a Regional or National platform
From: Edmund J. Ferszt
Date: Thu Jun 23 10:19:12 EDT 2011

Hi All,

This is Ed Ferszt again. I very much appreciate Forrest's idea regarding an effort to build some consensus around what certification should be. In my experience working with practitioners in R.I., building consensus around necessary knowledge and skills involved a continuous defining (and sometimes re-defining) of the terms that allowed the group to achieve its goals.

After speaking with individuals involved in the credentialing process in Texas such as Michele and others in Arkansas, Ohio and Massachusetts my sense was that this "meaning making "process happens differently with each group because of the specific context they are operating in. Consequently I support and would participate in some kind of process which would seek to expand the context in which the discussion takes place. My sense is that OVAE could or should play the role of convener and I would certainly be glad to participate in setting up such a process.

Ed

Edmund Ferszt

Assistant Provost for Summer Programs

Office of the Provost

Amherst, MA


14. Incentives

Subject: [PD 5659] Day Four: Incentives for Certification and Credentialing
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Thu Jun 23 10:28:35 EDT 2011

Dear PD List Colleagues:

A prominent theme this week is the lack of incentives in adult education that educators in other fields have for earning a certification or credential.

What incentives are currently in place that effectively incentivize certification or credentialing in your area? What supports are needed to make a certification and credentialing process work in adult education? What are some solutions for putting incentives in place?

Thanks again everyone. I'm looking forward to hearing from you today.

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/


Subject: [PD 5667] Incentives...
From: Roger Downey
Date: Thu Jun 23 10:59:42 EDT 2011

Hey folks,

Way back on Monday, Jesse Hawthorn had sent a sample of coursework required in Colorado (PD 5546). The classes both offered on a community college level, through an extension I presume, and a university and are authorized as "the credential for adult basic educators in Colorado.

I did not know, when I was preparing for my teaching degree, that I would end up in Adult Ed. but, when needing classes for my recertification, these classes would have been great to use for that purpose.

An incentive would have been a willingness on my employer to help defray part of the cost of the classes, which used to be a policy.

Though we have discussed the need of more than just class time, this would have been a good way to renew my certificate.

Thank you,

Roger Downey

Columbia Adult Education

Brooklyn, MI


Subject: [PD 5671] Incentives...
From: Sheridan, Nancy
Date: Thu Jun 23 11:48:08 EDT 2011

Colleagues,

Some states, if not several, including Rhode Island have professional development centers funded to provide training that provides PD to increase professional competencies in ABE. In MA, professional development points (PDPs) are issued for certain offerings and these count toward renewal of a K-12 license or toward the optional ABE license. In essence, MA has given their professional development center the authority to play a role in awarding this credential—and at no cost to the practitioner.

In Rhode island we are moving toward having the professional development center align their offerings to professional standards so that a practitioner may be informed as to how they can put a PD plan in place that will allow them to move toward competency with the standards and in the future possibly secure a credential in this way.

It seems to me that investing in the professional development center to deliver free or perhaps low cost programming to practitioners, enabling them to possibly secure a credential makes sense.

Nancy Sheridan

Adult Education Program Specialist

Office of Multiple Pathways

RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

www.ride.ri.gov


Subject: [PD 5673] Re: incentives for PD certification
From: Rachel Baron
Date: Thu Jun 23 12:51:50 EDT 2011

I've noticed that many of the people doing a lot of the posting to this discussion are administrators and/or long-time teachers. I'm still fairly new to the field, so it's good for me to hear some different perspectives. I hope you don't mind if I share mine.

I think that David Rosen's summary of the career pathway of an adult education instructor is depressingly accurate in many cases, although I have had better luck than most so far. In my experience, though, there aren't very many college students out there who are just dying to get into the field of adult education. I fell into this through a series of "happy accidents," and I think that is a pretty common story.

If a credential or degree in Adult Education is required to get a job in the first place, my guess is that programs in most states will need to recruit a different group of people from those who are currently teaching. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. As a current teacher, though, I will say that getting a credential would probably improve teacher retention (especially if it came with even a token pay increase).

One reason is that putting all that work into getting a credential would make teachers want to stay longer to make it worthwhile. More importantly, though, I think it would give us more confidence that we know what we're doing, that we're professionals and not just people who are lucky to get paid instead of being volunteers. Even without a credential, the more PD I do, the more I feel like a knowledgeable, competent teacher-and the less I feel like I have to rely entirely on whatever instinct or "knack" I may have.

If I feel like an asset to a meaningful profession, I'm going to be happier (and stick around longer) than if I feel like a placeholder who could easily be replaced with a moderately talented volunteer, and the students are the ones who will reap the most benefits from that.

Rachel

GED/ABE Instructor


Subject: [PD 5674] Re: Day Four: Incentives for Certification and Credentialing
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Thu Jun 23 13:00:15 EDT 2011

The CO Department of Education, Adult Education and Family Literacy program offers scholarships for educators for one of the four required courses; applicants must submit an essay and earn a B or better to receive the scholarship, I believe.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5675] Incentives
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Thu Jun 23 13:04:44 EDT 2011

Forgive me for wondering out loud if all of our spinning of well-worn wheels wouldn't be moot if Adult Education were ensconced in the academy and were simply side by side with other educational major tracks one might choose to pursue as one does for an Elementary Education degree or a Special Education major or a secondary content degree.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5690] Re: Incentives
From: Forrest Chisman

Date: Thu Jun 23 16:57:51 EDT 2011

It would be wonderful...IF there were jobs that paid a living wage for the graduates!

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5678] Re: Incentives
From: Leibman, Suzanne
Date: Thu Jun 23 13:15:34 EDT 2011

Reply to Stephanie:
"Forgive me for wondering out loud if all of our spinning of well-worn wheels wouldn't be moot if Adult Education were ensconced in the academy and were simply side by side with other educational major tracks one might choose to pursue as one does for an Elementary Education degree or a Special Education major or a secondary content degree."

Amen to that, Stephanie, as long as there were the full time jobs and career ladders (as we see K-12) to go with (and probably lead to) the ensconcement.

Suzanne Leibman

Department Chair, English as a Second Language

Adult Basic Education, GED and ESL

College of Lake County

Grayslake IL


Subject: [PD 5681] Re: Incentives
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Thu Jun 23 13:38:21 EDT 2011

If we build it, will they come? And will the feds and the states follow?

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5683] Incentives...
From: Roger Downey
Date: Thu Jun 23 14:03:59 EDT 2011

Hey folks,

I found out that the GED component within our county uses LitServe for training their tutors. It is a 15 hour course, usually on Saturdays, and those completing the 15 hours successfully, receive a certificate. I believe it has to be done on an annual basis but it does help with the one-on-one aspect of tutoring.

Roger Downey

Columbia Adult Education

Brooklyn, MI


Subject: [PD 5685] Incentives
From: Hughes, Robert
Date: Thu Jun 23 14:52:27 EDT 2011

Let me start by being a little contrary to the question. In my experience, ABE/TESOL instructors are the adult educators who need the least incentives to participate in professional development opportunities. They are the adult educators who most clearly understand "student-centered instruction," and they're the adult educators who most often will be likely to attend trainings, workshops, and conferences.

My experiences in providing pre-service and inservice training to adult educators also tells me that ABE/TESOL instructors are the folks who are constantly upgrading their skills and wanting to know more about their craft. I find that it's less about incentives than making the training accessible and useful. For example, we offer a reading methods inservice training for our state via Web conferencing, and we typically fill that with 30+ participants for each course. These instructors don't get anything other than the knowledge to teach better, and some of them pay their own registration to attend.

That doesn't mean, though, that we should continue to take advantage of the passions and commitment of these instructors and just assume that they will continue to upgrade their skills with no acknowledgement that this improvement has any value for the systems that employ them. The improvements that basic skills instructors constantly make to their skills needs to be acknowledged and rewarded by the systems that employ them. And this is another value of certification. So I suggest the following:

  • Employers need to recognize the added value to their organization by having hiring guidelines which place value on levels of certification.
  • Employers need to recognize the levels of certification through their pay structures, with incentives such as bonus payments for advanced certification, and salary schedules that reward certifications.
  • Employers need to develop organizational professional development plans that include partial or full support for advanced training that leads to certification. While some employers do pay for employees' classes, a more strategic plan is to provide reimbursements and support for certification courses that are built around clear standards and outcomes.
  • As practitioners, policy advocates, and researchers, certification is an incentive for us. It helps us push for systems that acknowledge the incredible resource that ABE/TESOL instructors are within adult education. We can use certification processes to remind policy makers and managers of our skills and knowledge and the impact that this provides on our communities.

It's this last point that I find most compelling in relation to our position in education. We're constantly being reminded that our work can easily be devalued. And we need to find ways to ask the communities and states in which we work to acknowledge our value within the larger educational system. Certification provides a small, but critical, statement to authenticate our skills and knowledge. It doesn't solve the whole issue of acknowledging our value, but it can offer one more piece to it.

Bob H.

Bob Hughes, Ed. D.

Associate Professor of Adult Education

Seattle University

Seattle, WA


Subject: [PD 5697] Re: Incentives
From: Hughes, Robert
Date: Thu Jun 23 20:34:30 EDT 2011

For those universities that have adult education programs, the programs are side-by-side (or at least on different floors of the same building, as they are in my school). But we exist in larger systems that still marginalize adult education. While most states fund K-12 education through a mandate that's often chartered by the state constitution, there's no similar dictum for adult education. In this reality, there are requirements and funding mechanisms that encourage universities to develop K-12 credentialing programs; and there's no similar incentive for universities to develop adult education programs. And then, unlike K-12 teachers, our graduates will have to go out and compete for fewer jobs that are mostly part-time.

No wonder basic skills attract such dedicated folks. You have to really want to do this work to spend thousands of dollars and go through all the effort to earn a master's degree in this field. My worry is, as I suggested in an earlier post today (#PD 5685), we can't keep expecting that we can build a profession on the goodness of practitioners. As we mature as a profession, as we develop more standards and expectations and certifications for what constitutes a professional adult educator, we need to concurrently advocate for the stature that will continue to make our profession attractive to the kinds of people it now attracts.

Then, being side-by-side with K-12 programs will mean more.

Bob H.

Bob Hughes, Ed. D.

Associate Professor of Adult Education

Seattle University

Seattle, WA


Subject: [PD 5712] Re: incentives for PD certification
From: Meagen Howe
Date: Fri Jun 24 10:53:34 EDT 2011

I like what Rachel Baron said and want to reply with reference to what others have said: "I fell into this through a series of "happy accidents," and I think that is a pretty common story. If a credential or degree in Adult Education is required to get a job in the first place, my guess is that programs in most states will need to recruit a different group of people from those who are currently teaching."

I also fell into this by happy accident and didn't even know the field existed until I started working in it. I look back to the days when my Dad started at IBM right out of college as a math major and was trained for a full year before being deployed into sales. What if we looked at the minimum standards for entry level instructors/tutors and then offered them standardized training/credentialing AFTER they are hired? This would be a huge incentive for prospective employees, attracting a broader range of skill sets and a continuation of those "happy accidents", while also allowing for the retention of instructors in the field as a whole because those who have completed on-the-job certification are likely to be more marketable.

STEM schools are a great example of how much value we can bring to education by attracting those who bring their real-world expertise into instruction. After all, one of the principles of adult learning is the desire for relevance and if we have a field full of career AE instructors who have no idea how these concepts will be applied in the real world, how can they possibly address this critical need for relevance in our learners?

"If I feel like an asset to a meaningful profession, I'm going to be happier (and stick around longer) than if I feel like a placeholder who could easily be replaced with a moderately talented volunteer, and the students are the ones who will reap the most benefits from that."

I agree that there needs to be a level of "professionalization" but I am sensitive to this misperception that the use of volunteers somehow devalues or discredits to work of paid instructors. In our programs we always have at least one paid staff as a "Site Manager" that oversees all instruction, assessments, and individualized learning plans. They provide support and expertise to the volunteer tutors in addition to providing direct instruction. A competitive attitude, however, keeps volunteers out of programs and denies our learners with the individualized attention that they desperately need by forcing them into instructional groups for cost-effectiveness...the same warehousing that caused many of them not to be successful in K-12 in the first place.

From my perspective, as a field we need volunteers, therefore we need to encourage the attitudes & skills of instructors to be able to guide instruction that someone else may provide as a tutor. This is why I think K-12 credentialing does not predict success in teaching adult education, because we should be a different model of education from K-12 if we are going to be successful as a field.

I would suggest a couple things from this reflection:
With the lack of resources in adult education, we need to seriously consider how we will intelligently engage and support volunteers in our programs, as tutors or instructors. I would recommend demonstrating skills in volunteer engagement & coordination as part of the credentialing process. The ability to work through your own lesson plan is crucial, but can you also create a lesson that someone else can pick up and easily provide? I don't know a single AE program in Northeast Ohio that does not either engage or want to engage volunteers in a meaningful way.

I concur that we want AE credentialing to be standard, then we need to provide it through agencies or collaborations of agencies, not forcing individuals to chase the credentialing at their own expense for no evidence of payoff.

Meagen Farrell Howe

CEO, Educational Consultant

Farrell Ink, LLC

Cleveland, OH


15. Hiring Practices

Subject: [PD 5676] Re: Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Gretchen Bitterlin
Date: Thu Jun 23 12:45:08 EDT 2011

Hello everyone-I am responding to the recent posts questioning the value of "content" knowledge as evidence of one's ability to work with adult English language learners.

Whether one has a certificate or credential, there is no guarantee that he or she has the practical skills of working with adult ELLs who may have very limited literacy skills. This is why professional development requirements after one is hired are so critical in adult education. I would like to share an extremely effective hiring strategy that we use in our non-credit community college ESL program to determine if an applicant has the appropriate skills to teach in our program.

It is called the demonstration lesson and was first implemented years ago by my mentor, Leann Howard. Here is how it works. After an applicant has been screened to see if they meet the minimum educational requirements, e.g. a Bachelor's and a TESOL certificate or the equivalent, he or she is required to do the 20 minute demonstration lesson, which is teaching 6-8 new vocabulary words in our lowest level ESL class, using the early production technique which is part of the Natural Approach. This technique is modeled on one our teacher training videos called Early Production, developed years ago by the ESL Teacher Institute. We require all new teachers to demonstrate proficiency with this technique because the majority of our learners are at the beginning level and it is easy to do in 20 minutes.

The steps required to do the lesson are as follows:

  • The teacher is asked to attend a workshop on Early Production or view the video on this technique.
  • Then the teacher is asked to observe at least 3 classes in our program, one of which is the beginning level class where the lesson will be held.
  • Once the date is set for the demonstration lesson, the teacher is asked to develop the 20 minute lesson teaching 6-8 vocabulary words that relate to a unit the students are about to study, e.g. health symptoms, clothing items, occupations, etc. In 20 minutes, the teacher will present the new vocabulary using visuals they prepare or realia and then ask a series of comprehension questions to check comprehension of the new vocabulary. The objective is that at the end of the 20 minutes, the students will be able to orally identify the new words from picture cues.
  • As the coordinator, I help the teacher find 6-8 visuals to use in the lesson. This step reveals a lot about the potential instructor. Some will go to the Internet and bring in beautiful visuals and the realia to go with them.
  • The teacher is also asked to write a 3-hour lesson plan describing how the lesson would be further developed to apply the 5 stages of a lesson plan - introduction, presentation, practice, evaluation, and application.
  • On the day of the lesson, I review the lesson plan with the instructor and how they are planning to implement the technique, showing him or her the criteria by which we will score the lesson.
  • My Dean and 1 or 2 instructors observe the lesson and use a simple scoring sheet to evaluate the lesson.
  • Following the demo lesson, I review it with the instructor pointing out the positive and negative aspects of the lesson.

The value of this strategy for screening teachers is that it offers the opportunity to really see how the instructor works with students. One of the most important things in teaching is how the instructor connects with the students and we see that immediately through the demo lesson. I have seen teachers come in with PhDs in TESOL and language acquisition and absolutely have no connection with the students. We do not hire this person in our program. I have also seen instructors come in with the minimum qualifications who totally connect with the students.

Another advantage of this strategy is that it is not difficult to implement. By requiring a very specific strategy and steps for implementing the strategy, it does not require a lot of time for the classroom teacher or the coordinator. By requiring this technique, I am also assured that if they are hired in our program, they will be able to implement this strategy with beginning level learners.

Finally, this process reveals a lot of other important factors to consider before hiring someone. The required lesson plan shows how well they can design lessons. The quality of the plan also reveals how organized and detailed an instructor is.

If the instructor passes the demo lesson, we then proceed to approve them if an opening occurs in our program.

Gretchen Bitterlin

ESL Program Chair

ESL Resource Office

Mid City Campus

San Diego, CA


Subject: [PD 5698] Re: Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Thu Jun 23 20:37:45 EDT 2011

Gretchen,

Thank you so much for this. For some time I've thought that if we knew what criteria really good programs use for hiring teachers we would have an important insight into what form criteria for certification both should and CAN take. But I've never had a chance to ask anyone. Do others in this discussion share my interest in this topic? If so, do others have hiring strategies they can share with us?

Forrest


Subject: [PD 5704] Re: Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Andy Nash
Date: Fri Jun 24 09:48:21 EDT 2011

I think demonstration lessons are powerful elements of a hiring process. I'm less interested in teachers carrying out a specific technique, however, and more in observing their ability to creatively select the techniques most effective for the class and objectives in front of them. In hiring, I think it's also helpful to know whether the candidate has ever learned (or tried to learn) a language before, or ever had to adjust to another culture.

Andy Nash

World Education


Subject: [PD 5719] Re: Evidence about the value of Certification
From: Gretchen Bitterlin
Date: Fri Jun 24 12:38:15 EDT 2011

In response to Forrest's post about the criteria used to hire a new instructor, I am sharing the questions that are used to score the demonstration lesson I described in an earlier post:

  • Does the 3-hour lesson plan appropriately address the objective and cover all of the stages adequately?
  • Did the instructor present the lesson at the appropriate level?
  • Did the instructor adjust the presentation and pace of the lesson as needed according to the students' ability to acquire the new language?
  • Did the instructor clearly model tasks that the students were expected to do?
  • Did the instructor sequence activities appropriately, according to the steps of the Early Production technique?
  • Did the instructor demonstrate cultural sensitivity to the students' needs and establish rapport with the class?
  • Were the materials used in the lesson appropriate?

Each question is scored with a scale as follows:

0 - Do not recommend

1 - Recommend with reservation

3 - Recommend

4 - Highly recommend

Gretchen Bitterlin

ESL Program Chair

ESL Resource Office

Mid City Campus

San Diego, CA


16. Career Pathways for Adult Educators

Subject: [PD 5663] The chicken AND the egg
From: David J. Rosen
Date: Wed Jun 22 09:57:12 EDT 2011

PD Colleagues,

Forrest Chisman wrote:
"We have had chicken or egg discussions on the value of credentialing when the career isn't there many times in one form or another on one discussion list or another. I generally agree with every eloquently expressed opinion, and then I flip and flop. In the end the chicken and the egg are one."

Since I have been working on career pathways concepts, images and content for adult learners, Forrest's "when the career isn't there" caused me to wonder if I could write a career pathway for college students considering the profession of adult basic education in my state. I think it would look like this:

  • Enter adult education with an undergraduate degree, possibly with K-12 or university volunteer or paid teaching experience, and/or ESOL or EFL teaching experience or an M.A. in TESOL as a plus, but not a requirement.
  • Teach part-time at wages well below what K-12 teachers earn, probably in two or three jobs for awhile, getting experience and good recommendations.
  • >

  • After a few years, apply for the very few-and increasingly fewer-full-time adult education teaching jobs, perhaps-if they are in state corrections or in public schools—where the salary and benefits might be the same as K-12 teachers.
  • After awhile apply for one of the very few administrator jobs, where the salary and benefits are generally good.

(Of course what often happens is that after step 2 or 3 teachers leave adult education for K-12 or higher education teaching positions, where we lose them, at least until they retire and sometimes return to adult education teaching part-time.)

My state offers a very well-designed and challenging adult education teaching license with high standards. However, it is voluntary, and I am not aware of any evidence that there is a financial return on the teacher's considerable investment of time, although some teachers have chosen to be licensed for professional satisfaction and professional development, not for career advancement. This is in a state that that is highly respected for its well-developed system of adult basic education and has not, fortunately, so far suffered massive adult education cuts like Michigan, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and others.

I try to imagine myself presenting this career path to an undergraduate or recent college graduate interested in pursuing adult education, especially to someone with college loans to pay. I imagine the same person interested in a career in nursing.. S/he would hear a long presentation of well-articulated steps involving lots of higher education and successful work experience and-at each step-accompanied by a measurable increase in salary, with lots of opportunities for advancement. Now there's a career!

Why is the difference so striking? Is it a chicken or egg problem? What's the chicken? What's the egg?

Or is this a case, as Forrest may be suggesting, where enforcing professional standards (we already have the adult basic education standards) needs to go hand-in-hand with developing a career path that at every step has a measurable return on a teacher's investment? If so, while because of shrinking resources in most states, there isn't an opportunity to implement such a design now, it would be useful to have it thought through for the future when resources may increase. I like chicken _and_ egg -teachers must be financially rewarded for meeting the professional development certification standards.

David J. Rosen


Subject: [PD 5677] Re: The chicken AND the egg
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Thu Jun 23 13:09:04 EDT 2011

I expect that David J. Rosen's statement below re incentives is the absolute norm except in states that now require, as CO does, some serious form of credential.

"My state offers a very well-designed and challenging adult ed teaching license with high standards. However, it is voluntary, and I am not aware of any evidence that there is a financial return on the teacher's considerable investment of time, although some teachers have chosen to be licensed for professional satisfaction and professional development, not for career advancement."

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5711] career pathway so different
From: South, Shauna
Date: Fri Jun 24 10:39:17 EDT 2011

We are all over the place in what the credentialing should or could be and how it would be standardized. I see the task to be quite a challenge because of the different entities or organizations that offer adult education. Anyone could put up their shingle and start offering adult education courses. Many have done just that. They establish their own requirements for someone they hire to teach adults. Much of our problem lies in the organization that offers adult education which of course is different than a K-12 structure. And we have no control over this.

Just some thoughts that addresses the question as to "why is it so different out there?". I am sure that I haven't described every scenario out there.

Four Major Governance levels:

  • Public School System
  • Department of Labor
  • Higher Education/or Community College
  • Community-based (CBO's)

Requirements vary dependent on the governing structure or system.

Content:

  • ASE (Adult Secondary Education)
  • GED
  • ABE
  • ESL

Common requirements in a system that is the Public School System:

  • Requirements to teach ASE (where Carnegie unit credits are awarded) - Must be a certified teacher with a teaching credential.
  • Requirements to teach GED - no credential of any kind needed
  • Requirements to teach ABE - no credential of any kind needed
  • Requirements to teach ESL - no credential of any kind needed

Common requirements in a system that is Higher Education/Community College system.

  • Requirements are those required by the community college or university - Masters, BA, PhD

Common requirements in a system that is the Department of Labor.

  • Requirements are those for employment in the DOL.

Common requirements in a CBO environment.

  • Requirements are those for employment in the organization. These could range from nothing to so many hours of volunteer training to a credential.

Shauna South, ma

Education Specialist

Utah State Office of Education

Salt Lake City, Utah


17. Shifting the Nature of the Workforce

Subject: [PD 5686] Shifting the Nature of the Adult Education Workforce
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Thu Jun 23 15:12:03 EDT 2011

Many of us may be able to describe (in our sleep!) the issues created in our field by having a significant portion of our workforce as part time. (82% part-time, last I heard Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier speak). The teachers themselves are hard-working and dedicated to professional learning, as Bob Hughes is noting in his message on incentives. But I am referring to the structural nature of the workforce itself as mostly part-time.

If we build certification and credentialing systems to improve teacher quality, the part-time workforce in particular most often lack the reasons to participate beyond dedication, personal satisfaction or other examples raised in this discussion thus far. These reasons are the ones that help to keep educators who have honed knowledge and skills in the adult education field. There seem to be few career ladders, advancement in pay, and other anticipated opportunities that one would find in other fields.

I'm wondering who, at the local, state, and national levels, is working to solve this issue. How do we solve the problems for certification and credentialing created by a part-time workforce? What needs to happen going forward?

Second, has anyone shifted their program, or programs within their state, to more full-time staff with benefits, established some sort of career ladder that advances teachers within the adult education teaching profession? If so, please tell us about it and whether you've seen improvements in student outcomes as a result.

PS-If you know of someone who could contribute to this thread but who may not be subscribed to the PD List, I hope you'll invite them to participate.

To subscribe: http://lincs.ed.gov/mailman/listinfo/Professionaldevelopment/

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/


Subject: [PD 5688] Re: Shifting the Nature of the Adult Education Workforce
From: Karen Mundie
Date: Thu Jun 23 16:17:56 EDT 2011

Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council is a hybrid program, that is to say we have two kinds of staff, full time professionals and unpaid volunteers. In general, all of our 40 professional jobs are full time—our two part time people were hired full-time and later asked to become part-time because of personal circumstances. Frankly, I wasn't happy to make that adjustment, but I accepted the step back because I respect the people involved. If either left, however, they would be replaced by full time workers.

I worked for twenty years as a part-time employee, first for a school district and later for an intermediate unit (part time could be a lot of hours, but it was always just below whatever arbitrary cut-off was in place to assure that adult education teachers didn't get full-time status and thus benefits). I loved my work in all of that time, but I knew that I was just treading water professionally. I vowed that if I were ever in a position to effect change that I would only hire full-time and that I would demand that staff engage in on-going professional development activities, that is that staff would feel like and behave like professionals. I was lucky enough to follow David Rosen's progression. I eventually got a full-time adult education teaching job which led me to a full-time administrative job.

Because we are a CBO with an adult education mission, it was not that hard to simply make the decision to hire full-time and stick with it. The problem is that most jobs in adult education today are with public institutions of some kind or another-community colleges, intermediate units, school districts, career and technology centers-and our kind of adult education is just an addendum to their basic missions. In times of stress, we are easily thrown overboard because the system needs us to be. They have to protect their primary missions first. I believe that if we could make it into the mission statements of our "parent" organizations (or become our own institution), we just might get somewhere, but until then we are a marginal field.

All GPLC staff have a professional development plan in place, and we check in on it at least annually. We don't have an incentive plan in place at this time-but growing in a profession is often its own incentive.

Karen Mundie


Subject: [PD 5691] Keeping and Paying Full-time Adult Educators
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Thu Jun 23 17:08:33 EDT 2011

"I'm wondering who, at the local, state, and national levels, is working to solve this issue. How do we solve the problems for certification and credentialing created by a part-time workforce? What needs to happen going forward? Second, has anyone shifted their program, or programs within their state, to more full-time staff with benefits, established some sort of career ladder that advances teachers within the adult education teaching profession? If so, please tell us about it and whether you've seen improvements in student outcomes as a result."

A response from Paulette Church, who has been in adult education and advocacy efforts forever and a day-

In 1999, the Durango Adult Education Center had only two full time staff members; the Director and the Assistant Director. Staff were underpaid, under-qualified, and lacked motivation to improve. The first thing I did was to create full-time teaching positions and added health and dental benefits. I couldn't pay as much as the public schools, but we came within about 75%. Later, the Board added retirement benefits for those who stayed more than two years.

The result has been the virtual elimination of turnover. Students often dropout and return over a period of years and our stable teaching staff assures them a familiar face when they return. Our students have unstable lives and they need a stable adult education center where people love their work and believe that everyone can reach realistic goals with good teaching and mentoring. Our GED and TABE test scores dramatically rose with full-time teachers as did the number of GED graduates we have in a typical year. The number of students rose from 247 to 801 as we were able to expand hours and programs with full-time staff. Funding rose with our reputation.

You really have to lead with staff, anticipating needs. If students come and they can't get with a teacher, they will seldom return. I'd rather pay a teacher to sit with one or two students than have one or two students with no teacher.

I certainly have part-time teachers but again I raised the rate dramatically from $10/hour to $20 to $25 per hour and this has brought highly qualified staff who feel valued and who give 100% to their students. Most want to work only part-time.

I taught college for 10 years and I see the difference in accessibility to students between full-time and part-time faculty. By being generous with paid planning time and meeting time, I think we have avoided some of those pitfalls. Our staff has great camaraderie and we consciously work to include everyone in communications and events.

A problem does arise when you ask someone who teaches 6 or 8 hours per week and has a MA in education or years of successful adult education teaching to take an undergraduate course to become certified in adult education. Our state does offer the opportunity to portfolio out of a class, but even that process takes hours to complete. I would hope teacher observations and evaluations could be standardized in our state so that only those teachers who fail to measure up are required to take courses to remediate their knowledge and practice. A good teacher needs to know the subject and know best teaching practices; however, that's not the final word. They need to have the heart of a teacher, especially when we work with at-risk students who will leave at even the perception of a negative judgment. The heart cannot be taught, but it can be modeled. The heart is the part will all have trouble documenting but we know it when we see it.

Paulette Church

Durango Adult Education Center

Durango, CO

www.durangoaec.org


Subject: [PD 5696] Re: Keeping and Paying Full-time Adult Educators
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Thu Jun 23 18:09:42 EDT 2011

Paulette,

Your story is inspiring. But can I ask: did you obtain additional funding to bring about these changes? The reason I ask is that participants in our CAAL Roundtable on certification and credentialing pointed out that a major reason why there are so few full time positions is the widespread "exploitation" (their word) of part-time staff. Not only are part-timers ineligible for benefits, but in most programs their pay per contact hour is less than that of full-timers. So, in terms of numbers of students served, one full-timer USUALLY costs more than two or more part timers. Hence programs believe that they have to choose between quantity and equity, and all the policy pressures on them are in favor of quantity. Have you been able to work around this problem, and if so how?

To directly answer Jackie's excellent question, I have come across two programs that moved to far more full-time staff. One is City College of San Francisco (70,000 non-credit ESL students). The former program manager there credits the shift to support by the teacher's union in lobbying for additional funding and authority to make more full-time hires. (Authority is important, because full-timers have retention rights that encumber the college in the out years.) The other program is Dorcas Place, formerly headed by none other than the present Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, Benda Dann Messier. They are a CBO, and as the gentleman from Pittsburg points out, CBO's often have far more latitude in allocating funds than do public programs. I'm not sure of the details of how Brenda pulled it off. In both cases there are decidedly career ladders. The essence of them is simple: part-timers who can demonstrate that they are exceptional teachers (by degrees, PD, observation, or in ANY way) have preference in hiring for full-time positions. This is a meaningful incentive, because there is a "graying of the workforce" in many programs-and full time teachers (if they exist) are retiring.

But I don't get around very much, and I think it would be very valuable to hear other examples and what makes them "tick."

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5749] Keeping/Paying FT AE Instructors
From: Paulette Church
Date: Mon Jun 27 12:44:39 EDT 2011

Yes, I raised more money to fund the staff. I could do that because I had qualified staff in key roles and that's what funders were looking for. I also diversified funding to new sources, including fee for service that matched our mission.

Paulette


Subject: [PD 5692] Re: Shifting the Nature of the Adult Education Workforce
From: Tom Sticht
Date: Thu Jun 23 17:23:02 EDT 2011

Folks: Following is a note I wrote in 2004 regarding full- and part-time personnel in the Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS), that is, the programs funded under WIA Title II. Over time, it looks like there has been a shifting of the nature of the adult education workforce-but in the wrong direction! I don't have more recent data on personnel in the AELS. Maybe others do.

Tom Sticht

Research Note 28 May 2004

Full Time Teachers in Short Supply in the Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS) of the United States

Tom Sticht

International Consultant in Adult Education

The Workforce Investment Act, Title 2: Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (WIA/AEFLA) was enacted by the U. S. Congress in 1998. To define and implement the accountability requirements of the WIA/AEFLA the U. S. Department of Education established the National Reporting System (NRS). This system collects data about each of the three categories of accountability indicators from the states, consolidates it, and reports it in an annual report to Congress. The most recent report is: "U. S. Department of Education (2003). The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act: Program Year 2001-2002: Report to Congress on State Performance. Office of Vocational and Adult Education."

For reasons that are not clear to me, the report to the Congress for PY01-02 includes information about the number of part-time and full-time teachers employed in the AELS. The report indicates that in PY01-02 there were a total of 67,700 teachers in the AELS of whom 51,000 (75%) were part-time and 16,700 (25%) were full time. Since no trend data for teaching personnel in the AELS from earlier years are presented in the PY01-02 report to Congress, I have tabulated some, below.

Interestingly, over two decades ago, in 1980, the AELS employed 35,745 (68%) part-time teachers and 16,939 (32%) full-time teachers to meet the needs of 2,058,000 students. Given the new requirements for accountability and extensive training in data collection and management that the NRS requires it might be expected that there would be a greater percentage of full-time teachers in 2002 than there were 22 years ago. But as indicated above, that was not the case in PY01-02. Following are data showing the percentage of part-time and full-time teachers in other years for which data were available to me. (note: the following does not include volunteers):

Year Total Part-Time Full-Time

1980 52684 35745 (68%) 16939 (32%)

1988 76060 63990 (84%) 12070 (16%)

1996 102498 76366 (75%) 26132 (25%)

1997 154386 106267(69%) 48119 (31%)

1998 92019 69129 (75%) 22890 (25%)

1999 85128 66330 (78%) 18798 (22%)

2000 88700 68318 (77%) 20382 (23%)

2002 67700 51000 (75%) 16700 (25%)

In 1980 the federal state grant for the AELS was around $99,926,000, or, stated in inflation adjusted, constant 2001 dollars, around $212 million. In fiscal year 2001 (PY01-02) the federal state grant with English language and civics funding included was $530,278,106, more than two and a half times the 1980 funding level. With such increased funding in PY01-02 it might be thought that a greater investment in full-time teaching staff would be made. But instead the part-time teaching staff increased by 43 percent over the 1980 level, while the number of full-time teachers actually declined by 239, a decrease of over 1.4 percent.

These types of historical data are not in the PY01-02 report to the Congress. Also missing in the report to the Congress are data regarding the use of volunteers in the AELS. But in 1997, the year before the WIA/AEFLA was enacted, U. S. Department of Education data indicate that there were 87,812 volunteers at work in the AELS, and they made up about a third (36%) of all personnel. In 2000, the last year for which I have data, there were only 64,664 volunteers, a decline of some 25 percent from 1997, but they made up 42 percent of personnel in 2000.

From the foregoing it appears that after the WIA/AEFLA was enacted in 1998, federal funding went up, but enrollments declined, teaching staff declined, there were more part-time but fewer full-time teachers and non-paid volunteers increased as a percentage of total personnel. All this strikes me as rather strange. If funding increased and enrollments decreased why wouldn't more full-time teachers be employed? At the very least, why wouldn't the percentage of full-time teachers in PY01-02 be the same as in 1980 when the funding in constant 2001 dollars was less than half that of PY01-02?

One wonders just who it is that receives the annual Reports to Congress that the NRS produces, and who exactly it is that reads the reports. It would be interesting if the Congressional reader(s) would produce a Report to the Adult Education and Literacy Field giving its feedback on these reports and how they contribute to the deliberations about the continuation and funding of the State Grants for the AELS. As it is right now, I don’t see how anyone can read these annual NRS reports and determine how well the AELS is performing and who ought to be held accountable for what.

Addendum: In program year 2001-02 there were a total of 153,390 personnel in the AELS (including volunteers) , and 21 percent were full-time. The number of students per full-time personnel was 87 to 1. By program year 2004-05, there were 144,169 personnel, but only 15 percent were full-time, and the student to full-time personnel ratio was 116 to 1. I have not found data beyond the 04-05 program year but the data as of 04-05 do not suggest an increase in quality of teaching in the AELS as indicated by the numbers of full-time personnel.


Subject: [PD 5694] Re: Shifting the Nature of the AE Workforce
From: Gina Jarvi
Date: Thu Jun 23 17:32:52 EDT 2011

Dear AE Colleagues,

There are a myriad number of threads to this umbrella discussion that I could parachute off of, and I thank you all for educating me on so many diverse aspects. I particularly want to thank Jackie for her excellent questions and comments that help me to focus my responses. However, I am going to take a leap and direct us to this other issue that ultimately affects PD, credentialing, and even perhaps future strands in Education.

Adult Education is crossing over into "Career Pathways", bumping up against Workforce. Perhaps in the near future both fields will merge. What is the implication for this?

Imagine piloting a Pre-CNA class, taught by a master ELL teacher, who also teaches Civics, core ELL classes, and Math. Her hours are 9 am - 12:15pm M -F. She receives a textbook to teach from that she has to adapt the content to her students' levels, and takes a First Aid and CPR training (paid for by the program). From that she must design and implement a Pre-CNA course for an Intermediate level ELL class. Looking at her schedule, how much time do you think she gives to the program for free? No extended pay available except for the trainings themselves. Can you design a course with a 15-30 minute paid prep allotment?

Furthermore, some programs are discussing offering other Workforce prep classes that many teachers are not trained to teach, though it is suggested that teachers will just need to modify their current teaching practices to the particular job students want to get into, just like in the example above.

The kind of support that teachers need is the kind that takes TIME, and time = MONEY and money is what is missing! So with the absence of funds YET the wealth of passion that exists in our field, teachers will continue to adapt their know-how to the benefit of the powers that be who are the ones who create these changes, yet who neglect to connect the dots and assign a true value to those who perform the work. And teachers will continue to be faulted for not being good-enough, or credentialed enough, or appropriately trained because change happens before we (teachers) are offered the chance to prepare for change.

Let's look ahead and see what is headed our way. What changes do we need to prepare for? What support can we afford to give to our teachers now and for the future of the field?

Gina Jarvi

ABE/ELL/Computer Teacher

Minneapolis Adult Basic Education

Minneapolis, MN


Subject: [PD 5702] Re: Shifting the Nature of the Adult Education Workforce
From: Bennett, Patricia
Date: Fri Jun 24 08:47:03 EDT 2011

First, let me introduce myself. I'm an Education Specialist on the national projects team at OVAE. My portfolio of projects at OVAE includes teacher quality and effectiveness and the Learning to Achieve initiative to improve outcomes for students with learning disabilities. Prior to coming to OVAE, I was at the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) and the State Director for Adult Education in Maryland.

The discussion this week has been really interesting and is very connected to OVAE's longstanding commitment to Teacher Quality and Effectiveness, and particularly to teacher qualifications and credentials. I want to share some information about OVAEs recent and planned activities that may be of interest. OVAE's Teacher Quality projects include CAELA, CAELA Network, Standards, STAR, and TEAL. OVAE also convened a Symposium on Adult Education and Teacher Effectiveness in September and led a Teacher Quality strand at the Annual State Directors Meeting in May. Many of the comments this week are very pertinent to the work of this new project. OVAE recently posted a request for proposals to begin a three year project to Promote Teacher Effectiveness in Adult Education. The goal is to improve instructional services and outcomes for adult learners. The project will create model teacher competencies, a Toolkit to assists states in implementing the competencies and a model teacher induction program. OVAE will also validate and field test the model competencies, Toolkit, and induction program with several states. The project will be announced in OVAE Connections when the contract is awarded.

Additionally, in WIA reauthorization, Brenda Dann-Messier continues to articulate the Administration proposal to "Ensure that all adult learners benefit from highly effective instructors and education leaders, by professionalizing the field of adult education". This would:

  • Set a minimum teacher requirement of bachelor’s degree;
  • Compensate teachers for planning time;
  • Develop partnerships with universities to develop and strengthen teacher training programs, specifically geared toward teaching literacy and basic skills to adults;
  • Support professional development systems that recognize the increasing demands for innovation, and prepare teachers to develop skill-sets needed for innovative models, such as career pathways and strategies for accelerated learning based on research and effective practice.

OVAE also continues to support the LINCS projects which include a LINCS Collection of evidence-based resources, and regional Professional Development Centers. LINCS projects are designed to fill a need for ongoing professional development and dissemination of high-quality resources to the field.

I look forward to hearing more engaging discussion today.

Patricia Bennett


Subject: [PD 5715] Re: Shifting the Nature of the Adult Education Workforce
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Fri Jun 24 12:20:40 EDT 2011

Pat,

I'm sure all of us are encouraged by these OVAE initiatives. I think many might also be interested in the RFP for the project to Promote Teacher Effectiveness you mention-as a way of finding out more specifically where you are headed. Is it possible for you to post a link to it?

Forrest


Subject: [PD 5727] Re: Shifting the Nature of the Adult Education Workforce
From: Anurag Sagar
Date: Fri Jun 24 16:06:32 EDT 2011

Hello,

I am very intrigued by Patricia Bennett's comments regarding the efforts of OVAE to improve the quality and effectiveness of adult literacy practitioners.

I have been involved in the field of adult literacy for almost 15 years both as a GED instructor and currently as ESL teacher and program manager. Interestingly enough, although I have no "formal" teaching credentials (my background is in science), I was invited to give an address at the OVAE Symposium on Adult Teacher Quality and Effectiveness Symposium in DC last September.

I am pleased that some of my comments shared at the Symposium, especially regarding teacher compensation (which as we all acknowledge is rather pathetic in this field) and creating partnerships between schools of education and literacy organizations (almost non-existent in Philadelphia), are being considered seriously.

The reality though is grim. This year, our adult literacy teachers (all of whom are part-time) will have less paid prep time than in the past! At our agency staff is encouraged to work full-time, but unfortunately with inadequate salaries, and having to commute from site to site to teach four classes (a full-time workload) most choose to work part-time. It is not easy to ask these teachers to put in the many extra hours required for PD without some understanding that this will lead not just to greater personal satisfaction, but also to a "promotion" in their chosen field.

-Anurag Sagar PhD

ESL Program Manager

Center for Literacy

Philadelphia, PA


18. Role of National Associations

Subject: [PD 5670] Nationwide Professional Association for Adult Education
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Thu Jun 23 12:10:04 EDT 2011

Hi Brett,

You noted, "I like the idea of online courses for adult education teacher training purposes. It would be ideal if there were (is there?) a nation-wide, or North American, association for adult education teachers?"

Actually, there are at least two:

  • Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE): http://www.coabe.org/
    Currently with over 7,200 members nationwide, COABE's mission is to "provide leadership, communication, professional development and advocacy for adult education and literacy practitioners in order to advance quality services for all adult learners."
  • ProLiteracy: http://www.proliteracy.org/
    I am uncertain of the number of individual members they have. But their mission reads: "ProLiteracy champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies."

Both offer staff development opportunities and benefits for their members. ProLiteracy offers certification for trainers: http://www.proliteracy.org/page.aspx?pid=286. Perhaps someone from ProLiteracy will hop on to this discussion and tell us more about their trainer certification.

Both organizations also have been jointly publishing the Adult Basic Education and Literacy Journal. Nonmembers can go here to download a free copy: http://www.coabe.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=news

I wonder if others here have thoughts on what the role of national professional associations should be in the convening/creation of a system of certification and credentialing in adult education. Anyone?

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/


Subject: [PD 5687] Re: Nationwide Professional Association for Adult Education
From: John Segota
Date: Thu Jun 23 15:57:20 EDT 2011

Jackie -

I would hasten to include TESOL among the national professional associations that serve adult education. While TESOL's membership includes ESL educators working at all levels, those working with adult learners are one of the association's largest constituencies.

TESOL has over 12,000 members in over 150 countries worldwide, although the majority are in the U.S. TESOL has a variety of products and services geared specifically towards those working with adult learners, including:

Additionally, as Jodi Crandall mentioned TESOL has an online directory for MA TESOL and other TESOL teacher education programs. (The directory doesn't specify those that have a specific adult ESL component.) You can find the directory at the link below.
TESOL Directory of Degree & Certificate Programs http://www.tesol.org/DDCP

Regards,

John

John Segota, CAE

Director of Advocacy, Standards, and Professional Relations

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL)

A Global Education Association

Alexandria, VA


Subject: [PD 5700] Re: Nationwide Professional Association for Adult Education
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Thu Jun 23 22:08:52 EDT 2011

Hi John,

Thank you so much for this additional information.

You wrote,
"I would hasten to include TESOL among the national professional associations that serve adult education. While TESOL's membership includes ESL educators working at all levels, those working with adult learners are one of the association's largest constituencies. TESOL has over 12,000 members in over 150 countries worldwide, although the majority are in the U.S."

I knew that TESOL serves educators at all levels; however, I had no idea that the majority of TESOL's constituency is those working with adult learners and in the U.S.

Others: If there are other national organizations serving adult education practitioners that have not been named so far, let us know and tell us why they are national and/or international in scope, and what services they provide.

Jackie Taylor


Subject: [PD 5710] Re: TESOL and AAACE
From: Federico Salas-Isnardi
Date: Thu Jun 23 23:49:47 EDT 2011

Jackie

You said:
"I knew that TESOL serves educators at all levels; however, I had no idea that the majority of TESOL's constituency is those working with adult learners and in the U.S."

To an extent, I feel responsible for your not knowing that TESOL's adult education constituency is one of its largest! As a former chair of adult education for TESOL, I should have shared that information with you while we worked together on the board of AALPD. In fact, for years, adult education was the largest interest section within TESOL (it is now the second largest.)

You also asked:
"If there are other national organizations serving adult education practitioners that have not been named so far, let us know and tell us why they are national and/or international in scope, and what services they provide."

An organization that has not been mentioned is AAACE, the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education, (www.aaace.org). According to their vision, AAACE "is dedicated to the belief that lifelong learning contributes to human fulfillment and positive social change."

I invite anyone interested to check out their website for the complete mission statement, but wanted to draw the attention of people interested in this conversation about credentialing in adult education to this part of AAACE's mission which is to provide leadership for the field by..."fostering the development and dissemination of theory, research, information, and best practices; promoting identity and standards for the profession; and advocating relevant public policy and social change initiatives."

Although AAACE's scope is broader than our literacy and basic skills focus, I bring this association up because I find it to be an answer to some of the insularity and isolation that many times affects our adult education programs. While ABE and literacy are only one component of AAACE (and they acknowledge it), since I joined AAACE (only three years ago) I have found that many of the problems that concern us also affect people who work with adult education in many other contexts. It is good to network with people who are addressing some of the same issues in a broader context and it is also good to see so much energy in an organization working with adult learners.

The association has eight commissions and twenty six interest groups. Among the commissions you find: Adult Basic Education and Literacy; Community, Minority, and Non-formal Education; International Adult Education; and Workforce and Professional Training. Among the interest sections you find: Adult Education Staff Development; Distance Learning and Technology; GED administration; Learning Disabilities and Special Learning Needs; Counseling and the Adult Learner, etc.

I think if we were to look at possible components of a national credential of some sort, AAACE would be a valuable partner.

federico

Federico Salas-Isnardi

Member, Nominating Committee, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, 2011-2012, www.tesol.org

Chair Elect, Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers, www.aalpd.org


Subject: [PD 5716] Re: TESOL and AAACE
From: Amy Rose
Date: Fri Jun 24 11:27:19 EDT 2011

I agree. I would also add that an additional commission is the Commission of Professors of Adult Education which actually does set non-binding standards for graduate programs.

Amy D. Rose, Ed.D.

Professor, Adult and Higher Education

Northern Illinois University

DeKalb IL


From: [PD 5718] Re: TESOL and AAACE
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Fri Jun 24 12:27:59 EDT 2011

Federico,

Thanks for clarifying TESOL's interests and introducing AAACE into the discussion. I wonder whether you or anyone else knows whether TESOL has given any thought to building a model credentialing system on its Standards for Teachers of Adult ESOL? The standards were a result of a lengthy process and would seem to contain many of the elements required for C&C in ESL. I have wondered whether there are plans to take "the next step.' Do you or anyone else know?

Forrest Chisman


Subject: [PD 5730] Re: TESOL Core Certificate Program
From: John Segota
Date: Fri Jun 24 17:11:45 EDT 2011

Forrest -

TESOL has based its Core Certificate Program in part on the standards for teachers of adults. The Core Certificate Program is a 130-hour online training program providing a foundation in the theory and practice of English language teaching. The certificate program provides a summary of the core knowledge of the field to support individuals in enhancing their professional practice and careers in serving the needs of English language learners (ELLs).

The program is comprised of two required online courses: a foundation course (Fundamentals of TESOL), and a specialty course (Teaching Language Skills and Assessment: Adult Learners or Teaching Language Skills and Assessment: Young Learners). Here is the description of the course on Teaching Language Skills and Assessment: Adult Learners:

This course, which is guided and supported by TESOL's Standards for ESL/EFL Teachers of Adults (2008), discusses appropriate methods and techniques for teaching language skills, vocabulary, and grammar to adult learners. The participants learn how to address the language learners' needs and different learning styles. The course also stresses assessment approaches and tools to help English language teachers accurately evaluate students' learning and proficiency. The adult students discussed in this course include language learners who may not be literate in their native language. Because these learners come from a variety of backgrounds, this course also discusses literacy issues and cultural aspects of language acquisition. This course focuses on both ESL and EFL contexts.

More information on the TESOL Core Certificate Program is available at http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=2047&DID=12648.

Regards,

John Segota


19. Teacher Quality and Teaching to the Test

Subject: [PD 5693] Re: Degrees of Education for Adult Education Instructors
From: Hilda Dudley
Date: Thursday, June 23, 2011, 5:28 PM

Hello everyone,

I am a little late joining this discussion but I do have some concerns. Some of you say we should have all day classes for Adult Education; try keeping these students in the classroom that long. Others say all Adult Education Instructors should be highly qualified, well let's look at this; these students have already been with highly qualified teachers and what happened?

I teach Adult Education for Bevill State Community College, in Alabama and get students too often that are straight from high school to my class that read on 2nd and 3rd grade levels, don't know there address, do not know their multiplication tables, and cannot do basic math. I work with them and they get their GED. I do not have a Masters but I have mastered my job. What it takes to work and help these people is dedication, determination and a desire to get down to their level in society and forget about the finer things in life and help them.

We are not educating them per se as a K-12 does we are educating them on what is on the test and making sure they know enough to pass the test. We teach them what it takes to get a job and keep the job and encourage them to attend college and show them how to overcome the fears of failure they have lived with all their life. The majority of my class this year has been special education students that should have never been in special education they should have been taught as the others in school were, most of these got their GED and the others will when we return for this next year.

I am dedicated to my job and helping my people and I look for any methods I need to help a person achieve its goals. I enjoy taking training courses but you do not need to be a rocket scientist to teach a person.

Hilda Dudley


Subject: [PD 5699] Degrees of Education for Adult Education Instructors
From: Sharon Hillestad
Date: Thu Jun 23 21:39:53 EDT 2011

Amen Hilda. Thanks for picking up broken pieces coming out of our schools. Such students have had years of academic mismanagement by qualified, certified, degreed, and supervised teachers. The following references do not back up the efficacy of certification.

Does teacher testing raise teacher quality? Evidence from state certification requirements "The results suggest that state-mandated teacher testing is associated with increases in teacher wages, though we find no evidence of a corresponding increase in quality." http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775707000842

The Cost-Effectiveness of NBPTS Teacher Certification "A cost-effectiveness analysis of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) program suggests that Board certification is less cost-effective than a range of alternative approaches for raising student achievement..." http://erx.sagepub.com/content/34/3/220.short

Can Teacher Quality Be Effectively Assessed? National Board Certification as a Signal of Effective Teaching "We do not find evidence that the NBPTS certification process itself does anything to increase teacher effectiveness." http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/rest.89.1.134?journalCode=rest

Sharon Hillestad

National Right To Read FL Rep


Subject: [PD 5695] Re: Degrees of Education for Adult Education Instructors
From: Kim Harris
Date: Thu Jun 23 17:49:20 EDT 2011

It seems to me teaching to the test is a huge problem in K-12 that I'd prefer not to bring to adult education. Simply knowing enough to pass the GED does not make a person work and college ready.

Kim Harris


Subject: [PD 5709] Re: What it takes to teach adults and teaching to the test
From: Federico Salas-Isnardi
Date: Fri Jun 24 02:07:12 EDT 2011

Hilda

In your post earlier, you challenge the notion that adult education teachers should be "highly" qualified and illustrate by saying that you don't have a master's degree but have "mastered" your job. There are different ways of becoming qualified and mastering your job makes you, to a great degree, qualified already.

Is it your contention that adult education students don't deserve "highly qualified" teachers because they "have already been with highly qualified teachers and what happened? "? It seems to me that precisely because many (but not all) adult education students come from a system that failed them they should be afforded the opportunity to come to adult education to find highly qualified teachers.

You also say: What it takes to work and help these people is dedication, determination and a desire to get down to their level in society and forget about the finer things in life and help them. We are not educating them per se as a K-12 does we are educating them on what is on the test and making sure they know enough to pass the test. We teach them what it takes to get a job and keep the job...

Of course it takes dedication and determination but, while those are necessary qualities, they are not sufficient. Our students deserve people who can open the doors of knowledge from a variety of perspectives; who cannot just encourage but also know how to keep one step ahead of the students in order to facilitate the search for knowledge.

I disagree that we should teach them "enough to pass the test." That is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion. In fact, many K-12 systems around the nation (Texas included) seem more concerned with passing the test than with helping students gain knowledge and develop skills they can use. If we go in that direction, if we teach enough to pass the test, we cheat our students and, frankly, ourselves. In the 21st century we need to help our students go much further than passing a test; if we really want to "teach them what it takes to get a job and keep the job," as you say, we need to expose them to knowledge that goes way beyond the basics of the test. We need to help them develop skills and knowledge in a variety of fields of practice because, among other things, our economy today requires people with multidisciplinary knowledge.

A certification system does not guarantee quality as many posts have indicated; the K-12 system is full of examples of that. And many adult educators come to the field with a degree like you or Suzanne or me and over time gained qualifications through experience and, some of us, through further education.

In Texas our credential system is voluntary but in order to participate you MUST be currently teaching in the field of adult education. It is, then, not a certification like the K-12 teachers get before they start to work in the field. Ours is a credential that "organizes" the experience and qualifications you gain while in the trenches and helps teachers form learning communities. It also offers a well structured and research-based approach to professional development because you earn the credential through a variety of PD events (going to college and taking graduate courses is one of many possibilities.) I think Texas has an outstanding credential system, but the question in my mind remains: if the credential is to be earned while you are already working in the adult education system, what criteria is used to open the door to someone to teach in adult education? (Texas has a minimum requirement of a bachelor's degree.)

I would not make a certification mandatory as a door to enter the field of adult education as long as there are no guarantees of job security or full-time benefits; I would advocate, however, for a mandatory credential, like the one in Texas, for people to earn while working in the field because the more you further your education and training while working within a community of learners the better your chances of really helping your students.

federico

Federico Salas-Isnardi

Member, Nominating Committee, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, 2011-2012, www.tesol.org

Chair Elect, Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers, www.aalpd.org


20. What's Needed for Policy and Practice

Subject: [PD 5705] Day Five: What's Needed for Policy and Practice
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Fri Jun 24 10:30:04 EDT 2011

Dear PD List Colleagues:

This has been an amazing discussion. Thank you all for your time and thoughtful consideration. Today is the last "official" day though you should feel free to discuss any threads put forth now and after the discussion officially ends. We have some inquiries out for others not on the PD List to contribute, so anticipate that we may hear from one or more individuals early next week.

Consider all of the thinking we have done together on certification and credentialing, including factors that contribute to the nature of the adult education workforce and what we've learned from research.

What are the implications for policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels to make a certification and credentialing system work? What needs to happen to make key changes in our field that will professionalize the workforce?

For example, consider policy or practice recommendations for:

  • Practitioners
  • Employers / Program administrators
  • Professional development systems
  • Colleges, universities
  • States
  • State and national professional associations
  • Research
  • Others not listed above but who may be key players

Let's brainstorm today and I'll compile a list for sharing. Please keep it within discussion list guidelines: http://lincs.ed.gov/lincs/discussions/list_guidelines.html. Below is Bob's list if you'd like some ideas to get started.

Looking forward. Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/


Subject: [PD 5731] Re: Day Five: What's Needed for Policy and Practice
From: Meagen Howe
Date: Fri Jun 24 20:53:21 EDT 2011

"What are the implications for policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels to make a certification and credentialing system work? What needs to happen to make key changes in our field that will professionalize the workforce?"

I know ProLiteracy offers some online professional development and tutor training resources...I would like to see those both developed into a certification system similar to what they offer for trainer certification. Like I mentioned earlier, in Cuyahoga County we're collaborating to find or create a certification process/curriculum for tutors & would love to make it relevant/accessible for part-time staff a national (or international) audience.

Personally, I've gotten some great ideas for how to select higher quality candidates, and have renewed resolve to create a really stellar on-the-job training program to turn those "happy accidents" into folks who can say "I mastered my job."

If we really want to go "whole hog" and change the system, we can do it AMA style and create a licensure system, quotas for #s of allowable students per year, and a match system to guarantee the workforce meets the professional world. Every MD student's education is funded 2/3 by our tax dollars because they've been able to make the argument for the effectiveness of medical education. This is a timeline for how they did it: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/our-history/timelines-ama-history.page

Meagen Farrell Howe

CEO, Educational Consultant

Farrell Ink, LLC

Cleveland, OH


Subject: [PD 5745] Thoughts about implications for policy and practice-with apologies for my late post!
From: Hughes, Robert
Date: Mon Jun 27 00:11:16 EDT 2011

If someone gave me a magic wand to create an instructor certification program for adult basic education (that was appropriate resourced and fully functioning), I'd create one that was developed in tiers. Rather than one certificate, I see us offering a range of them, much in the way that the nursing profession does. There are many people who are called "nurse" by profession, but not all nurses are the same. The certified nursing assistant (CNA) can begin in the field with as few as 12 ours of training. With a year of training, the person can move on to licensed status as a licensed vocational/practical nurse (LPN/LVN). Then nurses can be further licensed as registered nurses (RN) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN). By the time that nurses reach APRN, they can work independently and some even perform the kinds of tasks that were historically reserved for physicians. Within each tier of licensure, there are opportunities to specialize through custom training. A CNA. LPN, or RN, for example, can receive additional (typically on the job) training in fields such as geriatric or pediatric care; and an APRN can specialize in fields such as anesthetics.

Similarly, we should be thinking about the levels of need that we have in our field. What are the qualifications for a volunteer in adult basic education? What are the qualifications for the community member who may teach one specialized class in, for example, financial literacy a year? What are the qualifications for people who teach TESOL/ABE as their profession? What are the qualifications for people who manager adult education programs? Given the discussions of this week, and the needs that I see, a tiered system that thinks of our profession in terms of career lattices.

Unlike a "career ladder," a latticed system looks at professional development as less linear and more of a series of tiered stages. Someone can begin at one stage (for example as a volunteer) and then move laterally within that stage as she/he develops skills and competencies within that stage. The volunteer can learn about tutoring non-native English speakers, working with students studying for the GED, or helping students learn basic math skills. The tier of responsibilities remains the same. For example, the volunteer may not be asked to develop a scope or sequence of instruction or to write lesson plans. Those may be the skills that she/he would need at the next tier of the lattice. If the volunteer wants to move to that higher level of competency, she/he can work toward that additional certification. That's how the system of nursing has evolved, and it has some remarkable benefits. Programs that learn to provide supports for people to matriculate the levels of the nursing profession find that they are able to attract a more diverse population to the profession - a need that we have in our profession as well.

In my fantasy world of the fully resourced and supported adult education certification process, we would offer continuous and flexible training and support for people along every point of the pathway. We would provide classes and mentoring and resources that are available to people who need them at times and places that fit their needs. That would mean that someone who doesn't live near a university still has access to training and support. That would mean that a busy adult doesn't have to put her/his life on hold to earn advanced training. And it would also mean that the person doesn't have to mortgage her/her future through student loans to work in a field that provides few extrinsic benefits.

In order for my fantasy world to happen, there are some significant changes that I support:

  • First, mandates for standards (either for instructors or students) must be concurrently funded with resources to achieve those standards. As we've seen, unfunded mandates can generate lots of work without the required resources to do that work.
  • Secondly, any certification must be acknowledged through the pay structures and hiring practices of the institutions which employ adult basic educators. There would be no reason for hospitals to pay a premium for licensed nurses if they could hire anyone without the training. The licensure of nursing has been one reason that pay for that field is much more stabilized and robust than in adult education.
  • Thirdly, the burden of certification must be equally shared between the instructor, the employing agency and the government agencies that provide funding. If we want people to be certified, we need to build the systems to provide that certification, and the kinds of comprehensive systems required to do this are much larger than one agency or university or state can develop alone.

My thoughts are based on the kind of comprehensive look at certification that Forrest has been advocating for. I understand that creating this comprehensive system will take time. But the way to that goal is to have a clear and strategic plan that identifies what we want to do and moves toward that strategic goal steadily. Nursing, again, provides a model for us. In the early 1900s, nursing was just beginning its licensure processes. Over the 100 years since, it has continually moved toward more formal structures by bringing together practitioners, employers, and government agencies to develop and refine its standards. Seems to me that we're about the same place that nursing was in the early 1900s with some states having developed standards and others not yet having had the discussion.

This week was a great push to get us looking at the issues more globally.

Bob Hughes

Bob Hughes, Ed. D.

Associate Professor of Adult Education

Seattle University

Seattle, WA


Subject: [PD 5748] Re: Thoughts about implications for policy and practice—with apologies for my late post!
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Mon Jun 27 11:15:13 EDT 2011

Bob,

Thank you for your eloquent statement. You have articulated better than I could the basic design I have had in mind. Some of it is harder than others, I think. The important thing is to begin.

Forrest


Subject: [PD 5758] Re: Thoughts about implications for policy and practice—with apologies for my late post!
From: Frazer Catherine
Date: Mon Jun 27 20:36:02 EDT 2011

Improper nursing care could be deadly. That is why it is highly regulated and mandatory inservicing is continuous. (See MSN of today where a nurse was fired because of the wrong dosage of medicine and subsequently was fired.) Within a year she took her own life because her license was suspended and she could not find work. She made one (1) mistake.

Students do not die in adult ed from improper instruction; however, improper instruction is given at times which wastes the time of the student. I agree that we need a comprehensive block of courses that should be developed and nationalized like the Core Standards with a test administered at the completion of the courses. Just like they do in nursing.

Monitoring and observations should be part of the plan with on-line inservicing. If we lower the numbers and strengthen the profession with qualified instructors with credentials, then, we will have a 'quality' faculty to serve the needs of students who seek our services.

Catherine Frazer, Ed. D.

Delaware Department of Education

35 Commerce Way, Suite 1

Dover, DE


21. Certification and the Big Picture

Subject: [PD 5714] certification and the big picture
From: Cristine Smith
Date: Fri Jun 24 11:24:25 EDT 2011

Cristine Smith here. One of the things that makes the discussion difficult about compulsory certification across the system (which is really what we're talking about, since some states already have voluntary certification) is that there is often an unstated suspicion that it implies big changes in the nature of the field. So I'll say it: it implies big changes in the nature of the field.

It implies that we want a field with many, many more full-time and stable benefited jobs with paid prep time and a living wage. I'm not saying all ABE teaching jobs have to be full-time, but perhaps even the majority should be, or at least the majority in a program should be. That's a game changer.

That's one of the reasons why some people want certification: it justifies having those jobs (i.e., it would act as an incentive to get certified if such jobs existed) and it also acts as a spur for creating those jobs (i.e., teachers will demand such jobs if they go to the trouble and investment to get certified). If you demand more of teachers, you have to give them more, and I don't mean just helping pay for the professional development. There has to be real incentives in terms of the types of jobs that teachers have.

The fact that certification, if compulsory, would be a real system changer is also one of the reasons why some people DON'T want certification: it is hard to imagine changing our system so much that we wouldn't depend on part-time teachers. That we would use funding for better jobs for service providers rather than serving more and more students with every new dollar we get. That teaching in adult basic education would be an actual career.

Keep in mind that everything I've said above has nothing to do with quality of teaching and, as far as we know from the research in K-12 (as well as the professional wisdom in our own field), there is no guaranteed connection between being certified and being a good teacher, as gauged by student achievement (in the broadest sense, helping students reach their goals).

So the fact that certification will both force and allow the structure of our system to change means that, yes, some very good part-time ABE teachers will leave the field, not wanting to invest in certification. It also means that some not very good part-time ABE teachers will leave the field. It means that good--but, yes, exploited--teachers who piece together several part-time unbenefited jobs may seek and obtain certification that means they can finally get a career pathway job in teaching in adult education that supports their families. It also means that some not so great teachers will become certified in order to get a well-supported full-time job.

However, regardless of what one feels about certification, let's be clear that some advocate it BECAUSE it may help change the system, and that certification is one argument for leveraging that change, as long as incentives for good jobs are included. If you don't want to change the system in a big way, or don't believe that it CAN change in a big way, because the resources just aren't there, then certification is something to be feared.

Having said all that, there's no guarantee that certification will change anything. What I want is a field where teachers are compensated with decent jobs and they can choose it as a career, because I believe that's the best way to improve the quality of services our adult students get. If certification aids in getting us to that kind of field, then I'm for it. But I don't have any reason to believe that, a priori, certification will be the ONLY thing that helps us create that type of big change in the field. It's going to take real policies at the federal and state level that prioritize good jobs for teachers, so I'm glad to hear that OVAE is supporting efforts in that direction. However, it may also justification for those jobs based on real research about whether there's a connection between teachers' jobs and student achievement, which is not an easy or inexpensive thing to do. Should certification wait until we have the solid research to support those types of policies?

Best...Cris


Subject: [PD 5721] Re: certification and the big picture
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Fri Jun 24 13:26:22 EDT 2011

Hi Cris and All,

Cris, thank you for your post (#5714), and for putting it out there: compulsory certification implies big changes in the nature of the field.

You wrote:
"Having said all that, there's no guarantee that certification will change anything. What I want is a field where teachers are compensated with decent jobs and they can choose it as a career, because I believe that's the best way to improve the quality of services our adult students get. If certification aids in getting us to that kind of field, then I'm for it. But I don't have any reason to believe that, a priori, certification will be the ONLY thing that helps us create that type of big change in the field. It's going to take real policies at the federal and state level that prioritize good jobs for teachers, so I'm glad to hear that OVAE is supporting efforts in that direction. However, it may also justification for those jobs based on real research about whether there's a connection between teachers' jobs and student achievement, which is not an easy or inexpensive thing to do. Should certification wait until we have the solid research to support those types of policies?"

I'm interested to hear what others think.

Should we also add to that how long it may take before research like that is funded? Does anyone know whether this is on a research agenda for adult education? And if so, on whose agenda and for when?

Thanks,

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/


Subject: [PD 5722] Re: certification and the big picture
From: Payne, Emily Miller
Date: Fri Jun 24 14:09:39 EDT 2011

Cristine makes a good point about the suspicion (or ambivalence?) some in adult education feel toward mandatory certification policy that could radically change the way teachers are trained, hired and retained. I still see a place for part-time teachers even if policy dictates some level of a pre-service or in-serivce credential (in Texas, many of the teachers who have completed the credential or are in the process of completing are part time). Whether or not states mandate a credential for teachers, adult students deserve well-trained teachers (full or part time) who know the content and are trained in best instructional practices. And teachers who are well trained deserve to be paid for their expertise.

The literature in K-12 teacher preparation offers direction for adult education researchers and policy makers who are seeking evidence of the effectiveness of high quality professional development on teacher performance and retention and, ultimately, on student performance. Research on the impact of teacher training in adult education is sparse but, what there is, suggests that high quality professional development (leading to a credential) has an impact. I teach in a master's program in developmental and adult education, and the mid-career adult educators who enroll unanimously report that they do a better job in the classroom when they approach teaching armed with research-based strategies.

Perhaps OVAE will fund projects to explore the impact of increased teacher preparation (through high-quality professional development leading to a credential) on student and program performance.

Emily Miller Payne

Associate Professor, Developmental and Adult Education

Director, The Education Institute

Texas State University-San Marcos, TX

ep02 at txstate.edu


Subject: [PD 5724] Re: certification and the big picture
From: Forrest Chisman
Date: Fri Jun 24 15:05:30 EDT 2011

In response to Cris's thoughtful concerns, my replies would be:

  • There is no guarantee of anything in life. And no system is 100% effective - or probably even 80%. Nevertheless, every profession I know of has some method for credentialing it's members. Is the whole professional world wasting its time? Personally, I believe the way to get off the horns of the dilemma you pose is to design certification systems that DO reflect professional excellence. And keep improving them. Moreover, as I recall the research on K-12 certification contains studies that support it (or are inconclusive), as well as studies that show no effect. In any event, anyone unhappy with K-12 certification can use its shortcomings to inform building a truly effective system for AE.
  • You are quite right that any substantial certification system would "change everything" in AE. That means we may have to ease into it by, for example, requiring that only a certain percent of teachers be certified in the first instance, or only certifying certain specialties (such as math).
  • Even assuming that certification per se is not effective in guaranteeing quality, if it "changes everything" in the ways you suggest, it would at least create a stable AE workforce whose quality could be systematically improved by other means. We don't have that now.
  • We could certainly spend MANY years (probably the rest of our lives) studying the effects of credentialing in AE. But what would we study? The number of teachers who have attained credentials through the more robust systems now in existence is very small, and they are almost certainly unrepresentative in terms of their background and motivation. Since we are pretty close to starting from scratch, I think it would be far better to adopt an action research model: design the best certification systems we can, implement them on a gradual basis, and adjust them as we go along.
  • Of course any scientific (or quasi-scientific) research on the effectiveness of credentialing systems depends on our ability to measure student outcomes resulting from it. And of course we don't have any good ways to do THAT either. It's another major challenge our field must meet. And I don't think it will be met soon. So we can either sit on our hands when it comes to certification and teacher quality, or we can do what most professions do: draw on the informed professional judgment of people like Gretchen about what makes for a good teacher. I think we'd find a lot of consensus if we did that.

Or so I think.

Forrest Chisman

CAAL


Subject: [PD 5725] Re: certification and the big picture
From: Larry G. Martin
Date: Fri Jun 24 15:28:39 EDT 2011

Hi,

I am Larry G. Martin, a Professor of Adult Education and former GED instructor (many years ago). I have been enthusiastically following the discussion. I would like to follow-up on the comparison to how K-12 teachers are licensed and certified. There is now a serious debate about the efficacy of the approach. For example, in Wisconsin we see a strong push for Charter Schools that do not require any teacher certification. Nationally, there is a discussion of providing "performance-based" pay to teachers. That is, teachers should be paid based on their ability to assist students to learn and succeed academically not on the basis of the number of credit hours they have participated in PD. Should we consider a Performance-Based pay system in adult literacy education?

Take care!

LGM

Chair, Department of Administrative Leadership, and

Director, Urban Education Doctoral Program

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WI


Subject: [PD 5726] Re: certification and the big picture
From: Isserlis, Janet
Date: Fri Jun 24 15:42:18 EDT 2011

along those lines-these two pieces from today's PEN weekly news blast:

Janet
Where observations work

Despite a welter of policy proposals to promote teacher quality (including incentives in the Race to the Top competition), little has changed in teacher evaluations, pre-service training, or professional development, according to Education Next. One factor has been disagreement over how best to identify and measure effective teaching. A new article in Education Next's journal looks at results from an ongoing study of teacher classroom observation in the Cincinnati Public Schools. The article finds that Cincinnati's evaluations, based on well-executed classroom observations, do in fact identify effective teachers and teaching practices, and teachers' scores under the system reliably predict achievement gains by students in math and reading. During the yearlong Teacher Evaluation System (TES) process, jointly developed by the local teachers union and the district, teachers are typically observed and scored four times: three times by a peer evaluator external to the school and once by a local school administrator. The TES scoring rubric describes the practices, skills, and characteristics that effective teachers should possess and employ. In the view of the authors, the study's findings about TES efficacy support the idea that teacher evaluation systems need not be based on test scores alone.

See the report:

http://educationnext.org/evaluating-teacher-effectiveness/
The evaluation juggernaut rolls on

A council of Maryland educators and policy makers have approved a new model for evaluating teachers and principals that will be tried out in Prince George's County and six other school systems this fall. http://tinyurl.com/3wmw86q

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Subject: [PD 5729] Re: certification and the big picture
From: Combs, Kay
Date: Fri Jun 24 16:18:23 EDT 2011

I believe the individuals who need to bring this to the forefront are the researchers in the field of adult education. However, I have found there are not many individuals either qualified to conduct research or not conducting research for various reasons.

I am currently in a doctoral program and when I began my journey exploring dissertation topics, I did explore the certification route and found little research in this area of Adult education. I dug a little deeper and decided to look at retention of ABE teachers in Kentucky with the thoughts of why the turnover rate may or may not be high or low and maybe certification will be one of the factors that come to the forefront. I don't know.

However, after digging, researching, even emailing individuals in this list serve to share information about research that has been done or currently being conducted, I still have very little to go on.

I am a believer it will be the research that can provide information to policymakers in regard to certification, equitable pay and funding that will be crucial to our field.

I will say it again, we need to be aware of what we are all doing in the field. We need to be passionate about sharing with one another.

If anyone is interested in sharing research, please do. We all need to access available information when we need to as we go forth in our mission. As I have said before, we need to do this today and not wait.

My email is below if anyone would like to provide information or dialog along this avenue.

Kay Combs

Kcombs01 at insightbb.com


Subject: [PD 5750] Re: certification and the big picture
From: Stephanie Moran
Date: Mon Jun 27 12:29:24 EDT 2011

As with Bob's synthesis/fantasy about the next steps, Forrest's final thoughts encapsulate mine. Whether we like it or not, credentialing is still the way of the world and as such, adult education needs to come to grips with it if it ever expects to take its rightful place alongside the other professional arms of education.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5759] certification and the big picture
From: Judy Carr
Date: Mon Jun 27 20:22:12 EDT 2011

I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this list serve discussion. I think most of us agree with the aspects of professionalism. If students are going to go for degrees in adult education, then the compensation has to be comparable. This is not currently happening everywhere, and that is why the positions are usually held by retired people or those teaching part time. Most of the salaries for adult ed teachers would not allow a teacher to support themselves or their families.

Judy Carr


22. Need for Math Specialists

Subject: Need for Math Specialists in AE
From: Stephanie Moran
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2011 1:35 PM

Forrest Chisman wrote:
"I have heard the idea that, as an achievable first goal, we should have a math specialist available to every AE program. I've also heard the view that many retired math teachers or math specialists frustrated with the turmoil in K-12 might be more willing to move over to AE than we think - even if it pays a bit less. Does anybody think there's any truth to these ideas?"

The math wizards at my center really gain a lot of satisfaction from having helped students to *understand*-when I regularly had to teach GED math 10 years ago, I called it teaching "down and dirty"-enough for you to pass the test but nothing elegant or what I'd call true long-term storage of knowledge and application. We could never go back to those days-it would be unethical now that our students have access to true math instructors.

As another poster pointed out, so many of our students come hating math and often with even more psychological math baggage than other HS students, that your standard of a math specialist-just as we have a reading specialist on our faculty-would be a heavenly start.

Stephanie Moran


Subject: [PD 5708] Re: from Stephanie, Need for Math Specialists in AE
From: Donna Pierce
Date: Fri Jun 24 09:31:33 EDT 2011

Our program does not have funds to hire math specialists for each center. My center has a day instructor and night instructor. However, we have been fortunate to have a retired math teacher who was finished with the politics of the K-12 system and who volunteers for us two days per week at no charge. This has been a wonderful addition to the program for our students.

Donna Pierce, Adult Education Instructor

Georgia Northwestern Technical College

based at Catoosa Learning Center

Ringgold, GA


Subject: [PD 5707] Re: from Stephanie, Need for Math Specialists in AE
From: Virginia Simmons
Date: Fri Jun 24 10:16:10 EDT 2011

My priority in hiring for any full time positions is to have math, science, social studies and English covered. My math teacher teaches at both full time centers and the students love him. He has a million different ways to teach one concept and if they don't get it one way, he can help with another. We have noticed a marked difference in GED math scores since he came on board.

If you can convince you powers that be that you need the core curriculum covered so that you can offer a high school diploma, it is well worth it.

Virginia Simmons

Horry County, SC


Subject: [PD 5713] Re: Need for Math Specialists in AE
From: Lynda Ginsburg
Date: Fri Jun 24 11:04:35 EDT 2011

Virginia and Stephanie,

Clearly, your commitment to hiring content specialists is paying off in student outcomes. I've also seen that students persist when they see that they can be successful math learners after a history of frustration and failure.

Of course, just having a strong understanding of the content isn't sufficient. The wonderful teachers you describe also understand how to teach that content to the variety of adult learners in their classes. They need both the content and the repertoire of effective instructional strategies.

Lynda Ginsburg


23. PD for Experienced Teachers on the Road to Credentialing

Subject: [PD 5706] PD for experienced teachers on the road to credentialing
From: Miriam Burt
Date: Fri Jun 24 10:22:38 EDT 2011

Hi, all.

Sorry if the message below is a little long.

I thought it might be useful to look at kinds of PD to offer on the road to credentialing. While it is true that there is a fair amount of upheaval in the field, with teachers working part time and leaving frequently, there are many teachers who stay more than 5 years. When resources are limited, it's often the case that the training events and PD that are offered - whether voluntary or mandatory, incentive-ized (is that a word?) or not -are often geared toward the new instructors. It's not surprising that there may be some reluctance on the part of the more experienced teachers to attend one more session on basic skills or participate in one more what works session.

Experts in reflective teaching practice, Richards and Farrell, (2005, p. 7) suggest that expert teachers tend to share the following characteristics, setting them apart from novice teachers:

  • A rich and elaborate knowledge base
  • Ability to integrate and use different kinds of knowledge
  • Ability to make intuitive judgments based on past experience
  • Desire to investigate and solve a wide range of teaching problems
  • Deeper understanding of students' needs and student learning
  • Awareness of instructional objectives to support teaching
  • Better understanding and use of language learning strategies
  • Greater awareness of the learning context
  • Greater fluidity and automaticity in teaching
  • Greater efficiency and effectiveness in lesson planning

How do teachers acquire these skills beyond just putting in time?

Huberman (1993), identifies three actions taken by teachers in non-novice stages of professional development that are likely to lead to the development of expertise and long-term career satisfaction.

  • They shift roles. Experienced teachers might teach a new subject or a new learner level. Alternatively, they might mentor or coach new teachers or take on other responsibilities.
  • They engage in classroom-level experimentation. Experienced teachers might change classroom routines or engage in action research.
  • They participate in activities that challenge their knowledge and stretch their skills. Experienced teachers learn more about a topic in their field, replace their customary materials or activities, or
  • otherwise push themselves to the edge of their competence.

So basically, rather than engaging in static PD, it seems that activities offered in credentialing should include opportunities for mentoring or coaching, doing action research, and practitioner-chosen self-study.

By the way, the above information is taken from the brief Professional Development for Experienced Teachers Working With Adult English Language Learners (Rodriguez & McKay, 2010, http://www.cal.org/caelanetwork/resources/experienced.html)

The complete references are here:

References

Huberman, M. (1993). Burnout in teaching careers. European Journal of Teacher Education, 30(4), 351-381.993

Richards, J. C., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2005). Professional development for language teachers. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Rodriguez, A.,G., & McKay, S. (2010) Professional development for experienced teachers working with adult English language learners. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. Available at http://www.cal.org/caelanetwork/resources/experienced.html). Reviewed at http://lincs.ed.gov/lincs/resourcecollections/abstracts/programplanning/RC_plan_abs50

Here, at long last, is my question: Are there models out there where credentialing that is offered to experienced teachers utilizes these types of activities?

Best,

Miriam

Miriam Burt

Center for Applied Linguistics


24. Core Standards and Testing

Subject: [PD 5761] Core standards and testing
From: Dull, Chad
Date: Mon Jun 27 21:45:39 EDT 2011

While I agree that maintaining a qualified staff is important, I am doubtful of the value of common core standards and licensing exams. There is plentiful evidence in other areas that those sorts of things inhibit professional growth more than promote it.

We serve a group of students who are evidence that one size fits all is never true in education, why would we go down that road with instructor training? It seems to me that credentialing to gain credibility for our programs is cart before the horse thinking. Let's concentrate on demonstrating that what we do works, and if it doesn't let's find ways to make it work better. Very little of that is related to credentials in my opinion...

I feel like such a contrarian after reading all week...

Chad


Subject: [PD 5764] Re: Core standards and testing
From: Marie Cora
Date: Tue Jun 28 11:21:22 EDT 2011

I think this is interesting—maybe it can and should be both. When I think about what I needed to do to earn an M.Ed., there was clearly a 'backbone' of research and professional wisdom guiding the curriculum, but then we were required to do group work that caused/allowed us to feel very much like we were contributing as much to our own education as the professor and texts were; and then we were required to get in there and teach (practica) and subsequently reflect on that experience both alone and with others. I feel like that is a case of crossing over both - working with a set of accepted standards (standards that can and do change over time as research and professional wisdom continue to inform practice) and applying our own experiences to them. That is what shaped my formal education as I earned that credential.

Of course, this is a theoretical discussion on my part when considering ABE-much of what was discussed last week pointed to the fact that getting to such a professional place for ABE has a lot of hurdles. I do also believe that 'credentials for credentials sake' is unproductive, but I don't think the field is saying that this is what they want either. We need both-to document what works (for this we need dedicated research) and to build a set of accepted professional standards from which to work.

Marie Cora

Boston, MA


25. Next Steps for Certification and Credentialing

Subject: [PD 5728] Next Steps with Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Fri Jun 24 16:13:21 EDT 2011

Dear PD List:

We've seen energy this week around making some form of professionalization in adult education a reality. It's happened in some states and it is starting up in others. Forrest recently mentioned that we have some distance to travel to professionalize the field and urged us, as a field, to move forward. What are your next steps for advancing certification and credentialing in adult education?

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/


Subject: [PD 5732] Next Steps with Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education
From: Sally Waldron
Date: Fri Jun 24 21:39:36 EDT 2011

Hello Everyone,

I've been following this discussion closely and want to add a few comments on my perspectives and beliefs.

  • Any movement toward certification or credentialing has to be accompanied with a commitment and action to improve working conditions. MA implemented voluntary licensure with no incentives-no increases in salaries, no commitment to increasing full-time, benefited positions, etc. -and nothing changed. In fact, I believe the number of full-time positions is decreasing due to small but consistent budget cuts over several years.
  • There is no adult basic education career pathway to aspire to. There won't be one until local, state, and national policy makers commit to improving working conditions especially increasing the number of full-time, benefited positions.
  • We also need research and demonstration projects to test and demonstrate the impact of more pre- and in-service training coupled with what we know about effective program models, so that these better trained teachers get to work in better programs.
  • We need program administrators who are instructional leaders. We have some administrators who are strong educational leaders and some who are not.
  • We have many committed teachers (and other staff) in the system who are currently not well-supported in their efforts. And this impacts the quality of service we provide to adult learners who deserve high quality services and don't always get them.

All of these issues have been around for a long time, since I entered the field in 1971. The current political and fiscal climate seems to support higher standards without equivalent attention to increasing supports.

Sally Waldron

World Education


Subject: [PD 5734] Re: from Beth, Next Steps with Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education
From: Elizabeth Thompson
Date: Sat Jun 25 09:38:43 EDT 2011

"What are the implications for policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels to make a certification and credentialing system work? What needs to happen to make key changes in our field that will professionalize the workforce?"

There are many factors to consider when building policy for teacher quality. The reality of limited funding cannot be ignored; however, that does not mean we cannot move forward with a plan to better prepare teachers for the adult education class room. As was mentioned earlier in this discussion, requiring certification prior to teaching adult education does not seem to be feasible when the highest percentage of teachers work part time and there is not a clear career ladder. Here are some thoughts that come to mind.

  • There is room for development of common definitions for basic concepts such as certification, credential and teacher preparedness.
  • Nationally, we need more data on credentialing and experience administering credential programs effectively. This is relatively new in the evolving field of adult education. For example, Texas improved participation in our Credential program by using technology. Instructions to participants are now presented in video clips, although written format is available. The initial step to the Credential requires participating in a Professional Development Planning Workshop. That is now an online course. Finally, implementation of professional learning communities has created peer support for Credential candidates. These are things we learned through research and experience.
  • Flexibility. Future policy needs to consider the work force it governs. A part time work force can rise to the challenge of Credentialing; it just needs a flexible format to do so. The changes mentioned above made the Credential more accessible to teachers in rural or remote areas and to part time teachers. A teacher can work on the online class in the middle of the night, if that is his/her preference. Discard the stereotypes. There has been considerable discussion this week that a part time work force is a barrier to establishing Credential/Certification programs. Surprisingly, over 80% of recent Texas credential completers are part time teachers. Part time status is not proving to be the barrier that one would expect. We have 531 teachers currently enrolled in the voluntary Credential program. That is a quarter of our teacher work force.

Forgive me for using Texas as the example here. It happens to be the program with which I have experience. There is much to consider in the creation of policy to make a certification and credentialing system work. Thank you for this rich discussion.

Elizabeth B. Thompson, CFLE

Assistant Director and State Even Start and Family Literacy Coordinator

Texas LEARNS, State Office of Adult Education and Family Literacy

Houston, Texas


Subject: [PD 5753] Re: Thank You! / Next Steps
From: Roger Downey
Date: Mon Jun 27 13:42:00 EDT 2011

Hey Jackie,

Thank you for leading this discussion. Your summaries were well appreciated. I was a little over-whelmed with all of the comments, didn't read all of Thursday or Friday e-mail, but will shortly. This was as intense of a meeting of those working in adult ed. as I have ever been in. I have learned so much and have so many questions to pose to others within my sphere. Thank you again and also for letting me participate. (Do we receive summer school credit for this?) Just kidding!

Roger Downey

Columbia Adult Education

Brooklyn, MI


26. Certification and Credentialing Discussion Feedback

Subject: [PD 5772] Feedback Compiled / Thanks!
From: Jackie A. Taylor
Date: Fri Jul 1 18:01:48 EDT 2011

Hello Everyone!

Thanks to all for your feedback on the recent guest discussion of Certification and Credentialing in Adult Education. We've had some stimulating discussions this week as well and I hope you'll continue them. Thanks again to our guests, whose bios are online: http://lincs.ed.gov/lincs/discussions/professionaldevelopment/11certbios . I have a few announcements for you coming shortly. In the meantime, here is a compilation of the feedback below. We had some feedback from overseas, and I have indicated that in [ ]

What did you like most about this discussion and/or the discussion format?

  • I really enjoyed hearing from new people who got in on the discussion for the first time.
  • I've done LINCs discussion for a long time now and appreciate their format-no complaints. I appreciate the experienced experts who chime in. Perhaps my greatest appreciation is for the websites and links to important resources that posters share.
  • Your daily summaries.
  • I liked the quick response time.
  • As a certified Missouri AEL/ABE instructor I was interested in the views and experiences of the contributors to the conversation.
  • It was one of the most informative (and readable) formats I have encountered.
  • Thank you for reminding people to remove the unnecessary info!
  • I liked that there were guiding questions every day but we could talk about whatever burning issues we wanted.
  • [New Zealand] The number and range of participants, the flexibility (not real time, not limited), and the effective management and summaries.

What would you like to see changed about future guest discussions?

  • No suggestions.
  • No changes.
  • I like this one.
  • I didn't know which were supposed to be the guests & what their background is. I also got into the discussion a day late, but a summary email when I joined the discussion on who these folks were & their area of expertise would've been helpful.
  • [New Zealand] As an overseas member, it was hard to follow some of the threads focused on details of the US system. I don't understand some of the acronyms and their significance (e.g. GED) - unless I missed an introductory glossary or similar?

What were your key take-aways?

  • I forwarded the email about the vetting of applicants for a teaching job, by actually having them make lesson plans and teach to the person who hires teachers/tutors at our Learning Center. She was very interested in that process.
  • I just posted to the adult education Linked In forum that IMO, until and unless we formalize an adult education credential, states will remain all over the board (along with the feds) and thus dilute the importance of adult education as essential to America's citizenry and workforce.
  • More activity in adult education than I knew about.
  • Lots of frustration due to comparison with K-12 teacher salaries and benefits.
  • Can't do a one-size fits all as some have ESL components and others do not. Did not like to hear that some were doing this so funding would come their way.
  • Different states certify instructors in different ways. Standardizing certification for Instructors will probably take time.
  • This is something that isn't going to have a quick fix.
  • Much research and study will come before conclusions can be made. I feel that this field of adult education is going to continue to grow and the need for teachers will only increase.
  • I got practical tips on how to screen for quality instructors, plus a sense of what's going on with certification around the country. I'm still not convinced certification is the best use of the few resources we have for adult education, but I can see how professionalism is a justice issue in terms of creating quality working conditions.
  • [New Zealand] We are not alone! Very exciting to share in the solidarity, commitment, enthusiasm, professionalism.
  • [New Zealand] More on Christine Smith's work on credentialing (which I had read before).
  • [New Zealand] One of the final posts re a latticed system (sideways movement as well as upwards) which comes close to some of our thinking so far.

What would you like to see happen in follow up to this discussion?

  • As states set up mandates etc., they can be revealed on the PD Discussion List.
  • Movement from discussion to action.
  • Realistic approaches to adult education.
  • Action. A committee, a plan for a design. Get moving.
  • I would like to see what research or conclusions others reach.
  • Have funders involved to see what might actually get done.
  • [New Zealand] Not sure as I'm very new to this discussion list. Perhaps a progress check with members in 12 months or so?

What are your next steps, if any, to address issues of certification and credentialing in adult education?

  • Is any plan economically feasible in the short term?
  • I am meeting my student needs with institutes and workshops. Take the pulse of my center and adapting to the needs.
  • Required credentialing, although a boon for the classroom, may hurt some programs.
  • I feel that we need some sort of common criteria.
  • I'm going to create a tiered system for Site Manager certification based on what others have said. I'll seek financial backing & expertise to help us create a tutor certification program for our county's tutor training collaboration.
  • [New Zealand] Our organisation is in the process of trialing the first tier of an in house credentialing system (only 200-300 teachers involved but in 22 centres around the country so national coverage. We already have a certification system for our 3,000 volunteer tutors). I am part of an exploratory and lobbying team in NZ's national Adult Literacy Practitioners Association (ALPA) re accreditation for adult educators. Watch this space!

Jackie Taylor

Professional Development List Facilitator

LINCS: http://lincs.ed.gov/

AALPD: http://www.aalpd.org/