I thought this (click on above PDF link) was a very insightful information article–in light of academic capitalism themes–related to pressuring adult learners to get in and out with their degrees as quickly as possible. In essence, the mantra of “Obtain your credential and get to work!!” is always looming in the air for graduate level students. However, why are we looking to pursue “terminal” degrees in the first place? What is our civic and social obligation, as future highly educated individuals, to speak to the existential problems of everyday people (life)? According to the statistics in this article I would most certainly be considered an “outlier” based upon age as I returned to graduate school after having raised a daughter and proudly watched her graduate through law school. It was then “mommy time”! I sit as an example of what I believe to be true adult education and lifelong learning (as I am closing in on the completion of my PhD credential having entered candidacy last summer).
I welcome the new month of September being excited that I am near the end of my doctoral journey and motivated by the thoughts of what I plan to do as a scholar/practitioner in the area of Adult Education Learning and Organization Development (AELOD). I spent all of August working with my dissertation research data, preparing for my October return to Chile, and pumping out two manuscripts which I hope to submit for publication in the next few weeks. My academic program is under the auspices of the department of Lifelong Learning Administration and Policy (LEAP) at the University of Georgia and I personally have come to view adult learning as never-ending. There are so many ways adults continue to learn formally, informally, and non-formally (AE folks will know these subtle distinctions). Most of us maturing adults have come to realize that adults learn differently from children and adolescents; but typically we don’t give it much attention because in large part most academic educational research (especially in the areas of outreach and community engagement) is more attentive to early childhood and undergraduate learners. I hope to make a big contribution toward changing that aspect of educational research and highlight the developmental nature of adult learning that in my field has been somewhat neglected. Understanding the adult learner of the twenty-first century must be interdisciplinary in scope, accounting for the complexities that surround the realities of what are now arguably “digital natives” among adult learner groups. Adult education, in order to remain relevant, must also be engaged in scholarship that speaks to the cognitive aspect of learning with appreciation for the multiple domains of knowing (e.g., spiritual, cultural) people bring in creative ways to the space of knowledge generation.
In summary, I want to be able to speak to the most pressing social issues of today, in a timely way, through my scholarhship. At the same time, I want to be able to teach (and encourage) my parents for example, to use Skype and cellular phones so as to remain in communication with their adult children spread about the international world. I want to see my siblings and friends stay attentive to health and fitness themes by taking a Zumba class or maybe step aerobics at a local “Y”. There is so much to learn because adult learning truly is a open-ended never ending quests (Graves, 1970, 1974, 2005, 2009) and I am excited to be a passenger (and as the need may be conductor) on that journey. 🙂
I actually started out just planning to post this PDF (as a press this item) after waking up unusually early. I guess this is now my new nature as an emergent scholar which is that sleepless or unexpected early risings will now result in writing muses. Ha ha! Nonetheless, my apologies for the OSU image of a cap and gown, but it was the best one I could find on the internet to go with this blog post this early morning. Plus, I am originally from Ohio, and the image does also represent my UGA black and red colors. Therefore, I have achieved the elusive win, win, and win with this post. Deal with it! 😉
Graves, C. W. (1970). Levels of existence: An open system theory of values. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 10(2), 131-155.
Graves, C. W. (1974). Human nature prepares for a momentous leap. The Futurist, 8(2), 72-87.
Graves, C.W. (2005). The never ending quest. In C. Cowan & N. Todorovic (Eds.). Santa Barbara, CA: ECLET Publishing.
Graves, C.W. (2009). Clare W. Graves: Levels of human existence. In W.R. Lee, C.C. Cowan, & N. Todorovic (Eds.). Santa, Barbara, CA: ECLET Publishing.