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Is Adult Education a Calling? Shaping Identity and Practice in Steel Mill Learning Centers


by Amy D. Rose, Laurel Jeris & Robert Smith 2005

Adult educators employed in steel mill career development programs offer the field a unique glimpse into the relationship between context and career trajectories. This article explores the lives of these adult educators against the backdrop of contemporary theories of career development, situated learning, and continuing professional development as a function of career identity. In particular, this article reports on a study that examined how teachers reflected on their practice and the implications this may have for the development of their professional identity. The specific questions this research addressed included: How did the teachers acquire the knowledge they feel they need to teach in the classroom or work in an adult education setting? How do they come to see themselves as adult educators? What does this mean to them? To what extent does reflection on practice lead to the development of identity as adult educators? Evidence suggests that although the field of adult education has explored career paths of its members in numerous contexts and theorized about how these elements come together, it has yet to describe, much less theorize, the path of those who locate themselves within and contribute to the practice of adult education outside of the mainstream.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 107 Number 6, 2005, p. 1305-1334
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11912, Date Accessed: 10/24/2017 5:43:17 AM

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About the Author
  • Amy Rose
    Northern Illinois University
    E-mail Author
    AMY D. ROSE received her doctorate in adult education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests lie in the area of public policy and adult education with a particular focus on historical research. She is currently a professor of adult and higher education at Northern Illinois University.
  • Laurel Jeris
    Institute for Career Development
    LAUREL JERIS received her doctorate in adult education from Northern Illinois University. Her research interest lies in the area of continuing professional development in both the public and private sectors. She is currently an associate professor of adult and higher education at Northern Illinois University.
  • Robert Smith
    Institute for Career Development
    ROBERT L. SMITH received his doctorate from Michigan State University and is currently a senior program specialist at the Institute for Career Development. He has published several works on assessment and curriculum development within the general area of adult basic education.
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