Mapping the Field of Adult & Continuing Education, Volume Two: Teaching and Learning
reviewed by Susan Biniecki - September 30, 2019
Title: Mapping the Field of Adult & Continuing Education, Volume Two: Teaching and Learning
Author(s): Simone C. O. Conceição, Larry G. Martin, & Alan B. Knox (Eds.)
Publisher: Stylus Publishing, Sterling, VA
ISBN: B077NJS71V, Pages: 496, Year: 2017
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In Volume Two of this four-part series, editors Conceição, Martin, and Knox as well as the chapter authors have embarked on an enormous feat in the field of adult and continuing education wherein diverse contexts in teaching and learning intersect. The volume on teaching and learning is not an exhaustive summary of umbrella subjects; however, the book delivers contemporary topics to challenge the reader to explore and learn more.
Continuing from volume one in pagination, the book is divided into four sections with multiple chapters: Multiple Contexts (Section Four), Approaches to Teaching (Section Five), Professional Development (Section Six), and Critical Innovation (Section Seven). The glossary offers definitions of terms and the index is comprehensive. Each chapter concludes with helpful cross-references to other related chapters within volumes to provide connections to additional themes.
Teaching and Learning reads like a series of compelling, text-based 3-minute podcasts. Other texts in adult and continuing education address historical and philosophical outlines of foundational understanding (Ross-Gordon, Rose, & Kasworm, 2017), guides (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007), and critical pedagogical introductions (English & Mayo, 2012). This volume is a complement to those works; therefore, readers can anticipate short deliberations of current adult teaching and learning issues. For example, in Chapter Thirty-Six on adult education in an age of assessment and accountability, Hill prompted me to think more deeply about calculating program viability. In Chapter Twenty-Four, Gammel, Motulsky, and Rutstein-Riley (2017) made me question how we might think differently about mentoring through critical perspectives and relational frameworks.
The volume is not situated within a particular philosophical lens of teaching and learning. Each chapter writer approaches an area of inquiry through a specific philosophical and theoretical lens; however, because of the brevity, the reader needs to discern that perspective, which sometimes goes directly unstated. The writing styles and chapter frameworks are varied as well, including segments focusing on applied practice in teaching. Examples such as Howles interactive case scenarios using digital tools in Chapter Twenty-Six and Rays methods for questioning privilege with specific teaching strategies in Chapter Thirty-Seven offer take-away teaching approaches one can apply to different contexts. In looking at adult learners and study abroad in Chapter Twenty, Coryell provides a list of suggestions for instructional practice that will serve as a helpful resource for educators and program planners in adult and continuing education.
Several chapters are very effective in connecting theory to research practice. Woerners writing on social networking sites in Chapter Thirty-Five impelled me think about my own research and how this particular form of communication can foster social capital. Other authors emphasize current holes within the literature, such as Baldwin in Chapter Twenty-Nine. Baldwin suggests theoretical gaps in how scholars currently explore the learning experiences of low-wage workers in resource-constrained nonprofit and education organizations that comprise the social sector (p. 233) in urban settings. These are examples of how authors in the volume inform research questions and lines of inquiry.
Other authors focus on the relationship between continuing professional development and education. For example, Daley and Cevero address health professions education in Chapter Twenty-Eight and Baukal looks at continuing engineering education in Chapter Twenty-Seven, asking whether professions have a preferred way of learning or solving problems. These are illustrations that lead to questions about other professions, setting the foundation for further work in continuing professional education.
Even though additional grounding in the literature seems needed, there are pieces that center on general program descriptions and effective case studies. The description of university-industry partnerships through international connections with China is such a case study. However, this analysis of non-credit competency based education includes one reference, and the conclusion that adult educators need to understand cultural context is rather ubiquitous in adult education. In another instance, Burns and Buxton effectively describe academic industry partnerships and professional development programs, but they do not provide a critique or discuss the limitations of the model they propose. In these cases, my practitioner lens appreciates the very concrete explanations and my scholarly lens wonders how the authors know what they know or how their work builds on other work in the field.
Within the brevity of each chapter, there are effective techniques that lead the reader through debates surrounding current issues. Within informal education in cultural institutions, for example, Parrish and Taylor use questions as a prompt to interrogate whose story is told? (p. 184). Although arts-based approaches to facilitating learning are not new, Butterwick and Roy use two effective narratives to consider the connection between arts-based learning with diverse populations in prisons and outpatient treatment for mental illness. Specifically, they ask how these approaches might include voices often silenced as well as create conditions for listening (p. 199). The above are powerful ways to ask the reader to reflect further within the parameters of a topic summary.
Teaching and Learning: Mapping the Field of Adult & Continuing Education, Volume Two provides thought-provoking areas for further inquiry for newcomers as well as those experienced in the field. Conceição, Martin, and Knox have edited a welcome addition for those looking for a bridge in the scholar-practitioner worlds of adult teaching and learning.
English, L., & Mayo, P. (2012). Learning with adults: A critical pedagogical introduction. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
Merriam, S., Baumgartner, L., & Caffarella, R. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Ross-Gordon, J., Rose, A., & Kasworm, C. (2017). Foundations of adult and continuing education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.