Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

In 1980, I traveled from Heidelberg, Germany, where I was conducting research on adult education and training, to Toronto, Ontario, Canada where I presented an invited address to the members of the National Academy of Education. A revised version of my  presentation was later published with the title Literacy and Human Resources Development at Work: Investing in the Education of Adults to Improve the Educability of Children (Human Resources Research Organization, Alexandria, VA: 1983).

The main point of my presentation was that millions of undereducated adults were seeking employment or were already employed in low wage jobs and were in need of increased literacy skills. I argued that employers could offer literacy training which was integrated with work and job skills training and accomplish both the improvement of the literacy skills and job performance of the adults. I further argued that in many cases, through the intergenerational transfer of their improved literacy and the new positive feelings that the newly educated adults would experience about their abilities to learn, this could contribute to the improvement of the educational achievement of the children of these workers.

A decade later I had the opportunity to test the idea that investing in the education of adult language, literacy, or mathematics in the workplace could improve both the skills of the employees and the educability of children. In several manufacturing plants in the Chicago area staff of the Center for Education Resources in Des Plaines, IL had developed literacy programs integrated with job-related materials and I was asked to serve as an external evaluator of the programs in six plants. I found that not only were large improvements in job-related English language, literacy, or mathematics achieved, but with those workers who were parents, some 40 percent reported that they now read more to their children. This result, which is typically one of the goals of pre-school or family literacy programs, was obtained as a spin-off of the adult literacy programs. (more…)

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Back to School by Tamah Graber

This is the first time in 19 years that I am not standing in the library at school waiting for the kids to come in, give me a hug,  and listen to them all trying to tell me what they did over the summer and what books they read. It is a very strange feeling. I miss the kids and the parents and the camaraderie. There is of course a lot of stuff I DON’T miss, but I have no doubt that I will adjust. I thought of signing up for art classes or academic classes but what I wound up doing is signing up for a water exercise class at the local community college. This is for my health and at the urging of my children and my doctors. Although I have only attended one class, I know it will be a really good thing for me to do. I felt better physically after only the one class!!  So life goes on to the next stage.  My memory is not doing too well. My knees are a mess, but I am looking forward to that stage. I feel it will be an adventure.

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Memory by Committee

It was a pleasant dinner with friends – six of us at a local restaurant, enjoying the food and conversation. Then something typical happened when one man mentioned having heard a great lecture by a famous American playwright.

“Who?” we asked. First came the blank look, then the struggle:

“Uh, really famous – still alive . . .”

“What did he write?”

“I think there was something about a buffalo!”

“Oh, Mamet!”

“No, begins with an A.”

Five minutes later, it turned out that the animal wasn’t a buffalo; it was a goat. And the playwright was Edward Albee. It took all six of us to remember. Sometimes I feel I need a committee to help me remember where I left the keys, and definitely to help me recall a name I’ve always known.

Fortunately, it appears that my forgetting is in the very normal range, and the also normal functioning of my brain is evidenced in an ability to keep learning new things. I know that there is some I can’t or shouldn’t try to learn, like rollerblading (I can trip in sneakers!), but others, like using an iPad or knitting I can handle.

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