Sunday, July 21, 2013

Adult Education One Year In

I have finished four semesters of my Ed.D. program in Adult Education.  Some observations.

It is an eclectic field.

I wish there was more about the brain and brain science in this field.  We use the brain to learn.

Some of it is far too New Agey for me and I just "bracket" that (code word for "ignore").

I am annoyed by the assumption that liberal politics is the only politics.  These are people who depend on the government for sustenance, so how dare the politicians demand cuts!

I find most of it fascinating.  

Simplifying Teaching

I am a novelist.  Novelists create intricate, detailed worlds of characters, spaces, actions; fantasy novelists create a cosmos with its rules about magic; science fiction novelists create the "what if" based on physics no one can understand.  I am currently reading Ender's Game and encountering such world creation.

I bring that intricate world creation to my classroom and I have recently decided that is not such a good thing.  It means more work for me and confusion for the students.

Consequently, my goal for the new academic year is to simplify my teaching.  For example, I am teaching English 1101.  The departmental syllabus requires six essays and gives the teacher discretion about how much of the class can be homework and daily participation.  I have decided that only 5% will be and I will not grade a lot of quizzes and homework.  I have also decided that I will progressively grade essays--look for Type I errors on the first, Type Is and some Type IIs on the second, etc.  I will not edit papers and mark all mistakes; I will only put a check in the margin and let the student figure it out.

These probably seem obvious to most of the readers but I am a slow learner.