Reforming Adult Education?

This @rticle was posted by Djeault on Friday, October 26th, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Yesterday, at St-Louis Adult Center, I dared to start writing ± what follows, ± 15 minutes from the end of class, and that, with a pen; unfortunately, I seldom do that anymore, writing with a pen, the computer having replaced that tool, a simple pen, which once was the only tool, other than pencils. Especially compared to the precedent day’s secondary one “children”, the adult students and the whole classroom were oppressively quiet: ho, I did hear a flicked page, foot steps in the corridor, and even a chair, cracking; I could even hear my pen sliding along on the sheet of paper!

Truly, I wondered if you need to study in a specialised Bachelor’s degree for four years, to do what I did yesterday, that is, basically, taking note of present, late or absent students and, answering to a couple of whispered questions: students silently study and work, and the truth of it is that’s it’s nearly, not to say completely, boring. If learning should be theoretically fun, amusing and a pleasant experience, well the atmosphere wasn’t exactly overwhelmingly so…

As for the Reform’s new ESL competency called “oral interaction”, adult education, at least here, doesn’t seem to cover it: the students read and write within their On my Own book, they listen to recorded English and answer, in writing, to some written questions. Doesn’t Oral Interaction indeed imply listening skills, but also speaking skills? I confirmed with their teacher who was back for the third period that in fact, the only oral skill they develop is preparing oral, quite static, presentations, which they often nervously memorise…

Ironically, the two teachers I replaced, yesterday, were taking a formation on the Reform, alias pedagogical renewal; however, it seems that to apply the Reform, at adult level, it’s the whole Adult education system that would have to be reformed! I’m sure the teachers are competent enough to follow the stream. Nevertheless, in fact, at the moment, since students may choose their own schedules, a classroom regroups students from many different levels: therefore, it’d be like impossible to lead any common activity or, never mind, a common long term project of any kind: everyone is on his own, at the image of the book, method they use: On my Own.

Although, Wednesday’s secondary one students were much more noisy, especially during their team work that ± lasted the whole 75 minutes, to me, it was much more fun and creative, and likely a much better place to learn. Therefore, I’d encourage everyone to pursue high school as ados, event though adult education may appear much more serious and quiet: in fact, it’s almost, if not completely, Boring with a capital B. Actually, a couple of students were just sitting there, making time, even though their English Program had already been covered! As one of those students precised: “I have to be here, otherwise I won’t get my government allocations”!! :-(

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