Monday, September 7, 2009

"Learning is an Act of Hope" - part 1

Last year, when reviewing literature for my dissertation, I came across a piece by Dr. Carol Kasworm. Discussing adults who return to school, she declares: "Learning is an Act of Hope" (2008, p. 27). I find Dr. Kasworm's words to be wonderfully inspiring... perhaps you will too.

Today, I'll post the first part of my summary of her writing. I'll post the second part on Wednesday.

“Learning is an act of hope” suggests Kasworm (2008, p. 27) describing four challenges faced by adult learners as they return to and engage in school. Unlike traditional-aged undergraduates, adult learners do not typically separate from family and their past lives to begin school. “Rather, most adults continue their complex lives – with the added challenging role of student” (p. 27). She continues to describe this entrance phase which she calls “the first act of hope” (p. 28) as a time when adult students face a variety of new challenges, often while managing existing challenges.

Adult students must adjust to working within a new system, facing the challenge of the classroom and being evaluated in a new domain, and managing time and stress with new demands inherent in school. In addition, adult students have often been motivated to return to school by a life crisis such as divorce or job loss and are carrying the related stresses (Kasworm, 2008). Moreover, these students may be dealing with a range of responses from family and friends regarding the return to school, from those who are not supportive and complicate the endeavor, to those who are encouraging.

See you Wednesday with the second part of this post.



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