Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Learning is an Act of Hope - Part 2

(continued from Monday's post)

Kasworm’s middle stages reflect ongoing engagement in the academic process. The second act of hope for the adult student is to continue in school (Kasworm, 2008). “Because adults have competing lives, hopes and realities, each semester of college involvement represents either a renegotiation or adaptation of themselves and their lives” (p. 29). Adults students encounter challenges to their worldview and it is the engagement with faculty and success in the classroom that give students the support and strength they need to continue taking on these challenges (Kasworm, 2008). The adult student’s third act of hope is learning. In this phase, the adult student is actively co-creating meaning and knowledge and an evolving worldview (pp. 32-33).

The adult student’s final act of hope “is gaining a place, a position, a voice, and a related sense of valued self in the cultural worlds of higher education (Kasworm, 2008, p. 32). Given the value and meaning that society places on higher education, adult learners experience “emotional cultural demands” (p. 32) regarding their academic endeavors. Both in the classroom and in the larger campus community, students:

experience environmental and relational cues, messages and supports (or lack thereof)…through these cultural engagements, adults co-construct their sense of who they are as collegiate students (in relation to other students and in relation to their other adult roles) and their sense of possibilities to be successful and valued in both this academic world and many other adult worlds. (Kasworm, 2008, p. 33).

Kasworm, C.E. (2008). Emotional challenges of adult learners in higher education. In J.M. Dirkx (Ed.), New directions for adult and continuing education: Adult learning and the emotional self (pp. 27-34). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.



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