By KRISTA CHAMBERS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Improved adult education could soon come to a town near you, thanks to a workshop for educators of adults.
The program, offered by the National Center on Adult Literacy (NCAL) is designed to offer new teaching methods to people who educate adults.
The workshops, which begin Nov. 1 in Lansing, will also be held at later dates in Grand Rapids and the Detroit area. They will focus on adult reading difficulties, writing, technology, and math. Ways of overcoming adult learning disabilities also will be addressed.
The program, known as the Professional Development Institute for Adult Educators, consists of a two-day workshop, four weeks of online support while teachers implement new techniques, and a two-day wrap-up workshop.
The cost is covered by a federal grant for adult education given to the Michigan Department of Career Development under the U.S. Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.
Kathy Emmenecker, an educational consultant for the Michigan Department of Career Development, said professional development is a top priority for the agency.
“Our funding for these adult-education programs is becoming increasingly performance-based,” she said. “If the students in the program don’t improve, we don’t get funding. This puts lots of pressure on the teachers in these adult-education classrooms.”
The pressure has led the department to bring “national people to help train our people who are in the field of adult education,” Emmenecker said.
The program also puts heavy emphasis on increasing enrollment in classes.
According to Pat Wolf, secretary to the director of community education in Centreville, that’s something that would benefit the adult-education programs in the St. Joseph County area.
“At one point, we had active recruiting in the community for the basic education class for adults,” she said. “There was an interest, but it’s tapered off. I think there’s need for it. It’s just hard getting people to come in.”
Three Rivers also has a program for basic adult education, with an enrollment of more than 200 adults learning basic skills, working toward high school or general equivalency diplomas.
According to Tom Watkins, state superintendent of public instruction, professionally developed employees are at the base of what makes a sound economy.
“Education is the best economic tool that a state can invest in,” he said. “Now employees are asked, ‘What’s your human capital?’ Without an education, you have no opportunity and you have no hope.”
For registration, dates, locations and more information on the workshops, contact the NCAL at www.literacy.org/ncal.
© 2002, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism
By KRISTA CHAMBERS