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Professionalisation of Adult Educators

International and Comparative Perspectives


Edited By Susanne Lattke and Wolfgang Jütte

In many regions of the world, professionalisation in adult and continuing education is brought into the focus of educational policy and research. Various fields of practice are looking for scientifical and political support in raising the level of professionalism. While there are no simple lessons to be learned from other countries, a closer analysis of international experience may reveal common and diverging interests. It may also provide worthwhile insights into opportunities and risks surrounding professionalisation. This edited volume is intended to further stimulate international exchange, cross-country approaches and comparative research in this field. It includes contributions to the theoretical debate and to the development of (comparative) research as well as reports on research findings and development activities concerning the professionalisation of adult educators.
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Making program planning more visible: what to do when they don’t know what they don’t know


← 182 | 183 → Bernd Käpplinger, Thomas J. Sork

Program planning is a typical form of action performed by adult educators despite a frequent lack of awareness. This core activity of professional practice mediates between needs, demand and provision. In contrast to programs in formal educational settings where the content is often fixed to established curricula, programs in adult education are much more open to creative and flexible designs. This chapter discusses the place of program planning in various competency frameworks and the degree to which curricula for the preparation of adult education professionals include the knowledge and skills required for effective practice. Examples used are drawn primarily from North America and Germany where significant literatures and research on program planning have developed over the past 50 years.

What does someone who calls themselves an “adult educator” need to know and be able to do in relation to the design of programs? In trying to answer this question, one can turn to the growing number of defined standards or competency frameworks and one can analyze the content of curricula for the education of adult educators. Our title suggests that, in many cases, those preparing to work as adult educators don’t know what they don’t know about planning programs and this, combined with lack of recognition of program planning in various competency frameworks and curricula means that the theory and practice of planning are often given little, if any, attention. We argue that this is a serious oversight...

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