Chapter 1




This Major Applied Research Project was undertaken at the Ponce Campus of the Inter American University. Inter American University of Puerto Rico is the oldest and largest private university in Puerto Rico and one of the largest in the United States. With over 40,000 students, it serves 25% of the Island's students in . higher education, 50% of those in private institutions. It began as the Polytechnic Institute, an elementary and secondary school system in San German in 1912. It started offering university level courses in 1921 and graduated its first class in 1927. In 1944 it became the first four‑year liberal arts college, outside the continental United States, accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.


The institution continued to develop as a small liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, until its reorganization as an independent institution known as‑Inter American University of Puerto Rico. In 1956, it began a decade of rapid growth. More than fifteen branches were established throughout the island.


             In an effort to serve the adult population better, the Ponce Campus began an experimental project for nontraditional students during 1979‑80. Using innovative educational strategies and a more flexible academic structure, adults were offered academic programs with university credit leading to college degrees. In 1985, the program received formal approval from the Board of Trustees. In the Adult Education Program, the adult student can find more flexible schedules, a variety of instructional modalities, and added support from the Program Director and counselors.


Statement of the Problem


The problem was the need for an adult teacher education curriculum at Inter American University. The Chancellor and The Dean of Academic Affairs had recognized the need for such a program (M. Wayland, & M. Nolasco, personal communication, June, 1993).


Purpose of the Study


The purpose of this study was to develop an undergraduate teacher education curriculum in adult education at IAU, Ponce Campus, that would prepare adult basic education teachers to‑ teach adult students in the adult basic education program offered by the Department of Education.


Background and Significance of Problem


The adult education programs offered by the Public Department of Education in Puerto Rico include Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, and Conversational English. In 1992‑93, the staff in the Adult Education Programs consisted of 95 teachers in Adult Basic Education, 55 teachers in the Adult Secondary Education Program, and 14 in Conversational English. In addition to the teachers, there are administrators, counselors, and other staff. The group of adult education teachers was serving more than 6,459 students in the three programs in sixteen school districts.


The teachers in the Adult Education Program do not have a university degree in adult education. They are hired because they have a university degree in elementary or secondary education or because they are experienced teachers. The Department of Education assumes that if these teachers have a university degree in education and they have taught children and adolescents for many years they can teach adults as well.


The administration of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, which is the only university with an adult education program on the island, recognizes the fact that there is a need to prepare teachers of adult students. In its attempt to continue improving the quality of adult education not only at the university level, but also in the community it serves, the administration of IAU Ponce Campus has established as one of its priorities the development of a teacher education curriculum in adult education (S. Correa, personal communication, March, 1994). Several factors have influenced IAU in making this decision. These are (a) the lack of qualified adult education teachers on the island, (b) the increasing number of adult students in adult programs offered by the Department of Education, (c) the Department of Education of Puerto Rico has made adult education one of its priorities and is requesting the universities to develop teacher education programs in adult education, (d) the increasing numbers of adult students entering the IAU Adult Education Program who have graduated from adult education programs offered by the public education system, and (e) the commitment IAU has of improving adult education in the community it serves.


Research Questions


             The research questions for this study were (a) What should be the conceptual framework for the adult

teacher education curriculum? (b) What are the appropriate processes for developing a curriculum in adult teacher education? (c)‑What external and internal factors should be considered in developing this curriculum? (d) What elements should a curriculum for the preparation of adult education teachers include? (e) What courses should be included? (f) What processes should be considered for the implementation of the adult teacher education curriculum? (g) What type of adult teacher education curriculum should be developed? (h) What changes should be made within the education department to incorporate this curriculum? (i) What internal and external stakeholders should be considered in the design, development, and implementation of this curriculum? (j) What should be the implementation plan? (k) How should this curriculum be evaluated?


Definition of Terms


The following definitions are provided to eliminate confusion and to provide a uniform operational definition of specific terms. The terms are defined as used in this study.


Adult education is used in this study as Darkenwald and Merriam (1982) point out "a process whereby persons whose major social roles are characteristic of adult status undertake systematic and sustained learning activities for the purpose of bringing about changes in knowledge, attitudes, values, or skills" (p. 9) .


Curriculum refers to all the learning experiences the students will go through in the process of obtaining the knowledge, the competencies, and the skills necessary in the teaching of adult students.


             Teacher education refers to the process of preparing students to become adult educators.




The following assumptions were made in this study. It was assumed that the review of the curriculum document by the Director of the Education Department and the Dean of Academic Affairs was valid. It was also assumed that the formative committee would have the knowledge to assist in the development of this study. It was further assumed that the adult education teachers' responses to the questionnaire reflected their actual needs and ideas about adult education. Furthermore, it was assumed that the questionnaire generated validated data for the development of the adult teacher education curriculum.




One of the limitations of this study was that the use of the teacher education curriculum in adult education may be limited to IAU, Ponce Campus. This limitation implies that the clientele for the courses will be limited to the adult basic education teachers from the Ponce region and to the education students from the Ponce Campus. Another limitation of this study was that the implementation and evaluation of this curriculum would occur post‑MARP. This implies that this researcher will not participate in any of these two processes. The literature on teacher education in adult education constituted another limitation because there are not many studies conducted in this area. Still, another limitation was that the data collected for the development of this curriculum were limited to the adult basic education teachers from the Ponce region. The utility of this curriculum in regions other than Ponce cannot be determined because data from other regions were not collected.


[Pág. Anterior]