DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS
The literature reviewed suggested that a curriculum for the preparation of adult education teachers should include a conceptual framework, a rationale, specific elements, content, an implementation plan, learning outcomes, and an evaluation plan (Herrscher, 1992; McNeil, 1990; Oliva, 1988). This finding was consonant with the findings from the interviews with the Dean of Academic Affairs and the Director of the. Education Department at the Inter American University in Ponce in which it was suggested that the curriculum should include learning outcomes, objectives, activities to accomplish the objectives, and an evaluation plan.
Communication with the Stateside universities contacted and the literature reviewed suggested that the ATEC should be made functional but without neglecting the theory that supports the curriculum. This observation was considered in giving the courses in the ATEC a more practical approach by integrating both the theory and the practice in each course.
The decision about which courses should be included in the curriculum was the result of data collected from the questionnaire, the interviews, and the literature reviewed. Although all the courses suggested in the three data collection sources were included in the final curriculum document, it was interesting to observe that there were two courses which were emphasized more and these were the Methods Course and the Psychology of the Adult Learner. It seems that the adult education teachers want to know more about the nature of the adult learner and how to teach them using methods and techniques appropriate for adults. The suggestions and recommendations given in the interviews and in the literature reviewed were implemented in the development of the curriculum. A needs assessment study, that was also suggested in the literature, (Oliva, 1988 Ornstein & Hunkins, 1993; Pratt, 1994) was conducted to determine the needs for the adult teacher education curriculum. In order to prepare and administer the questionnaire utilized in the needs assessment survey, the input from the interviews with the Chancellor, the Dean of Academic Affairs and with the regional supervisor of the adult education program was used.
Findings from the interviews and the literature reviewed in terms of external and internal factors that should be considered in curriculum development supported each other. The influence of these factors in curriculum development was significant because the input coming from them determined to a considerable extent what the final product was. The Institution's guide for the presentation of new academic programs and curricula was utilized for developing the summative criteria for the validation of the ATEC and in developing the curriculum's implementation plan. A proposal to incorporate the ATEC in the Education Department will be prepared and presented to the Academic Senate for approval and implementation.
Findings from the demographic data collected indicated that there are more female teachers in Adult Basic Education than male teachers (see Table 1). The reason for this is that there are more female than male teachers in the Department of Public Education (C. D. Gerena, personal communication, October 16, 1994).
The fact that the majority of the adult basic education teachers work part time in the Adult Education Program explains the constant turnover of teachers in the program (see Table 2). The problem is that there are always new teachers coming into the program who have no preparation in adult education. These teachers have to be trained and trainings, according to the Regional Supervisor of the Adult Education Program, cannot be offered very often. If teachers were prepared in adult education, the turnover would not be a problem for the Supervisor and the students will always have teachers prepared in adult education.
The study indicated that most adult basic education teachers for some reason never attend professional meetings of adult education which increases the problem of lack of preparation in the teaching of adult students (see Table 8). Professional meetings provide teachers the opportunity to learn about the teaching of adult students and about the Adult Education Program.
The study findings about the needs adult education teachers have is indicative of the fact that teachers want and need to improve their knowledge about adult education (see Table 9). These findings also indicate that teachers have realized that teaching adults is not the same as teaching children.
The lack of affiliation to a professional organization in adult education and of membership in some kind of publication for adult education teachers, as revealed in the study (see Table 10), contributes more to the problem of the limited preparation adult education teachers have. Belonging to a professional organization in adult education and having access to adult education literature would be of great help to teachers of adult students because of the knowledge they would derive from these two sources.
The study findings indicated that adult basic education teachers depend on the school director for information about adult education (see Table 11) which means that teachers' knowledge about adult education continues to be very limited in terms of sources of information. It also means that teachers receive only one point of view about the information they receive. The ATEC would expose teachers to more and varied sources of information about adult education.
The teachers' selection of courses according to priority showed that teachers would like to have a more functional curriculum (see Table 13). This finding corroborated what was suggested in the literature and in the interviews with professors from Stateside universities of making the curriculum at the undergraduate level a more practical one.
Survey results indicated that basic adult education teachers are prepared either in elementary or secondary education but not in adult education. The implication here is that they are probably teaching adults using methods and techniques for elementary or secondary education. In other words, they teach from a pedagogical perspective and not from an andragogical perspective (see Table 4). This finding is consonant with the ideas of Knowles (1970), Libbert (1988), and MacFarland (1985) about the training of adult education teachers as elementary or secondary education teachers and not as adult educators.
The lack of adult teacher education curricula in the universities of Puerto Rico has resulted in adult education teachers not being able to take university courses in methods and techniques of adult education. Teachers attend workshops offered by the Supervisor of the Adult Education Program in which methods and techniques of adult education are discussed, but these workshops are not offered very often and not all teachers can attend them. Survey results indicate that 79% out of the 92 teachers surveyed do not participate in these workshops (see Table 5). The ATEC includes a course in methods and techniques to teach adult students.
The idea of an adult teacher education curriculum was welcomed very favorably by the immense majority of the basic adult education teachers (see Table 6) who expressed their willingness to take university courses in adult education. Since more and more adult students are entering adult education‑programs, and they have their own characteristics, needs, interests, and problems, adult education teachers are becoming aware of the fact that they need to be prepared to deal with adult students. Lindsay (1983) observes that "With this relatively recent influx of adult learners including adults enrolled in basic education programs as well as those at colleges there is a concomitant need to prepare instructors to meet the needs and demands of adult learners" (p. 50).
The purpose of developing an adult teacher education curriculum at IAU, Ponce is to create a subspecialization of 18 credits in adult education to prepare current adult education teachers and education students who would like to become adult educators. Findings from the questionnaire administered to basic adult education teachers indicate that a great majority of them are interested in having a minor concentration in adult education (see Table 7). There are two main reasons why adult educators in the Ponce region are willing to do this. First, the Department of Education is placing greater emphasis on adult education and is urging universities to develop adult teacher education curricula. Teachers who want to study would get paid for the courses and could be‑granted a certificate as adult educators. Second, adult basic education teachers feel there is the need for them to be prepared in adult education so they can offer a more appropriate education to their students. The ATEC provides teachers the opportunity to have a minor concentration in adult education.
More than 90% of the questionnaire respondents indicated that there is a need for an adult teacher education curriculum (see Table 12). Currently, no university in Puerto Rico offers such a curriculum, and on the other hand the adult population in schools and universities is increasing and will probably continue to increase. The need for a curriculum that prepares adult educators is evident. Lindsay (1983) suggests that there is the need to prepare adult teacher education models based on principles of effective adult learning and teaching.
A conclusion from the study was that the conceptual framework for the adult basic teacher education curriculum should be based on the principles, theories, concepts, and assumptions of adult education and the adult learner. Knowles (1970) andragogy model seems to provide the framework for the adult teacher education curriculum since it provides adult educators with the knowledge and skills they need to become effective adult educators. Andragogy deals with the adult learner; therefore, a curriculum for adult educators should be grounded on andragogy.
Based on the interviews and on the literature reviewed, it was concluded that there are some appropriate processes for developing the adult teacher education curriculum. These processes are (a) to conduct a needs assessment study; (b) to involve the Department of Public Education; (c) to take into consideration both external and internal factors in curriculum development; (d) to identify the human and material resources available; (e) to write a proposal for implementation; (f) to establish a climate conducive to learning; (g) to create an organizational structure for participative learning; (h) to diagnose the needs for learning; (i) to develop a design of activities; (j) to operate the activities designed, and (k) to rediagnose the needs for learning.
From the literature reviewed and the interviews, it was concluded that there are external and internal factors that can affect curriculum development. External factors include (a) changes in demography, (b) political influence, (c) pressure from professional groups, (d) local school boards, (e) the influence of legislators at both the federal and state levels, (f) the policy makers, (g) technology, and (h) social and. economic problems. Internal factors include (a) the administration, (b) the faculty, (c) the students, (d) the Academic Senate, (e) the directors of departments, and (f) the mission and goals of the institution.
It was concluded from the literature reviewed and the interviews that the curriculum should include some specific elements. These are (a) goals and objectives, (b) learning outcomes, (c) curriculum contents, (d) learning experiences, (e) competencies, (f) philosophy statement, and (g) evaluation of the curriculum.
In terms of the courses the curriculum should include and based on the questionnaire results, the interviews and the literature reviewed, it can be concluded that the courses in the curriculum should be the following: (a) Introduction to Adult Education, (b) Psychology of the Adult Learner, (c) Evaluation of Adult Learning, (d) Methods and Techniques in Adult Education, (e) Preparation and Use of Materials in Adult Education, (f) History‑and Philosophy of Adult Education, (g) Sociocultural Foundations of Adult Education, (h) Introduction to Computers, and (i) Administration and Supervision of Adult Education programs.
It can also be concluded from the interviews conducted that the curriculum should follow the Institution's process for its implementation. The implementation process includes approval of the curriculum at the Ponce Campus, at the Central Administration, and by the accrediting agency.
It can further be concluded that the adult teacher education curriculum should be based on Knowles, andragogical model. This model deals with adult students and with the preparation of adult teachers.
Another conclusion from the study was that a minor concentration in adult education should be created to incorporate the adult teacher education curriculum within the Education Department. The minor concentration would consist of a subspecialization in secondary education.
It was concluded that there are external and internal stakeholders who must be considered in curriculum development because they can influence the curriculum. External stakeholders include the Department of Public Education, the accrediting agency, the state and federal governments and the employment. market. Internal stakeholders include the administration, the professors, the students, and the Academic Senate among others.
Another conclusion was that an implementation plan should be developed. The implementation plan should include the academic terms, the courses, credit hours, days and hours, and the total number of credits in the curriculum.
Also, in terms of the evaluation plan, it was concluded that Pratt's (1980) tridimensional curriculum evaluation model should be used. This model evaluates three significant dimensions of a curriculum which are effectiveness, efficiency, and acceptability.
From the results of the needs assessment survey conducted for this study, it was concluded that there is a need for an adult teacher education curriculum in the Ponce region to prepare adult basic education teachers, current and future, to teach adult students. Based on the survey results, it was also concluded that adult educators are realizing that adult students cannot be taught with the same methods and techniques employed with children. The‑teachers' demand for adult education methods courses shows that the pedagogical methods they use with adults are not appropriate.
The interest adult educators expressed in taking university courses in adult education may lead to the conclusion that they feel they need a better preparation to teach adult students. Their pedagogic preparation is not enough to teach adult students effectively. As Carter (1983) observes, "What is critically needed for adult education practitioners is preparation that enables them to function in such manner that their efforts make a recognizable impact on those whom they teach" (p. 73).
The development and implementation of the adult teacher education curriculum requires the collaboration of the administration and the education faculty of IAU, Ponce Campus and from the administration of the Adult Education Program at the Department of Education for the accomplishment of its purpose. This kind of "partnership" is vital for the accomplishment of the goals and objectives of this curriculum.
The suggestions from the literature on adult education and curriculum development were instrumental for the development of the adult teacher education curriculum. The literature provided the necessary framework and recommendations for the contents of the curriculum. From the fact that adult teacher education programs at the undergraduate level are practically nonexistent at the Stateside universities contacted, it can be concluded that there is a need for more studies in adult teacher education to justify the creation of curricula to prepare adult educators at this level.
The needs adult educators indicated they have in terms of adult education may lead to the conclusion that as Lindsay (1983) observes "There is a need to generate a theory of adult instruction. Such a theory would serve to integrate the diverse knowledge about adults as learners, adult development, adult learning, and instruction of adults" (p. 52). These are the areas adult teachers identified as areas in which they need the greatest help.
Finally, from the selection of courses made by the teachers (See Table 13) a conclusion reached was that the curriculum for the preparation of adult educators must be both practical and theoretical. Although teachers want to know more about how to teach adult students, they also want to know about the nature of the adult learner.
The fact that the 92 basic adult education teachers are not prepared in adult education implies that a preparation in adult education was not required by the Department of Public Education because a Bachelor degree in Elementary or Secondary Education was considered enough to teach adult students. The assumption is that no other academic preparation is necessary to teach adult students. It was not until recently, when the number of adult students in basic and secondary adult education programs had increased and that adult educators had realized that teaching adults is not the same as teaching children, that the Department of Education began placing emphasis on the preparation of teachers in the adult education program. The public Department of Education has requested that proposals for the preparation of adult education teachers be submitted by the local universities. The problem of teachers not prepared in adult education will be more serious as more adult students enter adult education programs in schools, colleges, and universities. Parnell (1990) observes that "An increasing number of young people are going to college part time and "stepping out" now and then, while an increasing number of adults (25 and over) are going to college full time" (p. 220).
Survey results imply that the adult education programs in schools are not really adult programs because the instruction is not approached from an adult perspective but rather from a pedagogical perspective. In this respect Andrews (1981) observes that
educational programs are not designed for adults. They are designed primarily by instructors who use what they have learned (or more likely have experienced) about teaching children, adolescents, or college students. While many of the principles of learning are the same for adults and children, differences do exist, and only by careful attention to these differences will consistently successful learning programs for adults be offered. (p. 11‑12)
The andragogical curriculum for the preparation of adult teachers implies a change in terms of the learning‑teaching process. Teachers will be moving from pedagogy to andragogy. The pedagogical model adult teachers use and which consists of defining the content, having the students memorize it, testing content, and using other learning activities is incompatible with adults who want to learn things they can apply immediately and which are relevant and meaningful to them. For the‑adult students, andragogy implies more collaborative learning, more active learning, and the eventual evolvement of self‑directed, lifelong learners.
A curriculum to prepare adult education teachers will benefit not only the teachers but the students, the adult education programs, the administrators, and the Department of Public Education. Teachers will benefit from the knowledge about adult education they will acquire. The students will receive a more effective education since teachers will be better prepared to teach adults. The adult education programs will be designed for adult students based on the principles of adult learning and teaching. The administrators of the programs will count with teachers prepared in adult education. The Department of Education will have teachers prepared in adult education who will be able to better serve the needs of the adult students.
The following recommendations are suggested for the implementation of the Adult Teacher Education Curriculum: (a) to create a minor concentration in adult basic education so that adult basic education teachers can be prepared with the knowledge and the competencies necessary to teach adult students; (b)‑to integrate the andragogy model in the preparation of prospective teachers since future teachers would benefit from both models, the pedagogical and the andragogical and become learning facilitators; (c) to implement the ATEC at the Ponce Campus to prepare the adult basic education teachers from the Ponce region who do not have any or very little preparation in adult education; and (d) to follow the implementation plan suggested in the ATEC for the integration of the ATEC in the Education Department.
In order to disseminate the ATEC once approved, the following strategies are recommended: (a) The project should be discussed in a faculty meeting of the Education Department to which the Chancellor, the Dean of Academic Affairs, the Director of the Education Department, and the Regional Supervisor of the Adult Education Program would be invited. This would be a way of informing faculty members of this innovative curriculum and also suggest to the professors the possibility of taking some of the courses in the curriculum. (b) An abstract‑of the project will be published in the Ponce Campus' bulletin. This publication will let the whole academic community know of this new curriculum and it is a way of recruiting faculty from other departments who might be interested in taking courses. (c) Copies of the abstract will be sent to the other Campuses of IAU to inform about the ATEC and at the same time recruit faculty interested in taking courses. (d) Copies of the ATEC will be sent to the school districts of the Ponce region to inform them about this new curriculum to be offered at IAU, Ponce Campus. This would serve the purpose of recruiting teachers to take the courses. (e) A proposal will be submitted to the public Department of Education to present the ATEC and discuss the possibility that teachers are paid to take the courses and get certified as adult education teachers.
The following recommendations are made for the improvement of practice at IAU: (a) to encourage research in adult basic education which will contribute to increase the knowledge base of adult education; (b) to develop a partnership with the Department of Education to encourage faculty and staff activities in adult education; and (c) to revise the adult teacher education program at IAU, Ponce in light of adult education principles and practices. In this regard, Londoner (1979) states that " The discipline of adult and continuing education is still in the seminal stage of testing and refining various teaching strategies. Staff development thus becomes a major source for disseminating the results of these efforts" (p.25). (d) to take a more proactive stance in relation to the field of adult education by keeping abreast of the trends in adult education and developing and implementing new and more aggressive ways of recruiting and retaining adult students; (e) to acquire more adult education books, periodicals, journals, and other materials to use in the adult teacher education curriculum; and (f) to create an adult teacher association or an adult education magazine to disseminate information about adult education among adult education teachers and school administrators.