The Endless Journey

 

I could have never predicted that I would be in my mid-forties graduating with a master’s degree in Adult Education.  It has been a fantastic journey but the educational voyage never ends.  Goals have been set and many destinations achieved, but I believe there is never an end point.   When I entered the adult education program, I had few expectations; I just wanted to learn to be an educator.  After twenty years in the same career, I was pulled into academics.  I knew how to work in my profession, but not how to teach the profession.  The time spent in the adult education program has been a transformation in my way of thinking, learning and working. 

I was pleasantly surprised in my first course ADLT 601 when I was asked to examine how I learn.  Writing a folktale learned as an adult, examining learning theories, applying the theories to our own learning and exploring the lenses we use to learn was fascinating.  All educators should participate  learning inventories to investigate personal philosophies and  styles  that contribute to the journey.  In our third paper for the class, I applied some of the learning theories to teaching dental hygiene instrumentation.  My teaching methods for instrumentation improved through writing about the process.  #3    In ADLT 602, items learned from Caffarella, were put to use.  I had never written program objectives.  This class allowed us to examine all the stakeholders associated with a course, perform a needs assessment and plan an entire program.  Virginia Commonwealth Universit 602  ADLT 603 was an introduction to Vella whom I continued to use throughout the program.  philosophy  This course developed my presentation skills as I investigated other methods in engaging students and delivering content.  The 604 course was a journey into the past.  We read several novels and engaged in lively discussions exploring the learning context and perspective of the characters.  The best part of the course was an interview with Red (my mom) which offered insight into my development through reflection of her life.  Michelle MeetRed.interviewfinal pggI learned in this course that adult development is CDUMP=complex, dynamic, unpredictable, mysterious and political!   The prospect of taking consulting skills was honestly a course I entered with dread but I grew personally and professionally that semester.  Block and Schien offered understanding in negotiation and consulting.   ConsultingContract Listening skills and reading body language became important tools in my toolbox that I strive to perfect everyday.   I learned to be patient and observant, not to be hasty and judgmental.  That course rolled well into 612 and altered my role as a team member working in groups.  Twelve Angry Men Paper the Infrareds I struggled to find my voice, but found my listening ears and evaluated my own strengths and weaknesses.   My golden nugget, was realizing to examine my own biases and view situations from the perspective of others. 

The technology track in my program exposed me to a world of unknowns.  It was a rollercoaster of new, exciting, scary and challenging events.  The world of communication is growing smaller and technology is changing faster than one can learn the tools.  It required some head banging against the wall until I realized pedagogical practices are the same despite the mode of content delivery.   Technology does not equal learning.  Tools can’t be used for the flash effect but must match the goals and objectives of the learning.  The “aha” moment was reflecting on my personal learning network.  Development of a PLN

The capstone experience was a culmination of learning in the program.  Working with nine individuals on an intense project posed many challenges, but the group exceeded all expectations.  Everything learned in the program was utilized during this project. I was pleasantly surprised how well our group worked together to facilitate our own learning and offer insight to our clients.  Our coordination of schedules, tasks, personalities and accomplishments was amazing.    I have learned that communication, listening and collaboration are challenges in every organization and working group. 

I’m more scholarly from the experience and thankful to those who have contributed to my learning.  I have grown from the contribution of my peers and remain open to new ideas.  My children respond to my pursuit of new knowledge and innovative ideas, by seeking to increase their own network of learning.  I made a digital story of my journey to share with professors in the program.  Due to the personal nature of the video, I sent it using File Drop within the school.

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