Katie left a comment asking:
Also, how did you go about generating the list of reading materials for the course?
It’s been an ongoing process.
I started by searching my local library’s catalog for “teaching adults.” I reserved several books that looked interesting and relevant and put them on the syllabus. This way, even if they’re not The Books on the subject, I had somewhere to start after only 10 minutes of pursuit.
Actually, speaking of easily accessible, the library had several electronic resources that I emailed to myself and forgot about till I wrote that last paragraph. There, I just popped them onto the syllabus. Writing really does help me think.
From there, I looked at the resources referenced in the books, particularly in Renner’s The Art of Teaching Adults. Renner wrote a great first chapter outlining what cannon of work informed his book and what it had to say – it’s basically a readable and engaging annotated bibliography.
One of my volunteers also just happened to mention an article he’d been reading about teaching adults basic reading skills, and when he offered to give me a copy I gladly accepted and added it to the syllabus.
I also realized that my learning center has a bunch of books, some of them teacher references, so I grabbed one I’ve been curious about (thoughts on “English from A to Z” here) and can definitely grab more. This brought to mind how I’d love to LibraryThing my center’s books so that my volunteers, students, coworkers and I could know exactly what’s there and sort through it all in meaningful ways. Right now I’m pretty much the only one who knows what we have, and that’s a waste of a pretty handy collection!
It’s kind of fascinating how even one or two sources lead to a huge number of sources. Identifying them was definitely not the hard part. All I had to do was start!
Other material-finding resources I considered but haven’t really tapped yet:
- syllabi from Adult Education courses at leading colleges and universities
- recommendations from experienced teachers (I haven’t really talked to any yet)
- Wikipedia, used specifically for a list of other (reputable) resources
The beauty of the 5-week project is that another can start quite soon. The sources I don’t get to can always go to a future project.