The Instigator
CCady
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Sandmann
Con (against)
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Professionalization or Certification in Adult Education

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/30/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,173 times Debate No: 38307
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (20)
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CCady

Pro

1.) Discussion Groups 1 & 2 will take the position of Pro/For Professionalization of the field.

2.) Discussion Groups 3 & 4 will take the con against Professionalization of the field.

3.) Discussion Group 5 will be debate Adjudicators
Sandmann

Con

To what extent does the field of adult education meet the standards of a profession as outlined by Houle (general) or Flexner (medical)?
Debate Round No. 1
CCady

Pro

CCady forfeited this round.
Sandmann

Con

Sandmann forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
CCady

Pro

CCady forfeited this round.
Sandmann

Con

Sandmann forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
CCady

Pro

CCady forfeited this round.
Sandmann

Con

Sandmann forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mlharmon 3 years ago
Mlharmon
DEBATE VOTE: Please go to LM4 Group Summary area of the discussion board to view who won, and a summary of the decision. Great debate!
Posted by rowland7 3 years ago
rowland7
In response to andyl1, adult education is fairly diffuse in its boundaries. Professionalization could be implemented within those boundaries by the development of practice groups within the professional organizations. Adult Educators would become members of a practice goups with other educators who are involved in the same sub-section of adult education. In my profession, we have dietetic practice goups within our professional organization. We are all dietitians, but we may belong to the practice group for diabetes educators, renal dietitians, weight management, pediatrics or many others. I agree the field of adult education is vast with many different specialties--practice groups are one way of increasing professionalization despite the many boundaries.
Posted by Lolarussell 3 years ago
Lolarussell
Within Houle's (1980) 14 features or goals of professionalization. Whitty (2006) pointed out that the most recent sociological perspectives on professionalism have rejected any normative notions are helpful. Sociologists like Hanlon (1998) point out that professionalism is a shifting phenomenon that is based upon current thought rather than notions that become dated as soon as they are met and voted upon after sometimes years of discussion. Adult education, as I previously stated, should remain in the present. Secondly, from a feminist perspective traditional conception of professionalism (like those promoted by Houle) are characterized by elitism, paternalism, authoritarianism, promotion of exclusive knowledge, control and detachment (Davies, 1995: 1996). Professionalization does not benefit those who do the work who are often not educated in the top-tier adult education programs, are often women and those who are not paid for their service by a group of white males who are making the rules.

Davies, C. (1995) Gender and the Professional Predicament in Nursing Buckingham:
Open University Press

Davies, C. (1996) The sociology of professions and the profession of gender Sociology
30 661-78

Hanlon, G. (1998) Professionalism as enterprise: service class politics and the
redefinition of professionalism Sociology 32 42-63

Whitty, G. (2006). Teacher professionalism in a new era. General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland Annual Lecture.
Posted by Lolarussell 3 years ago
Lolarussell
In response to dsaylor, I would point out that while using ethical behavior as a standard for professionalism is plausible I am conflicted because regulations, standards and laws have led to public disgrace and scandal for those whose diverse settings have created an environment where meeting benchmarks has contributed to ethics challenges. Who will be left behind? Doing "no harm" to individuals and best practices for helping adults to learn can be promoted without professional standards, but simply through simple affirmations for professionals at every level in the field from those who are unpaid to those who are paid. Furthermore, the community of learners process, when actively promoted, is I believe one of the most effective ways to help adult education maintain a level of integrity that even the most regulated and professionalized lack. Doctors and pharmacists go to conferences and collaborate on medical and professional issues, but how often do they meet with one another to discuss their personal challenges based upon these medical and professional issues. Professionalization isolates rather than embraces the action inquiry that adult communities of learners co-create.
Posted by Lolarussell 3 years ago
Lolarussell
Con: My final con posting at this early hour in the morning is that the boundaries of adult education are continuously being challenged. Therefore, any attempt to restrict them would be short-sighted. Who could have imagined the technical advances that have changed the scope of adult education 30 years ago? As John Ohligher, one of the most vocal critics of the professionalization movement stated that professionalization is a "thorn on the side of people's freedom to learn", according to Collins (2009, p. 210). How can and adult education professional group even attempt to request that current technologically available outlets, like TED Talks, restrict opportunities to only those who posses professional adult education credentials should be promoted? Adult education wins when it's boundaries remain open. Professionalization is not the problem, but consensus regarding who adult educators are and promotion of whatever that becomes would be more effective than developing professional standards for a constantly transforming group of thinkers for whom agreement is a rarely achieved.
Posted by Lolarussell 3 years ago
Lolarussell
Con: I would like to challenge Cervero's third definition of professions through the socioeconomic approach based upon adult education's grounding in collegiality which emphasizes the importance and validity of a community of learners whose viewpoints are deemed equal and acceptable. If adult leadership gets caught up in the quagmire of professional elitism, it will then move away from the distinctiveness of action inquiry and communities of practice which it promotes. Within the adult education community the insights and opinions of those at the bottom of Houle's pyramid should be deemed as important as those at the top!

Accordingly, certification and credentials, do not mean that a teacher or adult educator is better at teaching or more effective. It simply means that that adult educator or teacher has been taught and is a good test-taker. In a field where most adult education teachers and facilitators are not even considered for inclusion in this urgent need for professionalization hyperbole it seems rather pompous to continue down this path. These volunteers and minimum-wage adult educators are the ones who actually provide the service.

So, the argument is that professionalization will garner respect and then a set of requirements for a group of professionals who rarely provide both theory with praxis in any real-world setting except for limited studies which garner them professional accolades for publishing? Critical reflection of the true rationale for professionalization is not hard to surmise when you answer this question.
Posted by Lolarussell 3 years ago
Lolarussell
Con: When I review both Houle's (1980) features and goals of professionalization and Houle's (1970) pyramid of leadership, the professionalization proponents immediately appear to me to be as self-serving as the capitalist thought which promotes success on the backs of those in abject or working poverty. This elitist idea must be challenged, please let me tell you why. I immediately notice that at the base, at the bottom of Houle's pyramid, are those who volunteer and lead groups that tutor students, instigate social justice transformation, and rarely if ever are recognized for their acts of service. Next, there are the part-time workers who work part-time or are paid at often the minimum wage hourly level. Then, at the top (the narrowest point of the pyramid) are the full-time adult educators, including program administrators, professors of adult education, training directors, and staff of the Cooperative Extension Service. Who benefits from professionalization? The answer is not difficult to surmise -- it is those who earn the most money and would benefit the most from it. If the aim of adult education is collegial and cooperative, wouldn't these same adult educators seek ways to affirm and acclimate those who volunteer and serve at minimum wage? I agree with Merriam and Brockett (2007) who state that the pyramid view by Houle "leads to elitism and pseudo-distinctions about who is and who is not a legitimate adult educator (p. 116).
Posted by lvieth 3 years ago
lvieth
Con:
According to Knox and Fleming in the Handbook on Adult and Continuing Education one major aspect of the professionalization debate is the diversity and decentralization within adult education field. I think these are critical points in addressing the feasibility of building professionalism. In realistic terms, the field is too broad and includes too many various types of adult education to consider making changes to the whole. Subsections can be developed in a professional manor, but there is no purpose in taking a area that's so varied and trying to place all those areas under a uniformed set of rules and expectations. There is also no practical way to make this happen.
Posted by nda818 3 years ago
nda818
According to Shanahan, Meehan, and Mogge (1994), professionalizing adult education involves setting specific requirements for educational preparation and competency. Group 4 has three main arguments against the professionalizing of adult education.

First, there is no formal definition of adult education. The 2010 edition of the Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education lists at least four very different definitions. How can you set educational standards for something when you don"t know what it is?

Another argument against is that setting requirements will eliminate many people currently working in the field who aren"t able to meet these requirements due to time constraints or finances (Merriam and Brockett, 2007). Some people are clearly qualified may not be good test takers. Can this field afford to lose a number of practitioners who have already proven their qualifications by the very nature of working in the field? Also, if there are set requirements, some individuals may feel they can get a better return by entering another field that has the same requirements for educational preparation and competency but pays more. Not only will we lose current adult educators, but professionalism may lead to losing future adult educators, as well.

Professionalism also risks the diversity of the field. There are so many areas of continuing education, some requiring degrees and other only experience and/or interest. For example the library offers workshops and programs that teach people life skills. These programs are for the public and crucial for patrons with no access to the internet or seeking information and many of the adult educators in these programs are volunteers. Does one need to be "Professionalized" to render these services?
Posted by mvillalon 3 years ago
mvillalon
Con:
Kasworm, Rose and Ross-Gordon indicate that the field's diversity defies the type of "unified specialization" linked with a profession (Cervero, 1992; Merriam & Brockett, 2007; Mott & Daley, 2000). One of the appealing aspects to those of us who have chosen to study and be a part of the adult education field of practice is the openness and diversity of the discipline. All are welcome to participate because the knowledge and experience we bring are valued and add to the richness of the field. Limiting those who participate would stifle the creativity and innovation that are at the core of this evolving field or practice.
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