COABE 2016 - Reflections from an Adult Education Professional Developer

Kimberly Glenn - Director ·

This is my fourth year attending the yearly conference run by The Commission on Adult Basic Education and every year my involvement has grown. My first year I was just an attendee, but the next year I presented once, last year I presented twice, and this year I presented a total of four times! The conference reflected the changes and needs of the Adult Education community and it was amazing to see the growth in adult education during this time.

Major themes this year were transitions and career pathways. With the WIOA legislation this idea of preparing students for their next step has become extremely important. Workshop after workshop addressed various aspects of contextualized instruction, career counseling, transitions and career pathways. It was amazing to not only see how eager adult education professionals are about the change, but the vast differences that exist in how the implementation is occurring. There are many different approaches based on population, geography, integrated service options and program structure. I was inspired and motivated by the enthusiasm of the professionals who attended my session “Building Bigger and Better Career Counseling Programs in Adult Education,” and I am so happy that they left the workshop with concrete steps to assist them in implementing strategies for success.

My favorite workshops, however, were the ones where I actually modeled lessons or provided instructional advice to attendees. My workshop on “We Have Two Constitutions?!?!” focused on modeling a lesson that introduces the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution. With the myriad of recent developments in U.S. domestic politics, we were able to apply information about how and why the documents were written in the context of current events. Teachers left the workshop feeling inspired and armed with tangible ways to connect the past to the present.

I also presented a workshop on “Diving Deep with Constructed Response Rubrics.” Despite the rigorous workload, with attendees analyzing rubrics and reviewing student writing, the workshop received fantastic feedback. Attendees left with a better understanding of solid constructed response prompts, how to decipher and share rubric information with students and how to provide specific and concrete advice to students on their writing. This workshop was scheduled as the last session of the conference—so I was thrilled that so many people stuck around to attend!

My favorite workshop was “Science, Experiments, and Cross Curricular Instruction.” Not only did I have a packed room (standing room only!) but the workshop was highly interactive and fun. Sharing experiment ideas, activity options, video clips, etc. left attendees with immediate and tangible resources they can implement upon return to their classroom. Attendees even stayed around after the workshop to talk and ask questions. Nothing is more rewarding for me than my attendees finding value in the workshop and seeing them get excited.

The conference had an overall positive vibe and the attendees I encountered were motivated and determined to learn and use the information when they returned to their programs. It was an honor to be a part of such a positive event and I look forward to seeing what next year brings!

If you are interested in getting more information about any of the workshops mentioned above, or want to get information on the professional development we provide for Adult Education Professionals, please contact Kimberly Glenn at kglenn@edsisolutions.com.

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