A publication of the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center Fall 2004
Vol. 17, No. 1
In This Issue: Retention
1 Retention Strategies
3 Click: On Spam & Spyware
4 15 Grant Writing Tips
5 VLI Wins Early Reading
6 Program Managers’ Mtg.
8 Please, May I, Thank You
11 Fast Food to Fast Track
12 Festival of Cultures
13 Applause for VA ESOL
13 VA Businesses Support
Race to GED
14 Unemployment Check Ads
Using Research-Based 14 New VALRC Employees
to Improve Retention 15 Book Review
Back Community Commitment
by RANDALL STAMPER
here they are – staring at you. are pulled in myriad diﬀerent directions.
Well, a few are staring at you. Their presence in your class is admirable. where students view the relationship less
Two in the back are having a Given time and work, we know most of as a student/teacher dyad and more as a
conversation, apparently oblivious to them could make substantial strides to- partnership. Responsibility for harbor-
your presence. One, over on the left ward passing the GED exam. The key is ing such an attitude falls squarely on the
side of the room, is staring out the win- to keep them coming back, to keep them teachers’ shoulders.
dow. One in the front row is not really in the seats and on track. How? To an- “The right teacher is a key to the suc-
staring so much as glaring at you. The swer that question, Progress spoke with cess of the program,” Shelia Harper of
rest are looking down at their books or program managers around the state and Southside Virginia Community College
scribbling in notebooks, though you’ve consulted the latest information avail- stated. “Look for a teacher who is fair,
said nothing yet and have not handed able concerning adult student retention. consistent, trustworthy, patient, orga-
out any forms for them to ﬁll out. There Practice and theory agreed in this case. nized and prepared, ﬂexible, a good lis-
they are: your charges for the next sev- What became clear is that successful tener, adept at skills, and a person who is
eral weeks. You recognize a few familiar programs are using strategies conﬁrmed also engaged in lifelong learning.” That’s
faces; most are new. If national statistics to be eﬀective by nationally recognized a tall order, no doubt. But Harper ac-
hold true, a few of them won’t be around experts on adult education. Interviews knowledges that managers and lead teach-
long enough for you to develop much of with several managers supported the ers are often responsible for harboring
a lasting impression of them, nor they ﬁndings of an NCSALL research team such characteristics in their instructors.
of you. As you know, these students are led by John Comings. That team found Such instructors can serve as role-mod-
hard to keep around. that four factors are critical to ensuring els to students who have to juggle mul-
While recruitment is the ﬁrst step that students stay in your program and tiple, often conﬂicting, responsibilities.
toward reaching the Governor’s goal, it make the advancements necessary to This speaks to the ﬁrst factor identiﬁed
is retention that is the most important, their success and your reporting ﬁgures by Comings’ team: students need to be
and perhaps the most diﬃcult, facet of (see sidebar, page 10). aware of the positive and negative forces
the Race to GED. You’re a good teacher Many of the respondent’s comments aﬀecting their schooling. Identifying
in a good program with supportive staﬀ point to a basic thesis that suggests it those factors is the ﬁrst step to managing
and solid resources. But your students is important to create an environment Continued on page 10 ...
PROGRESS A Few Words on Progress
Progress is published by: t is astonishing how much has occurred in 12 short
Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center
Virginia Commonwealth University
months. Last fall, the program year started with a focus
1015 West Main Street on assessment and accountability. Then, we entered the
P.O. Box 842020 Race to GED, and we haven’t stopped since.
Richmond, VA 23284-2020 Special recognition must go to the Fast Track GED pilot sites.
Dr. Yvonne Thayer recognized these programs and the ten new
Permission is granted to reproduce articles sites at the statewide program managers’ meeting in August (see
from this newsletter. Please credit the page 6). Dr. Thayer also recognized the important contributions of
author and Progress. two program managers who have helped shape the Race to GED
promotional campaign: Sue O’Connor, Henrico County Adult
Subscriptions are free to Virginia residents.
Education, and Dale Temple, Southside Programs for Adult and
To subscribe, contact the
Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center Continuing Education. Congratulations to all of these programs, November
at: their managers, and staﬀs for leading the Race to GED. 2-6
(800) 237-0178 This fall, regional workshops on Fast Track GED will help AAACE Conf.
programs reﬁne their instructional oﬀerings. As of this print- Louisville, KY
ing, over 100 adult educators have participated in the Fast Track 7-9
Submissions and letters to the editor are training with two additional workshops yet to be held. While Intl. Reading Assn.
welcome. Contact: the Race to GED has put GED instruction in the forefront of Southeast Conf.
Randall Stamper, our minds, we know that instruction is only one aspect of a suc- Savannah, GA
Progress Editor, at:
(804) 828-6521 or
cessful adult education or literacy program. A major part of the 11-13
(800) 237-0178. program managers’ meeting agenda was devoted to marketing Reading Recovery &
We reserve the right to decline publication. and customer service. VALRC will follow up in November and Comprehensive
December with a series of regional customer service workshops Literacy Conf.
Director of Adult Education and Literacy
geared for managers and support staﬀ. In the spring, VALRC will Baltimore, MD
Yvonne Thayer, Ed.D.
debut a new regional workshop designed to help teachers im-
VALRC Manager prove their skills in combining assessment results, student goals, December
Barbara E. Gibson program goals, and instructional materials for eﬀective classroom 1-4
instruction. Ntl. Reading Conf.
This issue of Progress contains two articles related to student San Antonio, TX
Randall Stamper retention, an important factor in attaining desired outcomes in 2-3
all instructional programs. Randy Stamper highlights some cur- ProLiteracy America
Designer rent research on retention, including the four keys to persistence, Northeast Regional
in his article “Seat Time” (page 1). Marcia Phillips, who is devel- Training
Team Coordinator oping VALRC’s customer service workshop, discusses the inter- Pittsburgh, PA
Victoire Gerkens Sanborn section between customer service and retention in “Please, May 4-7
I, Thank You” (page 8). Ntl. Workforce
This product was paid for under the Adult Finally, last year Progress underwent changes in its design Association Conf.
Education and Family Literacy Act of
1998; however, the opinions expressed
and content. These upgrades were due in large measure to Ran- St. Petersburg, FL
herein do not necessarily represent the dy Stamper, Assistant Editor, and Stephen Grainer, Designer. 10-14
position or policy of the U.S. Department I am pleased to announce that Randy has been promoted to Ntl. Head Start
of Education, and no oﬃcial endorse- Editor, and this is the ﬁrst issue of Progress under his leadership. Association Conf.
ment by the U.S. Department should be
If you have suggestions for articles you would like to see in Salt Lake City, UT
Progress or if would like to write an article, please contact Randy
at email@example.com. January
While last year was extraordinarily busy for all of us, this year 27-29
promises to be equally challenging. Progress will attempt to keep Technology,
you up to date with new developments, new ideas, and, we hope, Reading, & Learning
a new outlook. Disabilities Conf.
San Francisco, CA
2 Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
by STEPHEN GRAINER
Hello and welcome to Click, our regular technology column in Progress. As webmaster at the Resource Center, I
hope to share my passion for technology, featuring tools and tips relevant to the educational ﬁeld.
ot too long ago, a coworker like Ad-Aware, Spybot runs constantly their inbox daily. So what can you do
came to me with a prob- in the background to keep spyware from about spam?
lem; she was getting more being installed in the ﬁrst place. As with 1. Use ﬁlters or rules to reroute it.
and more ads every time she tried Ad-Aware (and your antivirus software), Most modern email software comes
to use her computer. Then another make sure to download updates on a with a way of ﬁltering email based
coworker came to me. And another. regular basis. on certain information. For ex-
Since then, we’ve done a number of ample, you could ﬁlter all email that
things to alleviate the problem, and Take Back Your Web you receive from a speciﬁc email
I’d like to share a few of our more Popups on the web are becoming address to go straight to a specially
useful discoveries. a thing of the past with new browsers designated Junk folder. See the help
First, I should deﬁne some of the and tools. Several browsers have oﬀered ﬁles for your email software for
things I’m going to talk about, in par- built-in popup blocking for over a year, more information.
ticular adware and spyware. Adware is while recent changes to Internet Ex- 2. Don’t click opt-out links. You may
software installed on your computer for plorer in the latest service pack for Win- have noticed opt-out links at the
the purpose of displaying ads, generally dows XP also enable this useful feature. bottom of junk email that promise
as popup windows. Similarly, spyware To start surﬁng without popups, check to remove you if you click on a link.
is invasive software that tracks the way out the following: Very often, these are blatant lies,
you use your computer and the Internet • Mozilla Firefox, a fast new web used to verify your email address so
and sends that information to a company browser from the developers of that spammers can send even more
over the Internet. Both adware and spy- Netscape that is more powerful and junk email.
ware often come packaged with software more secure than Internet Explorer 3. Use a throwaway email address.
downloaded from the web and are usu- (www.getﬁrefox.com) More and more websites require
ally installed without alerting you. • Google Toolbar, which also adds a registration with a valid email
google search box to your Internet address. To avoid worrying about
Be Aware of Adware Explorer toolbar and blocks popups whether your personal (or work)
You can never be sure what’s actu- (http://toolbar.google.com) email is going to be barraged with
ally being installed when you download There are many other commercial junk, sign up for free email with
and install software from the Internet. options available, but the two above Hotmail or Yahoo! and use that
The safest way to protect yourself from are free and work very well. Of course, email address for websites that
accidentally installing adware or spyware if you run Windows XP, you can (and require you to register.
(or viruses) is to refrain from installing should) download the recently released 4. Use a spam-catching service or
any software downloaded from the Inter- service pack to get an updated version software. If your spam trouble
net. Of course, this isn’t always feasible, of Internet Explorer with built-in pop- is still overwhelming, you might
so you need programs like Ad-Aware and up blocking. The service pack is avail- check out services like Knowspam
Spybot to help remove the peskier ad- able from Windows Update at http:// (www.knowspam.net) or software
ware and spyware programs. Ad-Aware windowsupdate.microsoft.com. (Caution: like SpamNet (www.spamnet.com)
is available free for personal use and can The service pack can take a long time to that use community ﬁlters to detect
be downloaded from www.lavasoftusa. download over a dial-up connection. It known spam and catch it before
com. Once installed, you should update is available only for the latest version of it arrives in your inbox. These do
the deﬁnitions before running it for the Windows.) cost money, but if you are sinking
ﬁrst time. You should run Ad-Aware on in a sea of spam, they might be just
a weekly or monthly basis to remove any Take Back Your Email what you need.
adware that creeps onto your computer. Remember the days when spam Continued on page 14 ...
Spybot Search & Destroy is another use- was just canned meat? Nowadays when
ful program for detecting and removing people mention spam, they probably Got a question or suggestion for a
spyware from your computer and can be aren’t talking about that tasty treat but future topic? Email sdgrainer@vcu.
downloaded from www.spybot.info. Un- instead about the junk email that ﬂoods edu with the subject “Click on this.”
PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1 3
15 Grant Writing Tips
by VICTOIRE GERKENS-SANBORN
In today’s competitive funding environment, writing a successful grant has become more challeng-
ing than ever. As a grant reader, I would like to share some insights that grant writing teams might
1 4 10
Before you begin, conduct Answer all questions, even Show an “I can do” at-
an internal assessment. After if they seem obvious or re- titude. Use a positive tone
reading the Request for Proposal petitive. You can, if pressed for in describing a problem you
(RFP) and before writing the grant, you space, refer to a previous answer, but it can solve. If you must mention obstacles
and your team should answer the follow- is probably wiser to use the suggested (and I can’t think of too many reasons
ing question: Does our program have the format. The more speciﬁc you are, the why you must), don’t dwell on them. The
resources to implement and manage the better. This keeps the grants committee grants committee wants to support your
grant, and meet funding requirements? from guessing. cause. It is truly interested in your solu-
Most applicants do; sadly, the ones that tions, but not if you seem overwhelmed
don’t spend a great deal of time away Show, don’t tell. Long narra- or defeated from the start.
from their clients or sap their resources tives can hide vital information.
in order to satisfy grant requirements. Use charts, graphs, or tables to Finish as strong as you
explain demographics or statistics, or started. Give each sec-
Build a strong case. The to list goals, objectives, and anticipated tion of your proposal equal
strength of your grant applica- outcomes. If an answer must be lengthy, weight and don’t run out of space. Too
tion depends on how well you ﬁnd ways to break up the text and cre- often, writers skim over the evaluation,
can demonstrate the need for your proj- ate white space. Bold important items outcomes, and dissemination questions
ect. Use current statistics, precise lan- or phrases. Use lists and bullets when only because they are placed at the end
guage, and sound reasoning to lay your feasible. of the RFP. Many mystery writers write
foundation. If the needs section does the ending before the beginning. See
not make a strong case for funding your Be realistic. Describe only at- if this technique works for you: it may
project, the rest of your proposal – no tainable, measurable goals. In help to keep you focused throughout
matter how well thought out – will fail. addition, tailor your project to the writing process.
Find current sources in “Facts and Sta- the amount of funds your program is
tistics” on the Resource Center website: requesting. Describe what you actually Don’t be a grant chaser.
www.aelweb.vcu.edu/. mean to achieve with $5,000. Explain If your proposed project
doable strategies, accepted benchmarks doesn’t ﬁt into your pro-
Write to your audience. Are of success, and reasonable outcomes. gram’s mission or strategic plan, why are
the grant readers specialists who you making this time-consuming eﬀort?
are already knowledgeable about Piggyback on others’
adult literacy, or is the grants committee strengths. Enhance your pro- Be a team player. Some
comprised of generalists who are consid- gram’s capacity (and multiply of the best proposals are
ering applications from a variety of or- your region’s need) by listing meaning- made by grant writing teams.
ganizations with diverse missions? Once ful and integrated collaborations. Yes, Why? Because during brainstorming ses-
you have established the make up of the partnerships take eﬀort, but you’ll earn sions, members oﬀer diﬀerent perspec-
grant reading committee, keep jargon major points. tives, levels of expertise, and talents. They
to a minimum. Use only facts that will can tackle larger, more demanding grants,
strengthen your case or inform some- Call for help. To clarify breaking up cumbersome tasks, meeting
one who is not familiar with the subject. instructions on the RFP, call the pressing deadlines, and tapping into a
Concentrate on the unique situation in grantor. wider variety of community resources.
your region. Yes, the problem is world-
wide, but you are seeking funding for a Proof, edit, proof, edit, proof.
local project, and you should write from Then, proof again.
that point of view.
4 Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
Virginia Literacy Institute Awarded $3.3 Million
Early Reading First Grant
by MIKE FRONTIERO
he U.S. Department of Edu- Ph.D., assistant professor of reading, VCU Head Start children, the three-
cation has awarded the Vir- and Evelyn Reed-Victor, Ph.D., associ- year grant will provide funds to extend
ginia Literacy Institute at ate professor of special education. Also the school day to six-and-one-half hours
Virginia Commonwealth Universi- serving on the project management and to provide a full-day, eight-week
ty’s School of Education a $3.3 mil- team will be VCU Head Start Direc- summer program for three-year-old
lion grant to collaborate with VCU tor Phyllis Grooms-Gordon, evaluator children. The grant also will allow VCU
Head Start in creating an early- Christopher E. Chin, Ph.D., of Chil- Head Start to oﬀer full-day instruction
childhood reading program that will dren’s Hospital in Richmond, and Bar- throughout the summer for four-year-
be the ﬁrst of its kind in Virginia. bara Gibson, associate director of the old children with a special, elementary
The program, Richmond Early Virginia Literacy Institute. school-based, four-week session for
Reading First, will promote preschool- “This project will not only ben- children entering Kindergarten.
ers’ successful transition to Kinder- eﬁt the children in VCU’s Head Start VCU Head Start, a delegate agen-
garten and will ensure they have the program, but will serve as a model for cy of Richmond Public Schools, was
knowledge and skills necessary for op- other early childhood education pro- founded in 1996. It serves 210 three-
timal reading development. The federal grams across Virginia and the nation as and-four-year-old children in a com-
government has funded 32 Early Read- they prepare young children to become munity-based partnership of six pre-
ing First projects across the country proﬁcient readers,” Rhodes said. “It is school programs.
worth $90 million this year. This is the an exciting cooperative venture with The Virginia Literacy Institute was
ﬁrst such grant awarded in Virginia. the School of Social Work’s successful established as a partnership between
“This grant will allow us to work Head Start program.” VCU and the Virginia Literacy Foun-
with the children attending VCU’s Richmond Early Reading First also dation to conduct research and devel-
Head Start program to provide each will: opment projects in adult education and
child with high quality, pre-reading in- • provide professional development family literacy. It is located in the VCU
struction so they can enter Kindergar- for pre-school teachers and assis- School of Education, the 47th ranked
ten ready to learn and to achieve their tance for parents to support their School of Education in the United
full potential,” said Mark Emblidge, children’s learning at home States. .:
director of the Virginia Literacy Insti- • engage parents in training and
tute and vice president of the Virginia consultation activities regarding Mike Frontiero is a public relations
Board of Education. early-reading strategies they can specialist for Virginia Commonwealth
The early-reading program will use at home University’s University News Services.
work in conjunction with VCU Head • work with an external evaluator to This story is reprinted with the permis-
Start – a program of the VCU School of identify children at risk for reading sion of the author and University News
Social Work. In addition to Emblidge, diﬃculties. Services.
it will be directed by Joan Rhodes, To meet the instructional needs of
Tell the truth, the whole Use a “fresh eye.” Be- Victoire Gerkens Sanborn is the Director of
truth, and nothing but fore mailing your proposal, the Literacy Support Center and author of
the truth. Grant readers ask someone who is not on the 2003 Grants and Foundations booklet,
have access to resources that will rectify your grant writing team to read for un- available on the Resource Center website.
wrong information, clarify faulty reason- derstanding and to check each section Since 2002, she has served on three grant-
ing, or ﬁll in glaring holes. If your pro- against the RFP. This will ensure that writing committees that were awarded close
posal needs to skirt certain issues, should all requirements have been met and that to $4 million in grants.
you be writing it at all? your proposal says what you mean for it
to say. .:
PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1 5
2004 Program Managers’
by RANDALL STAMPER
he Race to GED has oﬃcially ples of marketing endeavors by the ﬁve for Lee, Scott, Wise, and Norton Public
begun across Virginia. The Fast Track pilot sites: Russell County, Schools (Rebecca Scott); Fairfax County
annual program managers’ Prince William County, Danville-Mar- (Bonnie Moore); Spotsylvania Regional
meeting was held August 18th and tinsville, Hampton, and Virginia Beach. Adult Education Program (Betsy Math-
19th at the Sheraton South hotel in Dr. Yvonne Thayer, Director of ias); Southside Programs for Adult and
Richmond, and it marked the oﬃcial the Oﬃce of Adult Education and Lit- Continuing Education (Dale Temple);
rollout of the statewide marketing eracy, handed out several awards on the Roanoke City Schools (Dot Hayes);
plan for the Governor’s initiative. At- ﬁrst day. Bette Sneed, Cynthia Cooper, Henrico County Adult Education (Su-
tendance was high, and participants Stacey Wright, Bonnie Mizenko, and san O’Connor); Portsmouth City Public
walked away with a wealth of resourc- Linda Allen were recognized for their ef- Schools (Judy Eure); the Dayton Learn-
es to be used in marketing the Race in
their localities. “It is critical that all state and local agencies that have
Nearly two hundred people were on
hand to learn about the marketing plan a role in providing services to adults who do not have
and to receive the training and resources a diploma or a GED certiﬁcate collaborate in working
necessary to contribute to the initiative.
The two days were extremely busy with toward this goal.”
several seminars about marketing, pro- -- Gov. Mark Warner
motions, and customer service – critical
components of the Race. Dr. Pamela forts as the managers of the pilot sites. ing Center in the Harrisonburg area
Kieker and Dr. Deborah Cowles, both Dale Temple of Southside Programs for (Jim Orndoﬀ); and New River Commu-
professors in the Department of Market- Adult and Continuing Education and nity College (Jenny Bolte). Each of the
ing and Business Law at Virginia Com- Sue O’Connor of Henrico County Adult original pilot site directors will mentor
monwealth University, conducted semi- Education received plaques in apprecia- two of the new programs as they begin
nars on marketing and customer service. tion of their hard work on the Race to their participation in the Fast Track.
The VALRC’s Victoire Gerkens Sanborn GED marketing team. On the second day, Dr. Thayer
outlined the Marketing and Promotions The ﬁrst day culminated in the in- facilitated a roundtable discussion
Guide. Other presentations included troduction of the next ten Fast Track pro- with the representatives from both the
information about the Polilogue, a web- grams and their managers: Mount Rog- original and the newly announced Fast
based discussion forum for Fast Track ers Adult Education (Susan Seymore); Track programs. This talk centered on
programs and state personnel, and exam- the Regional Adult Education Program explaining to new programs the design,
6 Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
Program managers from the ﬁve Fast Track pilot sites, along with the
next ten Fast Track managers, are recognized by Dr. Yvonne Thayer.
The ﬁve pilot managers will each mentor two of the new sites.
deﬁnitions, and standards included in serve those individuals.” in its reporting. Emphasizing goals and
the Oﬃce of Adult Education and Lit- Such collaboration, coupled with rewarding students who achieve them is
eracy’s Implementation Guide. Partici- excellent customer service and an em- cited again and again by programs as a
pants also discussed the methods and phasis on achieving goals, will also facili- successful strategy. Various managers,
strategies key to conducting a successful tate better retention numbers. Several including Tonya Creasy from Northern
Fast Track program. of the new Fast Track program manag- Neck Adult Education, mentioned that
As hard as everyone worked to get ers and teachers mentioned the latter they provide certiﬁcates to students who
the meeting together, the real work be- two aspects as important facets of their make educational level advancements.
gins now. The Oﬃce of Adult Education plans to keep students in classrooms long These tokens provide the students with a
hopes to start 40 more Fast Track sites af- enough to make gains. Jim Andre, a tangible sign of success, as well as moti-
ter the ﬁrst of the year. The numbers from vation to continue their studies.
the ﬁrst ﬁve are encouraging. It is obvious Students are encouraged Most agreed that the meeting was a
that students appreciate the structured to focus on completing great success. Shelia Harper of South-
style of the classes and the emphasis on side Virginia Community College com-
setting and achieving goals. Comple- forty hours of class time. mented that it was the best she had ever
tion rates suggest that many students are Those who do are rewarded attended. She particularly appreciated
ready and willing to put in the time and the fact that each program manager re-
eﬀort required by Fast Track if the result for their eﬀorts, as is the ceived actual samples of marketing ma-
is earning their GEDs quickly. As more program, which is then terials and a cd-rom that included the
and more programs come online, one electronic copies of each sample. This
key to success will be collaboration with able to use those students’ should not only make it easier for pro-
other agencies. As Governor Warner statistics in its reporting. grams to produce marketing materials on
stated in a letter to program managers, their own, but also will help ensure that
“Interagency collaboration is essential teacher with Henrico County, explained the Race to GED message is consistent
if we are to meet this goal. It is critical that his program has been conducting its across Virginia. .:
that all state and local agencies that have own form of Fast Track with a “Race to Ed’s note: Most of the marketing materials
a role in providing services to adults who 40” theme. Students are encouraged to included on the cd-rom are also available
do not have a diploma or a GED certiﬁ- focus on completing forty hours of class on the Resource Center’s website. To ac-
cate collaborate in working toward this time. Those who do are rewarded for cess them, go to www.aelweb.vcu.edu, and
goal. It will take the combined eﬀorts of their eﬀorts, as is the program, which is click on the link to Race to GED under
the involved agencies to locate, refer, and then able to use those students’ statistics Projects and Publications.
PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1 7
I, THANK YOU:
PLEASE, MAY to Improving Your Retention
Customer Service is Key
by MARCIA PHILLIPS
ith all the attention now reading your name oﬀ your charge card all of us are extroverts, but everyone can
being focused on adult when they thank you for shopping with and should be courteous and accepting.
education programs, Fast them are shallow responses to the human
Track, and the lofty goals that have needs for recognition and acknowledge- Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring...
been set for the next several years, ment, needs that we should be aware of On busy days, the level of stress in
you might feel that life as you know when dealing with our clients. an oﬃce is high. Telephone calls and
it has gotten out of control. The drop-in visitors add to the burden. It
numbers you are expected to achieve From the Front Door to the has been said that any position where the
are daunting. No doubt, you already Final Handshake telephone rings more than four times an
know you will need to develop some Everyone: instructors, oﬃce staﬀ, hour is a high-stress job. Small wonder,
strategies for operating in a diﬀerent specialists, and program managers es- then, that many adult education pro-
environment. Developing a strong tablish the tone and the service level of grams around the state have turned to
customer service initiative for your a program. First impressions take only the answering machine. We know that
program is one of the easiest strate- a few seconds to form, but they are long because we call you for information or
gies to begin working on. Not only lasting. The way a newcomer is greeted questions, and we hear the message that
will it help you in all aspects of your establishes his perception of the program yes, we have gotten the correct number,
program, but it requires little more and even his probable chances for suc- and also that we have called during oﬃce
than self-awareness and basic cour- cess. If he is faced with indiﬀerence or hours. But we don’t get our answer. For
tesy to be eﬀective. These are traits condescension in that ﬁrst meeting, the that we must leave our names and our
we all have. It’s simply a matter of numbers and wait for you to call us.
stressing their importance to yourself Not all of us are It is an irritant for us, particularly
and your staﬀ. when we call several programs and nev-
We in education think of ourselves extroverts, but everyone er talk to an actual person. Insofar as
as client-centered professionals. We are
cheered by the stories of success, and we
can and should be we are your customers, it is poor ser-
vice to us as well. But it is not nearly as
love the aﬃrmation that these stories courteous and accepting. bad for us as it is for the young woman
bring to our work. But the realities of who is nervous about the options she
overly busy days with too much to do chances he will return rest solely on his faces and concerned that she will not
and too few resources often cause us to perceived need for your services. How- be able to develop the skills and knowl-
forget to think about how others view us. ever, if that person is greeted warmly edge she needs to get a job to support
Those views, however, are very important and given the necessary information herself and her family. That potential
to our success and the success of our cli- in a friendly manner, you and he have student has just received poor service,
ents. If we make our clients comfortable, formed a bond. It is more likely that he no matter how politely it was intended.
make them feel that they are welcome will perceive that you are both involved You have shown that during the busi-
and in good hands, they are more likely in a partnership even before he has be- ness day, it is more important to you to
to persist. gun his classwork. do your real work than it is to take the
Customer service has become a buzz- Teachers, too, create ﬁrst impres- call from a potential student. Do that
phrase in recent years. Because so many sions by the way they come into their enough times, and you have cost your-
business transactions these days are self- classroom and the manner in which they self enough students to ﬁll at least one
service and impersonal, most businesses address their students. If the atmosphere more class. Then, that real work will not
now spend considerable time and eﬀort is warm and friendly, the class is more be important, because it is the students
building awareness of the need to be likely to connect than if everyone is with- who make the work necessary.
courteous and helpful on those occasions drawn and nervous. The teacher must Think of all the telephone transac-
that require person-to-person interaction. not only facilitate learning, but also do tions you participate in where you are
However, front-door greeters in huge as much as possible to create a sense of the only live body. Eﬃcient though it is,
warehouse stores, or sales clerks correctly cohesion with and among students. Not reporting a problem to a computer-gen-
8 Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
erated system does not satisfy the need to its function dependably and adequately. more intangible the product, the more
be sure that we are going to get the help People can see what they have bought. goes into the relationship.
we need. Moreover, our clients are doing They can assess it against a similar ob- This is the role customer service or
much more than reporting a problem; ject that they have had in the past, or client awareness, you can call it anything
they’re asking for help to improve their that their neighbors have. The product you like, plays in retention. Studies have
lives. Such questions warrant our full at- is tangible. With a service, however, the shown that when participants feel con-
tention the ﬁrst time, every time. It may product cannot be seen. People can go nected, they will persist. If someone
be diﬃcult, yes. But it is crucial that as to classes and they can learn, or not. But misses a class meeting and is greeted with
many callers as possible are greeted with only they will know if they have gained “I missed you last time,” his perception
a warm, living voice. the knowledge and skills they looked for. of his position in your class is strength-
Only they will know if the class they took ened. Consequently, if he feels that he
Uhhh, Ummm, Hmmm is as good as their colleague’s or neigh- plays a strong part in the class, he is less
Part of the problem outlined above bor’s. Whether or not you have fulﬁlled likely to drop out. While the program
is that small programs often do not have your students’ needs rests in their percep- manager sets the tone for the program,
suﬃcient staﬃng to handle all of their in- tion, not yours. everyone employed in it plays a role in
coming phone calls. It is not uncommon That is where strong client awareness providing good customer service. The
for someone else in the school system to adds value to any aspect of your pro- group climate is important, but each
take all the calls and forward them to gram. Whenever people come to you for staﬀ person can choose whether or not to
the appropriate parties. This invariably deliver good customer service.
leads to a loss of customer service. These Studies have shown that
people do not always know the answers Checking Yourself
to the questions about adult education when participants feel How is your program doing? Per-
oﬀerings. They may actually know less connected, they will persist. forming a self-assessment can give you
about your services than the people call- your answer to that question. You can
ing. This is where a proactive program If someone misses a class call your program anonymously and see
manager can make a diﬀerence. meeting and is greeted with what kind of telephone service you get.
As a program, you can provide the Have a good friend or neighbor come
answers to frequently asked questions. ‘I missed you last time,’ his in to the oﬃce looking for information.
Put together a brief guide and provide it perception of his position in When you observe classes, pay particular
to the staﬀ in the oﬃce where the tele-
phone is answered. You will probably
your class is strengthened. attentionlearners. the instructor connects
with the Rate your program for
discover that these folks are very happy information given, level of friendliness,
to be able to answer the questions; after help, they are taking the ﬁrst in a series and courtesy. Look for areas that need
all, no one likes to tell the public, “I don’t of steps to transform their lives. They improvement, not an assurance that you
know.” Be sure to keep the guide up to trust you when you say that you will help are doing as well as can be expected. Re-
date. Make sure that you give those peo- them build their knowledge base, or that member that while it is a job for us, it is
ple the information about testing and you will assist them in preparing for the a life-change for them. .:
assessment dates and upcoming classes GED. That trust makes them vulnerable
in a timely fashion. Be sure that your to you and your program. Showing that Ed’s note: The Resource Center has devel-
part-time staﬀers are fully aware of what you take their trust seriously and that oped a training module, Delivering Good
is happening. Not knowing the answers you are committed to providing the best Customer Service, for adult education pro-
to simple questions such as, “When can classes, support, and materials available grams around the state. Dates will be an-
I come in to be tested?” or “What days is important. Letting them know that nounced on our website.
does the class in such-and-such location they personally are important to you in
meet?” is not only poor customer service, your day at work and that their success Marcia Phillips is Special Projects Specialist
it is bad advertising as well. is your reason for being there cements a with the VALRC. She has worked in adult
relationship. And in these hurried and education for over twenty years. Marcia is
Theirs, Not Yours stressful times, personal relationships are leading the development and implementa-
The main diﬀerence between deliv- more and more important. That is why tion of the customer service training that
ering a product and delivering a service is all good salespeople work on developing the Resource Center will be oﬀering.
this. If you deliver a product, anyone can relationships before they focus on pro-
see that it is designed well and performs moting their product. And in sales, the
PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1 9
the goal are recognized with awards. As-
sessment and recognition are two factors
identiﬁed by the NCSALL research team
as crucial to the success of goal-setting.
Students need to know where they are
and where they are going. Programs that
recognize and support those needs not
only reward their students, but also are
rewarded themselves with exceptional
retention and pass rates. This is borne
out by NRS data on retention rates state-
wide. The Department of Education’s
data analysis suggests that for ﬁscal year
2003-2004, retention in Virginia adult
education programs was at 80%. This
represents a 10% gain over the 2002-
All of this information leads back to
Seat Time: continued from front where we started – a teacher in the class-
them. And a teacher is in the best posi- tasks placed in front of him. room looking at a group of students who
tion to help students learn how. Finally, the importance of goals can’t are pulled in many diﬀerent directions
Outside of the classroom, the staﬀ be overstated. Whether it is Fast Track, and asking, “How can I keep those seats
must also provide support and services. GED preparation, or ABE, having stu- ﬁlled?” Practice and theory both suggest
Tonya Creasy of Northern Neck Adult dents set goals and, then, providing them that a big part of the answer is to confront
Education explained that in her pro- with ways to monitor progress toward the conﬂicting responsibilities together
gram, students are encouraged to drop those goals are keys to keeping students head-on and to stress the importance of
in from time to time or call for help on motivated and moving ahead. Creasy’s goals in the classroom. Monitoring and
subjects. More and more, students are program provides students with cer- rewarding progress toward those goals,
availing themselves of these opportuni- tiﬁcates for every educational gain. Jim most agree, will keep students coming
ties. Such support creates a community Andre and Susan O’Connor of Henrico back for more. .:
atmosphere in which the student knows County Adult Education have estab-
that everyone in the program is there to lished a “Race to 40 (hours)” concept. Randall Stamper is the publications man-
help. This builds self-eﬃcacy – a stu- Students focus on a goal of 40 hours of ager for the Resource Center and the editor
dent’s feeling that he can accomplish the classroom instruction. Those who attain of Progress.
Four Key Supports to Persistence
A NCSALL research team headed how to persist in learning. mittently review them.
by John Comings conducted a study 2. Self-eﬃcacy: This refers to a 4. Progress toward a goal: Once
into adult student persistence from student’s feeling of being able a goal is set, programs and
1997 to 2003. Among many ﬁndings to accomplish a task. Programs teachers should not only assist a
based on literature review, interviews, can help build students’ self-ef- student in working toward that
and ﬁeld tests, the team identiﬁed four ﬁcacy by providing experiences goal, but also provide a range of
key supports to persistence among that allow them to be successful assessments that allow students
adult students. These supports are and then providing evidence of to measure their progress.
summarized below. that success, as well as facilitating
1. Awareness and management of a community atmosphere that Source: Comings, J., Cuban, S.,
the positive and negative forc- extends beyond the classroom. Parrella, A., & Soricone, L. (2002). The
es that help and hinder persis- 3. Students establish goals: Pro- First Five Years: National Center for the
tence: Adult learners experience gram staﬀ should establish clear Study of Adult Learning and Literacy
both positive and negative forces goals upon students’ entrance 1999-2001 (#23). Cambridge, MA: Na-
related to persistence. Helping into a program, and teachers tional Center for the Study of Adult
them identify and manage those should use these goals as the Learning and Literacy.
forces can provide insights into context for instruction and inter-
10 Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
From Fast Food to Fast Track
APRIL L. ANDREWS
Below is a short list of recommend-
he GED test has been oﬀered tually going to class – became the easiest. ed publications concerned with adult
in my community for as long This wasn’t failure; this was fun! I actu- learner retention. The ﬁnal report from
as I can remember. Many ally looked forward to going to classes. I NCSALL’s study on adult learner reten-
times I thought of taking the class- would not have missed one session. The tion, due in fall of 2003, is yet to be is-
es, but for some reason or another, people in the Fast Track program oﬀered sued as of the time of this publication.
I would make an excuse. I dropped me constant encouragement: “You can
out of high school at 16. I wasn’t do it. We know you can.” That support Barron Jones, J. D. (1998). Retention
and the ged. Focus on Basics, 2 (B),
doing well in school, and I thought it was so important to me keeping at it.
would be easier to get a fast food job When the eight weeks ended, I
Bingman, M.B., & Ebert, O. (2000). “I’ve
and work full time. felt conﬁdent and prepared to take the Come a Long Way:” Learner-Identi-
Over the years, I tried several GED GED test. Before, when I attended high ﬁed Outcomes of Participation
classes, but they just never seemed right. school, I never felt conﬁdent in test tak- in Adult Literacy Programs (#13).
Students were given workbooks, and they ing, which probably contributed to why Cambridge, MA: National Center
just sat in a room and worked in them. I didn’t ﬁnish high school. But I took the for the Study of Adult Learning and
Also, there was no time limit to take the GED test, and I felt conﬁdent about it. Literacy.
test; you just worked in the workbooks My test results came in the mail a few Comings, J., Cuban, S., Bos, J., & Por-
until you thought you were ready. weeks later. I passed the GED! I now ter, K. (2003). “As Long as it Takes:”
Responding to the Challenges of
One day I realized I wanted a better have the equivalent to a high school edu-
Adult Student Persistence in Library
Literacy Programs. New York: Man-
“This wasn’t failure; this was fun! I actually looked power Demonstration Research
forward to going to classes. I would not have missed Corporation.
Comings, J., Cuban, S., Bos, J., & Taylor, C.
one session.” (2001). “I Did it For Myself:” Studying
Eﬀorts to Increase Adult Learner Per-
job and a good career. I wanted to estab- cation. I am very proud. I have conﬁ- sistence in Library Literacy Programs.
lish a good foundation for my children to dence in education and myself. My only New York: Manpower Demonstra-
build on. That’s when I realized I needed regret is not realizing this earlier in life. tion Research Corporation.
Comings, J., Parrella, A. & Soricone, L.
my GED. I went to the local adult edu- I am currently taking college classes
(1999). Persistence Among Adult
cation oﬃce at New River Community to fulﬁll the dream I’ve had as long as I
Basic Education Students in Pre-GED
College to sign up. The staﬀ was so help- can remember: to become a nurse. I am Classes (#12). Cambridge, MA: Na-
ful and informative. They encouraged building a foundation for my children; tional Center for the Study of Adult
me to sign up for the Fast Track class, an now they also will know the importance Learning and Literacy
8-week program that focused on the skills of an education. I just want to scream to Comings, J., Parrella, A., & Soricone, L.
I needed to be successful. All I needed the world, because I’m so happy. This is (2000). Helping adults persist: four
was to be committed and to allow them what everyone should be doing! supports. Focus on Basics, 4(A), 1-6.
to teach and prepare me for taking the Thanks to all of the wonderful staﬀ Garner, B. (Ed.). (1998). Learner Motiva-
GED test. in the New River Community College tion [Special Issue]. Focus on Basics,
Because of the support and friendli- Adult Education department. This is
Wonacott, M. E. (2001). Adult stu-
ness of the staﬀ, going to class was not as truly a wonderful program. I am very
dents: recruitment and retention.
scary as I thought. Even so, the old fears proud and thankful to have the program retrieved Sept 20, 2004, from
about school came back. After so long of available for my community. .: Clearinghouse on Adult, Career,
feeling like a failure, I worried that this and Vocational Education website:
would end the same way. To my sur- April, a proud Fast Track graduate of the http://www.cete.org/acve/docgen.
prise, I had the best teacher and support Regional New River Community College asp?tbl=pab&ID=108.
that I could ever imagine! Even though I Adult Education Program, received her Young, M., Fleischman, H., Fitzgerald,
was working as a Certiﬁed Nursing As- GED diploma in May 2004 and immedi- N., & Morgan, M. (1994). National
sistant at the time, I found that what I ately began classes at New River Commu- Evaluation of Adult Education
Programs: Patterns and predictors
thought would be the hardest thing – ac- nity College in the nursing ﬁeld.
of Client Attendance. Arlington, VA:
PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1 11
Charlottesville Festival of Cultures: EL/Civics in Action
by SUSAN ERNO & DEBRA TULER
harlottesville’s ﬁrst annual the festival as a gathering place where all leaders and teachers connected to each
Festival of Cultures began, could come together to celebrate, take other and the larger community. In ad-
as most things do, with an pride in, and share the multiple cultures dition, they learned about services of-
idea. Our area’s increasing diversity found in our community. fered to them in the community, such as
hit home last fall when we realized we The planning committee, under health, interpretation services, the transit
had a class with sixteen students from the direction of Debra Tuler and Heidi system, other educational opportunities,
sixteen diﬀerent countries with six- Gordon, ESOL instructors and coordi- and more. Finally, it satisﬁed an articu-
teen diﬀerent native languages. Both nators of the festival, consisted primarily lated need to give back to the commu-
the richness and the challenges asso- of ESOL learners. Planning this event nity by sharing their culture and talents.
ciated with a diverse population was provided learners an opportunity to take At the same time, the larger community
seeping into the schools, workplace, on leadership roles and to engage in learned about and appreciated both the
and the fabric of daily life. Native community outreach. We met monthly rich diversity in our midst and our com-
Charlottesvillians saw people waiting at the start and more frequently as the mon interests. “Family is everything”
at the bus stop in traditional dress, festival date neared. The committee, as was written on a leaf for the unity tree.
but how much did either group know well as other students, helped with all Watching the families and friends sing-
about each other? aspects of the festival from coming up ing, dancing, and playing together, you
Our philosophy of civics has con- with the overall plan and idea, to ﬁnding couldn’t help but agree.
sistently focused on a dual purpose: to sponsors, recruiting participants, doing The Festival of Cultures was a project
prepare learners for successful transition publicity, and performing. of the Charlottesville City Schools Adult
into all aspects of community life, and The festival was a colorful and joyful Education Program. It was partially
to prepare the community to better un- celebration and a huge success with over funded by an English Language/Civics
derstand and interact with their newest 400 in attendance. It took place on a Grant. For further information, contact
residents. We believe that to become ef- sunny day in May in Lee Park, near the Susan Erno, Adult Education Program
fective participants in the community, downtown pedestrian mall. It included Coordinator at 434 245-2817 or email
ESOL learners need not only to under- entertainment – music, dance, and story- firstname.lastname@example.org .:
stand their rights and responsibilities and telling – cultural exhibits, hands-on craft
how to navigate in American society, but activities, craft vendors, and information Susan Erno is the Adult Education
also to engage in a process of mutual in- booths from organizations that serve the Coordinator for Charlottesville City
formation sharing with others. ESOL population. The entertainment, Schools and Instructional Specialist for
Thus, the purpose of the festival was exhibits, and crafts spanned the globe. Planning District 10.
multi-fold: to celebrate the cultural di- One hands-on activity, the creation of a Debra Tuler has Masters degrees in both
versity in our community; to increase multicultural unity tree, demonstrated linguistics and in cultural anthropolo-
awareness of that diversity; and to build that the globe could be found right here gy. She began teaching ESL in 1988 in
a bridge of communication between in our city. the Boston area and has been with the
newcomers and established residents in One of the greatest beneﬁts of the Charlottesville Adult Education Pro-
the Charlottesville area. We envisioned festival for learners was that they became gram since 1998.
12 Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
Two Rounds of Applause for Virginia ESOL
by ANITA PRINCE
irginia is one of eight states applications, and the process involved gratulate Debbie Cargill of the Prince
selected to participate in a about 35 of Virginia’s best and bright- William County Adult Education pro-
national consortium to de- est adult educators. While contributing gram for her invitation to be a panelist
velop curriculum content standards to the work of the consortium at the at the Building A Common Civic Iden-
for English for speakers of other lan- national level, Virginia will be able to tity symposium presented by the U.S.
guages (ESOL). Chosen through a address any unique needs for its learn- Citizenship and Immigration Services
competitive process, Virginia will ers and practitioners. David Red of and Woodrow Wilson International
join Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Fairfax County and Nancy Faux of the Center for Scholars. Debbie will share
Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Resource Center will be the content ex- the stage with notable oﬃcials such as
Washington to work with the Amer- perts serving on the consortium. Jane Tom Ridge, Director of the Depart-
ican Institutes for Research over Swing will manage the Virginia process ment of Homeland Security. Virginia
the 18 months of the development and the use of Polilogue, a web-based can be proud of its ESOL programs,
project. It is anticipated that the state resource for a virtual community of practitioners, and learners. .:
will employ a process similar to the one practice. A preliminary meeting of the
used during the summer to produce consortium took place in early Octo- Anita Prince is the Curriculum and
draft curriculum standards for the ﬁve ber. It is anticipated that members of Instruction Specialist for the Virginia
content areas of the GED. Participa- the ﬁeld will be actively involved in this Department of Education, Oﬃce of Adult
tion from local practitioners across the process. Education and Literacy.
state was solicited through competitive Round two of applause goes to con-
Virginia Businesses Show Support for Race to GED
by PATTY SHORTT
e are all winners in the ested in signing up to start GED classes have been creative in developing such
Race to GED. Adult are eligible to enter a drawing for a $75 partnerships. In addition to Mr. Hun-
learners win when they gift certiﬁcate to Applebee’s Restaurant. nicutt and the Virginia Lottery, Virginia
pass the GED tests. Employers win Dr. Yvonne Thayer, Director of the Of- Employment Commission, Department
when they provide employee access ﬁce of Adult Education and Literacy, of Social Services, Virginia Association of
to GED classes. Adult educators win draws the winning name, and the staﬀ Elementary School Principals, Virginia’s
when the GED pass rate doubles. veriﬁes the individual as a viable GED race industry, Verizon Reads, Hardee’s,
Economic developers win when an candidate. The winner receives a letter a marketing ﬁrm, radio stations, cable
educated work force attracts new in- of congratulations and encouragement stations, grocery stores, and many other
dustries to Virginia. And thanks to from Dr. Thayer, along with the $75 gift public and private organizations have
our partners’ commitment to support certiﬁcate to Applebee’s. joined us in the Race to GED.
the Race to GED, we also have Ap- Mr. George E. Hunnicutt, Jr., Be proactive in establishing Race to
plebee’s winners. President of Pepsi Bottling Company GED partnerships. It is truly amazing to
The Virginia Lottery has provided of Norton, is one of our corporate part- see the positive response and willingness
high visibility for a Race to GED display ners in Southwest Virginia. Mr. Hun- to be a Race to GED partner – just ask.
booth adjacent to the Lottery station at nicutt’s generous support is the source For more information about estab-
eight major statewide events including of the Applebee’s gift certiﬁcates. The lishing Race to GED partnerships, tele-
the Pork Festival, Harborfest, Salem Fair, Applebee’s gift certiﬁcates are drawing phone Patty Shortt at 804-225-3997 or
Galax Fiddler’s Convention, NASCAR attention to the Race to GED display email email@example.com. .:
– Bristol Fan Appreciation, Hillsville Gun booth and are generating incentive for
Show, Hampton Bay Days, and the Vir- people to sign-up. Patty Shortt is the Workforce Development
ginia State Fair. Local adult education Partnerships are vital to our suc- Specialist for the Virginia Department of
programs are manning the Race to GED cess. We cannot win the Race to GED Education, Oﬃce of Adult Education and
display booth at many other local events alone. We must leverage our ability by Literacy. She has worked in education for
and providing information and marketing creating associations and partnerships in several years and holds a B.S. in sociology
materials to thousands of people. a common interest that will pay big divi- and a Masters in public administration.
At each statewide event, adults inter- dends. The ﬁve pilot Race to GED sites
PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1 13
CLICK: continued from page 3
Email And Security person and ask. ated by viruses has gotten more cunning,
It seems like every week sees the 3. Don’t follow links blindly. The often masquerading as an email from
release of a new email virus. No matter text for a link in an email can say your system administrators telling you
how proliﬁc viruses become, there are anything. Links that say they go to that you have a virus and asking you to
some simple steps you can take to avoid one website may go somewhere else. open an attached document to clean it
nearly any infection: If in doubt, type the link into your up. The attached document is actually a
1. Never open attachments from browser by hand or forego visiting virus. While it is conceivable that your
someone you don’t know. Would altogether. mail server administrator might contact
you eat candy from a complete 4. Don’t just give your email address you and ask you to run a patch, you
stranger? Why would you trust your to anyone. Save your personal should verify these emails by contacting
computer to them? email address for friends, family your administrator before opening any
2. Cautiously open attachments from and work associates. Use your included attachments.
people you do know. Unless you’re throwaway address (see page 3) for In the next issue, we’ll take a look at
expecting an attached ﬁle, don’t everything else. intellectual property and fair use laws. .:
open it. If you’re not sure, call the Lately, the writing in email gener-
Race to GED Message Appears on Unemployment Insurance Checks
An agreement with the Virginia Em- the check is attached to the stub. Recipi- contact approximately ﬁve thousand
ployment Commission (VEC) promises ents of the checks who call the statewide new, potential students each week of the
to aid in recruitment eﬀorts for the Race GED helpline will be given information campaign. As of October 6, according to
to GED. Tens of thousands of poten- about, and encouraged to contact, their Tucker, 74,374 checks bearing the mes-
tial students are now receiving a message local programs for more information. sage have been mailed. The VALRC has
encouraging them to earn their GEDs. Woody Tucker, Chief of Beneﬁts hired an extra student worker and con-
With the help of Dee Esser, Director of for the VEC, stated that twenty-six to tracted with a call center to help George
the VEC, the Oﬃce of Adult Education twenty-eight thousand checks are issued Bailey and Jason Guard handle the ex-
and Literacy has arranged for all unem- weekly. He went on to explain that ap- pected inﬂux of calls. We will be doing
ployment checks printed in the coming proximately ﬁve thousand new check re- our best to track the response generated
months to include the message, “Pass the cipients are added to the rolls each week, from the checks and will let you know
GED test and qualify for higher paying while about the same number are taken what the numbers look like in an up-
jobs. Call toll free 877-37-MY-GED or oﬀ due to individuals obtaining employ- coming issue of Progress. .:
email firstname.lastname@example.org.” The message ap- ment or having their beneﬁts terminated
pears just above the perforation where for other reasons. Consequently, we will
The New Kids on the Block
he Resource Center would Lauren Ellington joins us as Online
like to welcome two new staﬀ Training Specialist. Lauren has spent
members. Debbie Bergtholdt the last six years as a teacher in Colo-
joined us in August as a Program Devel- nial Heights Public Schools. She has
opment Specialist. Debbie designs and master’s degrees in both teaching and
implements training for teachers and adult education with a specialization in
program managers based on their needs distance learning. Her primary focus at
and the ever changing priorities of our the Resource Center will be online pro-
business. She also monitors several list- fessional development. In that capac-
servs in an eﬀort to keep the ﬁeld up to ity, she will oversee our current online
Join us in welcoming Debbie and Lauren date on issues relating to adult educa- courses and will contribute to the de-
to the Resource Center. Debbie is our new
tion and literacy. You may reach Deb- velopment of new courses. If you need
program development specialist, and
Lauren joins as online training specialist. bie at: email@example.com. to contact Lauren, please send her an
email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. .:
14 Fall 2004 .:PROGRESS
Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn:
A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching All Adults
Author: RAYMOND WLODKOWSKI / Review by DONALD FINN
otivating learners to par- Citing research, Wlodkowski estab- Wlodkowski later introduces 60
ticipate in educational ac- lishes the link between motivation and speciﬁc motivational strategies that in-
tivities is an issue faced by the application of skills and principles structors can integrate into their settings
instructors in all educational settings learned in the classroom. The idea of to help motivate their adult learners.
including those who instruct adults. relevance of learning is reinforced often Each strategy is presented in detail us-
Whether they teach in a GED, with examples and scenarios from vari- ing helpful examples and scenarios. The
ESOL, or workplace classroom, in- ous instructional settings. The author ﬁrst 30 strategies are designed to create
structors are often challenged to keep also discusses the unique characteristics an inclusive environment for all learners
their learners “on task and enthusi- of adult learners, including emotional and an attitude toward the learning tasks
astic.” In the second edition of En- and psychological considerations and or units that is positive and anticipates
hancing Adult Motivation to Learn: the multiplicity of demands that adults success. Strategies 31 through 47 help
A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching confront daily. Throughout the book, the learner to develop meaning while
All Adults, Raymond Wlodkowski Wlodkowski reinforces the positive rela- engaged in learning activities with the
approaches the issue of motivating tionship between motivated adult learn- purposes of maintaining their attention,
adult learners from a 360-degree per- ers and their achievement in the instruc- evoking the interest of the learner, and
spective that includes looking at the tional environment. engaging and challenging the learner.
roles of both adult learners and their In chapter two, Wlodkowski ex- Strategies 48 through 60 concentrate
instructors. According to the dust plores the characteristics of instructors on concluding lessons to help engender
jacket, “This valuable resource is for who successfully motivate adults to learn competence using assessment and com-
teachers, trainers, and anyone who and take ownership of their learning. He munication techniques.
wants learning to be a motivating ex- asserts that adult learners act as “consum- The ﬁnal chapter provides the reader
perience for all adults.” Wlodkowski ers” of education who enter into learning with ideas for the successful integration
relies on an easy-to-follow writing settings with “personally relevant goals.” of the motivational strategies into the
style and presents the principles of According to Wlodkowski, successful learning setting. The author arranges the
adult education, instructional clarity, adult instructors are those who possess strategies in an easy-to-follow table, and
and motivation in an uncomplicated a number of characteristics. One of the he presents the reader with four speciﬁc
manner that clearly illustrates how key characteristics is empathy toward examples for applying the motivational
these elements are transferable to a learners and their educational purposes framework in the instructional planning
variety of adult education settings. and goals. The concept of empathy to- process. Through these examples, Wlod-
My ﬁrst exposure to Wlodkowski’s ward adult learners is developed through kowski demonstrates how instructors can
book came as I was conducting research a discussion inspired by the writings of choose appropriate motivational strate-
for a curriculum design course in my Carl Rogers and Daniel Goleman. Em- gies in the lesson building process that
doctoral program. Speciﬁcally, I was pathy is presented in three parts: develop competence in the learner and to
researching materials about the charac- 1. Having a realistic understanding meet the objectives of each lesson.
teristics of eﬀective adult education in- of the learners’ goals, perspectives, Once you read Enhancing Adult Mo-
structors. I found Wlodkowski’s ideas and expectations for what is being tivation to Learn, I think you will agree
so useful that I later integrated many learned that this book should be required reading
of his concepts into instructional op- 2. Adapting instruction to the learn- for anyone who teaches adults, regardless
portunities I designed for the Resource ers’ levels of experience and skill of the setting. .:
Center, and I made it a required text for development
the online, graduate-level introduction 3. A continuous consideration of the Donald Finn, Jr., is the Higher Education
to adult learners course that I developed learners’ perspectives and feelings Disability Training Coordinator for Pro-
and taught. Instructors who are empathetic to- fessional Development Academy (PDA), a
The book begins with a discussion of ward their adult learners help their learn- project of the Rehabilitation Research and
motivation and the impact that motiva- ers to develop persistence and a love for Training Center on Workplace Supports at
tion has on instructional eﬀectiveness. learning. Virginia Commonwealth University.
PROGRESS:. Volume 17, No. 1 15
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center
1015 West Main Street
PO Box 842020
Richmond, VA 23284-2020
How One NOVA Company is Supporting Literacy by AL RAMSEY, PHD
n Fauquier County, a man brought Warrenton, VA, and many of its students bridges for individuals and companies
his family 9,000 miles from South- participate in the organization’s ESL pro- looking to contribute to community ser-
east Asia to provide a higher quality grams. Vaughne teaches two ESL classes vice at the grass roots level, and there is
of life for his family; a couple from East- per week, with students from countries always room for more volunteers to join
ern Europe ﬂew 4,000 miles to ﬁnd a safe as diverse as Mexico, Honduras, Colom- such organizations.
haven for political freedom; and a woman bia, Vietnam, and Russia. Vaughne has There exists a great need in many
traveled 5,000 miles from South Ameri- helped many of her students make signif- Virginia communities for resources that
ca to ﬁnd the opportunity to pursue her icant progress with their literacy goals. help immigrants get acclimated to the
dreams. There are many immigrants in Because LVFC is a nonproﬁt orga- U.S. The goal of LVFC is to improve the
the U.S. who have journeyed long dis- nization, it relies on volunteers to make basic communication for people in Fau-
tances in their pursuit of happiness, but its programs work. What has helped quier County, and many ESL students
physical relocation is only the beginning enable Vaughne to volunteer her time is are making measurable strides toward
of their journeys. Overcoming the gaps her company’s community service pro- their goals for literacy. Volunteers are
in culture, customs, and language will be gram. She is a project manager at Vecna stepping forward to help these students
the next daunting challenge they face, Technologies, Inc. Vecna encourages its reach their goals, and organizations are
and often these gaps are overwhelming. employees to spend approximately 10% making it possible for volunteers to come
Individuals such as Vaughne Donnelly of their paid time volunteering in com- forward and make a diﬀerence. .:
recognize this problem and are stepping munity service activities. “Enthusiasm
forward to do something about it. drives employee commitment beyond Al Ramsey, PhD., works as a software
Vaughne is a volunteer tutor with the work projects to substantial involvement engineer for Vecna Technologies, Inc.,
Literacy Volunteers of Fauquier County in community service,” says Deborah in their Falls Church, VA, oﬃce. He is
(LVFC), a nonproﬁt organization that Theobald, CEO of Vecna. There are also also one of the community service coor-
provides literacy resources to adults in organizations such as Greater DC Cares dinators for Vecna and can be reached at
the local community. LVFC is based in and NetworkForGood.com that serve as email@example.com.