A Case Study of a College Program for Urban Paraeducators Based on Adult Learning Theory

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A Case Study of a College Program for Urban Paraeducators Based on Adult Learning Theory

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Title: A Case Study of a College Program for Urban Paraeducators Based on Adult Learning Theory
Author: Kaur, Satwant
Abstract: This case study involved an intensive exploration of a single unit, a college program for urban participants designed to increase their professional knowledge and skills and academics. The study explored whether urban participants perceived change in their professional knowledge and skills, change in their roles, as well as progressed academically during the course of the program. The study examined how components of adult learning theory were implemented in the program. Urban participants share important characteristics with other urban non-traditional students, in that they have multiple roles, inadequate academic skills, economic difficulties and life circumstances that pose challenges to access to and success in college education. Another focus of the study was on development of professional roles of the participants. The study utilized existing data from multiple sources including surveys, focus group interviews, academic records, course materials as well as participants' assignments. This is a mixed method study. The results are discussed in relation to adult learning theory principles based on the works of key adult education scholars. The participants perceived a change in their academic as well as professional knowledge and skills over the duration of the program. The results demonstrate the program's utilization of best practices and adult learning principles of connecting learning content and application in real life, experiential learning, providing support to adults, and making adults feel comfortable in the learning environment. The participants reported a significant change in their roles and responsibilities as paraeducators. The findings describe a unique college training program and how urban participants progressed academically as well as developed professional knowledge and skills. Program specific strategies used for professionals in the field of special education as well as others interested in training urban adult students are presented. The study contributes to the field of adult learning theory by highlighting program processes that incorporated adult learners' experiences. The study illustrates how participants' roles changed during the course of the ParaMet program, thereby contributing to our understanding of successful strategies which could be incorporated in the future. Implications for the design and development of courses and methods suitable for adult urban learners for delivery of course contents are discussed.
Description: Degree awarded: Ph.D. Education. The Catholic University of AmericaThis dissertation can be viewed by CUA users only.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1961/11504
Date: 2012-09-11

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