"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Friday, June 27, 2014

Parking Lot or Busy Intersection?

I enjoyed the reading from Reder this week. The piece that stood out the most to me dealt with the "Parking Lot Model", from Lender. Lender suggested that the existing program/model only looks at how long students are "parked in the program"... Lender wants to move towards a model that is more similar to a "busy intersection" and looks more at which direction people take when they leave instead of how long they spend parked. 

The "busy intersection" model is something I'd push to move towards as well. I've borrowed a few words here from the internet, but felt it was important to add in the opinions of others. Looking at a busy intersection, you see a very diverse pool of students. Some move faster than others, some need help to get through. For some, this help is in the form of technology, for others, it's from a teacher or peer. From the intersection, there are many exits. Most exits lead to new opportunities, careers, etc. However, one exit is simply the end. I'd like to think of us practitioners as crossing guards or traffic directors. We have the power to help these students in the intersection choose which exit to take. As Reder stated, "When we look further into the actual learning facility behind this metaphor, we see that students come to the program from different directions and depart towards different destinations. The adult education program helps them choose the best path as they leave the program and provides them with the resources and supports to become persistent lifelong learners and reach their destinations." 

What a simple metaphor for such a complex issue.


  1. I like this metaphor too. For one it shakes us out of experiencing time as 60 hour or 90 hour alarm clocks for TABE testing and instead opens us to time as a life span or life course. When we create false urgency it serves no one and fragments the curriculum into silly experiences that can show results fast. OK that may be fine if that's what you're looking for and can learn quickly. But what if your aims are broader or more ambitious? When did we become so stingy with time? What's the rush? :)

  2. In READ 602 we had four weeks to complete the Assessment Protocols with our learners in order to meet our deadlines for the course. Initially I felt overwhelmed trying to figure out "when" I was going to have the time to meet this requirement let alone administer the reading components assessment exercise (as a novice). Fortunately, I recognized early on what my role was in that project and made sure my learner understood my limitations in meeting their need. Having that shared awareness took the pressure off because I was able to stay focused on my task and not get caught up in the larger issues. Ironically, being aware of those larger issues helped keep me grounded in my area of focus. It seems the issues addressed in Jason’s blog about the complexity of needs of the adult learner can be more effectively met when the need(s) is/are broken apart and assessed accurately early on with the understanding between the educator and learner that the process of meeting those needs will be met in time - step by step. As Bill stated, “When did we become so stingy with time? What is the rush?” That sense of urgency is misplaced in the world of adult literacy learning programs that are tackling much larger learning issues. These issued developed over time, why is there an expectation of speed in solving them?


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.