Girl Scouts and Adult Learning

Scouting is wonderful activity for children, and the adults that take upon themselves the responsibility of leading a group of Girl Scouts should

Girl Scouts are a great place for adults to help

Girl Scouts are a great place for adults to help

get a lot of credit. But how do these adult volunteers become involved in Scouting for girls? It is not that hard. Without the benefit of school furniture of any kind, adults can go to the Girls Scouts website and follow the link to the page entitled “Adult Learning Opportunities.” Once there they will encounter several online sessions available for watching:

Girl Scouting 101: This is a one hour online session presents by the Girl Scouts of the USA which describes the main characteristics of Girls Scouting today. The description includes, “the Promise and Law, Girl Scout Mission and history, an introduction to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and the Journeys program.”

Volunteering for Girl Scout Series and Events: This is a condensed version of Girl Scouting 101. In just 30 minutes adults will discover the essence of Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout Daisy Self-Study: this is a course for leaders of kindergarten and first grade girls.
Adults who would like to volunteer for a worthy cause can get involved in the adult education programs to become leaders in the Girls Scout of the USA movement.

USA Learns: Adults Leaning On-Line

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning

According to, Americans are acculturated to be “lifelong learners.” Americans are constantly improving their skills with ongoing educational opportunities, even if it means getting back behind school desks. The message drawn from this on-line educational site is that even new immigrants to the USA should begin to understand the importance of continuing education.

The web-site offers free programming designed to improve students’ English skills, including reading, writing, speaking and other life skills. The website also offers information to help guide users to educational programming for adults in their particular geographic area. The website also offers a list of literacy programs available from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education.

In addition the office supplies a publication called “Teaching Adults to Read,” which can be helpful to educators dealing with the adult community.

The California Distance Learning Project

CDLP helps

CDLP helps

The California Distance Learning Project, CDLP, is a web-based project designed to get adults better educated so that they can compete better in the work force. This creative and ingenious program has no need for classroom furniture, as it is entirely based on continuing education over the internet.

Prospective students can choose from a large array of subjects which they would like to learn more about, including Law and Government, Family, Money, and many others. The student picks the subject that interests him, and is brought to a page with a list of many articles; some of the articles also include videos. After reading a shortened version of a story the student then continues onto the original version. After reading this more complex version, the student continues to the next page, where he is guided to learn new words from the story.

Then there is a matching game with the difficult vocabulary words from the story, where the student has to match the words with their meaning. Next is a set of questions which test for the students’ comprehension level. Finally the student is asked to write an answer to a complex question based on the student’s understanding of the article.

It is clear that if a student goes through many of the articles, there understanding of English will rise substantially.

UCLA Adult Learning Opportunities

adult learning 7UCLA is “deeply committed to the advancement and enrichment of Los Angeles and the Southern California region.” The programs it offers work to “help individuals grow” in a variety of areas, such as changing careers, skill development or even starting to explore a new interest.  This program has the same philosophy as its institute – UCLA – “Never stop learning.” Whether adult students are sitting at banquet tables, individual tables or in lecture halls, they learn a great deal through these programs.

Called the UCLA Extension, this continuing education program is one of America’s most expansive of its kind.  It is customized to the needs of those who are already in the workforce and/or who want to continue their education, offering classes during the day, evening, weekend and even online.  The UCLA Writing Project is one example of this.  It works with teachers Kindergarten through University of all disciplines on writing teaching since 1977.

The UCLA California Reading and Literature Project was designed to offer programs to teach instruction in English Language Arts for all students, concentrating on English Learners and developing readers through top quality professional development.  Taking a different route there is the UCLA Mathematics Project which is one element of a statewide program that seeks to positively impact math teachers and their students while improving the skill sets of K-12 math teachers.

Andragogy: The Principles of Malcolm Knowles

andragogyMalcolm Knowles, an American practitioner and theorist of adult education, developed a new theory and approach to adult learning, or andragogy, in the 1970s. His approaches are “problem-based and collaborative rather than didactic”and emphasize “more equality between the teacher and learner.”

Knowles defined andragogy as “”the art and science of helping adults learn.”

His learning principles include the following concepts:

  • Adults are internally motivated and self-directed
  • Adults bring life experiences and knowledge to learning experiences
  • Adults are goal oriented
  • Adults are relevancy oriented
  • Adults are practical
  • Adult learners like to be respected

TED Talks for Adult Education

adult learning 6If you haven’t ever heard a TED talk, you are missing out and it’s time to join in the fun. As an adult learner, this is a location where you can learn about almost any subject from a dynamic, highly qualified speaker.

TED ( is a nonprofit that started in 1984 and that is devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. They are called TED because they started out by bringing together people from three specific areas – Technology, Entertainment and Design. They have two annual conferences that are called the TED Conference and TEDGlobal and they have award-winning Ted Talks video locations a TED Fellows program and more.

The idea is that each person who gives a TED talk is given 18 minutes or less and is challenged to give “the talk of their lives.” These talks enhance the learner’s understanding of a subject matter and are also incredibly inspiring. Many of the TED talks can be found on itunes ( and can be heard and enjoyed completely for free.

Among other things, one of the beauties of the TED talks is that they are short. Pull up some folding tables and listen for a few minutes on school chairs. You can commit to listening to one TED talk a day as an adult learner and to enhancing your understanding of all sorts of topics in this brief amount of time. TED is definitely worth a visit.

It’s Never Too Late to Learn

2827216705_27b1f63e3b_oEven if one did not manage to complete high school – for whatever reason – adult learning classes are becoming increasingly accessible.  No matter how “old” one is, they are never too old to get an education.  From practical, vocational studies to the more academic ones, institutions around the world are offering adult learning opportunities, irrespective of age, skill, background, etc.

Often such programs take place in what is known as an “extension” school or a “school of continuing education.”  One advantage adult students have over their childhood counterparts is their life experience.  Bringing this into the classroom gives the environment a whole added dimension. Plus, given that – at least in most cases – adults are choosing to be educated (rather than being forced as is the case with children), they are often more open to sucking up knowledge from the classroom.  Or, they are extremely excited to be able to pick up a new skill in the classroom that can help them in the workforce.

At the end of the day, one can never be too old to learn.  Indeed, according to The Daily Mail in July of 2008, war veteran Colonel Michael Cobb, of Plymtree, Devon, was said to have been the oldest person (to date) to get a PhD by creating an atlas which records and maps the railway stations built in Britain between 1807 and 1994.