6 Int'l Soc. Work 1 (1963)

handle is hein.journals/intsocwk6 and id is 1 raw text is: 





            THE TRAINING OF ADULT EDUCATORS


Report of an  International Conference under the auspices  of the European  Ofice  of
Popular Education December   9-16, 1961  in Brussels, Belgium and Bergen, Netherlands

                                                                   . . . by R. Gerard


T 'aIS Conference on the professional preparation of
      Adult  Educators included about forty participants
 from  Germany,  Belgium,  Finland, France, Italy, Nor-
 way, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Sweden.   The
 majority represented organizations for Popular Educa-
 tion. Only  a few came  from schools of social work or
 associations of social workers.   One   of  the  latter
 represented The   International Federation  of  Social
 Workers.

   The  first two days of  the conference, at Brussels,
 wcre devoted  to general information on the European
 Community,   and  the  different economic  and  social
 questions under study there.  The  discussion was ex-
 tremely general, and as time was limited, exchanges of
 news among   participants were minimal.  Most  of the
 conference members   would  have  liked  more  precise
 information. This was  particularly true of the English
 delegates. In  the light of  England's possible entry
 into the Common   Market,  they would  have  liked an
 opportunity to discuss certain aspects which were new
 for them.

   One  statement, however, had  direct bearing on the
 subject. This was  Possibilities for Cooperation be-
 tween the European  Community   and the Organizations
 of Popular Education  by  M.  Moreau,  chief of  the
 division of The Young University Information - Popu-
 lar Education -- Common   Press Service.

   Following this introduction, a work period was con-
 ducted at Bergen, the Netherlands where  the quiet of
 the small town favored intensive work.

   One day was devoted to three excellent presentations:
one  by Miss  de Bock, manager   of the Social Studies
Institute of Ghent on  the importance  of professional
training for adult educators and the general analysis of
its nature; a second, by Professor Tenshave  from  the
Pedagogic Social Institute of Amsterdam University on
the theory and  methods  of  training adult educators:
and a  third, describing the experience in giving such
training at the University of  Manchester  under  the
direction of Mr. Legge.

  Three  discussion groups  considered the  following
subjects:


    a) The  general lines of a training program  for all
       adult educators regardless of the setting in which
       they will practice;

    2) The  cultural framework  of  a training program
       for adult educators;

    3) Differences in  training for adult educators re-
       quired by  differences in level and function;

   4)  Standards for admission for candidates for train-
       ing and  the specific methods in which they must
       be trained.

   Adult  education varies among different countries and
 has such  different aspects that one cannot establish a
 universal program  of equal value to all. Such  efforts
 as the  High  Popular  Schools, for example,  have no
 equivalents in Latin countries.  English programs   in
 the Universities are unique.  This influenced the dis-
 cussion which was kept  to a general level and focussed
 on the cultural content of the programs.

   Each  country has  its own  dominant  culture.      The
 influence of a special religious denomination which is
 important in the Netherlands, is less significant in Italy
 or Sweden.   Not  all countries have professional adult
 educators and  a  distinction between adult  education
 aimed  at imparting specific information, and the less
 systematic popular education aimed at increasing social
 status, is needed.

   The  representation in the conference of two differ-
 ent disciplines: adult education and social work, pro-
 duced very  interesting expressions of points of view
 on objectives and methods.  Social group work was the
 object of lively discussion. Here, too, the need  for
 social work (and  social group work)   to be  seen in
 their national context was  emphasized.    The  same
 words have different meanings for the several countries
 represented.

 There   was  agreement  on the  personal qualifiation'
 required for an adult educator: intelligence, maturity.
 curiosity, open-mindedness, seeking for better balance
 and greater understanding of the world of men.  Basic
 knowledge, on which  to build further, should include
psychology, pedagogy, and methods  of human  relations.

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