I received an email yesterday from somebody asking if I knew if and where any of the speeches or presentations from the recent Adult Education Research Conference (AERC2009) were available online. Alas, except for the presentations and sessions I attended and liveblogged, I do not know if and where any of them (including the proceedings) are available. This is one of hte many reasons I liveblog—why fence the learning in and keep it only within the group?
There were so many good ideas, so many calls for adult educators to both look back to remember our roots as well as look forward to redefine our work and differentiate ourselves. Alas, speaking to the troops is always easier than speaking to others, yet I have to wonder if these calls for self-reflection will lead to anything. Will we just speak to ourselves and bemoan the formal decline in the profession, or will we do something, anything, about it?
I do not want to be too harsh, yet it remains that as a specific field within education, adult education is in decline to the sexier fields of educational administration, human resource development, organizational studies, communication studies, and cultural studies.
Perhaps it is time for me to also redefine my work? Funny to think about that, as I have never stopped redesigning myself (cf. the Madonna effect), always seeing how my work and contributions develop (not quite change) depending on need and my own interests. The more I learn, the more I think I can offer.
Perhaps adult education as a field should do the same?