[This is written with the assumption the person completing the log is taking a graduate course. However, it can be adapted as an individualized, self-directed learning activity by finding a mentor or colleague to provide feedback.]

I. Preparation

  1. The assumption serving as a basis for this assignment is that each person taking an adult education course will need to "learn to think" adult education in terminology, in understanding, and in making application to one's current or proposed vocation. In other words, the instructor (1) is attempting to "socialize" or convert and (2) accepts responsibility for providing learnings over a content area representative of the catalogue description for the particular course.

  2. On your own, discover what is meant by "theory," at least in terms that are meaningful to you.

II. Activity and Presentation

  1. Throughout the course, including your work outside of class and the information presented in class, make notes to yourself regarding what you perceive to be theoretical concepts, salient points, truths, bridges to known theory, ideas to be tested, gaps in the knowledge, etc. The instructor will attempt to point out probable theory "pieces" throughout the course.

  2. During and/or toward the end of the course attempt to organize your notes and thoughts into some cohesive format. This can be in the form of a log, a statement, an outline, or whatever else is appropriate for you in expressing the grasp you have of the theory (or theory pieces) providing a foundation for the course content, including the absence of theory, needed theory, gaps, etc. This does not have to be a long statement unless you desire it to be. The purpose is to communicate some of your conceptions regarding adult education theory.

III. Educational Goals for the Activity

  1. That you gain experience in analyzing/deriving the theory underlying a content area, i.e., the body of basic knowledge.

  2. That you gain experience in stating the theory, in making contributions to the theory, and in determining where an understanding or determination of theory is still needed.

IV. Miscellaneous

  1. This is not intended as an assignment to please the instructor but one that is hopefully designed for your own growth and understanding. Therefore, don't make the assignment a burden; it is intended to be a facilitating activity in terms of the promotion of learning.

  2. A pass/incomplete grade will be given in terms of the course requirements.

The following statements about theory may be helpful

1. Theory--a generalization or series of generalizations by which an attempt is made to explain some phenomenon in as systematic a manner as possible.

2. Theory--set of assumptions from which can be derived a set of empirical laws or principles (that can be tested).

3. Theory can be used as a guide to action, a guide to collect data, a guide to new knowledge, or a guide to explain.

4. Theory is not a philosophy, a taxonomy, a dream, or something personal. You don't prove a theory--you build a theory by empirically testing a variety of related assumptions (expand, clarify, build).

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