Fall 1990 // Volume 28 // Number 3 // Tools of the Trade // 3TOT5

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Effective Strategies for Teaching Adults


Richard J. McCallum
Assistant Professor
Extension Educaiton
University of Missouri-Columbia

Effective Strategies for Teaching Adults. Don F. Seaman and Robert A. Fellenz. Columbus, Ohio: Merrill Publishing Company, 1989. 189 pp. $25 (hardcover).

Which is more exciting, reading an adult education textbook or watching paint dry? When given the choice, many people would choose paint drying. Don't be fooled by the non-catchy title - Effective Strategies for Teaching Adults is an exciting exception. It presents many good ideas in a sensitive and down-to-earth manner. Both Seaman and Fellenz demonstrate a refreshingly practical perspective and support their ideas with content well-grounded in research.

This book is organized into six major chapters. Each provides an excellent discussion of factors and concepts surrounding the adult teaching/learning transaction. It's spiced with excellent case studies and given additional body by sections that discuss the strengths and limitations of important ideas.

The presentations and organization of the book are clear and extremely functional. The book reflects the wisdom accruing from years of practical experience. I found its essence centered around two major issues.

First, the authors discuss the relationship existing between the teacher and learner and their needs and preferences as they influence the learning transaction. The second major focus presents ways to promote active learner involvement. This type of action strategy is especially important to Extension professionals addressing major social issues.

Another strength of this book is the final section, which lists more than 150 timely and valuable reference publications - an excellent roadmap for additional investigation.

Who will enjoy this book? Anyone who teaches adults should find it both valuable and meaningful. If you're an Extension professional, looking for new approaches, I urge you to read this book. Let the paint dry unobserved, while you paint some new strategies for teaching your clientele.