Book Review

The Adult Learner

by Robin J. Fogarty and Brian M. Pete, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2004, 101 pp., $19.95 softcover

Authors Robin Fogarty and Brian Pete provide a condensed version of research on adult learners in their book The Adult Learner: Some Things We Know. While some of what is determined by the authors to be unique may come as no surprise, other areas may prove insightful to readers, such as the immediate opportunity to apply what they have learned.

The book is divided into three sections: the adult learner, change blockers, and professional development. The first section focuses on what motivates adults to learn, how they learn best and what they value in learning.

In the second section, the authors identify those types of people who impede or derail change. Change here refers to initiatives that a school or district may be considering, such as curriculum mapping or block scheduling. Although successful examples of change are provided — including the introduction of a middle-school concept to an existing junior high — they are insufficient for school leaders to use to draw a comparison with their own institution.

The third section, devoted to professional development, bears the most review for the school executive. The Adult Learner draws on research to present the best practices for staff development, emphasizing sustained training that is interactive, builds a community of learners and keeps the eye on the prize — student achievement.

In The Adult Learner Fogarty and Pete have created a primer on the subject — not enough for realistic application, but a good basis for further reading in the field.

Reviewed by Marc Space, superintendent, Putnam Valley Central Schools, Putnam Valley, N.Y.