Adults who do it all: Balancing work, family and schooling


Abstract: The article "Adults who do it all: Balancing work, family and schooling" discusses the motivation factors of adult students, and some of the barriers encountered by them while striving to achieve their educational goals. The article also provides recommendations for students and educators to enable a more comfortable and productive environment for adult students.

In the article, Kaplan and Saltiel (1997) discuss factors that motivate adult students, and unique problems encountered by adult students. The authors provide a list of recommended strategies for both, adult students and educators to provide a better learning environment.

According to the authors, adult students return to school because of many factors. These factors can be categorized as family, work or personal motivations.

Family oriented motivation is usually the result of changes in family structure or situation. Examples of this include death of a spouse, divorce, remarriage or unemployment.

Work related motivation is often the result of changes in the work environment such as the application of new technologies, or downsizing. The increased popularity of credentials and certifications are a motivating factor too. Credentials and certification are often seen as valuable employee assets.

Personal motivations are based on the individual's assessment of his or her needs, and abilities. In this case, the individual must see education as a vehicle to achieve self- fulfillment and must believe that success can be achieved.

Another key issue presented in the article addresses barriers or problems encountered by adult students during their education. Some of these obstacles are often the result of time management issues like time demands from work and family, and lack of support.

Here are disciplines recommended by the authors for successful learning and continued striving toward desired education goals.

a. Keep your focus on goals. This will reinforce the fact that the goal can be achieved.

b. Pace yourself by scheduling time while considering your personal rhythm.

c. Maintain diverse, balanced schedules that include exercise, travel, vacations meditation or other activities that support your emotional and physical health.

d. Every time you complete an assignment or project, celebrate your achievement - reward yourself. Maintain a positive attitude.

e. Rearrange your responsibilities in preparation for your education demands realizing that you will need assistance from others. Make sure a friend or family member is around just in case you need someone to talk to.

The authors also provide recommendations to educators that will help facilitate and efficient and pleasant learning environment for adult students. One recommendation is to show students how they can achieve their goals. This can be accomplished by defining structured programs and clear achievement goals. Affirming students as they achieve these goals is also important because it will help students celebrate their success. Other recommendations emphasize use of support systems for students such as study groups, and providing information about problems to be encountered and how to resolve them.

The article provided me a good insight of some of the problems I will encounter during the course of my adult education. It also showed me disciplines I should develop to maintain focus on and achieve my education goals.

Here are two questions about the article:

a. How has the University of Phoenix online program met or provided the support strategies outlined in this article?

b. Do you feel that the recommendations for students provided in the article meet your individual adult student needs?


Kaplan, P. L., Saltiel, I. M. (1997) Adults who do it all: Balancing work, family and schooling. Adult Learning, May-Aug97, Vol. 8 Issue 5/6, p17

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