Becoming Adult Educators in the Baltic-Sea Region


Becoming Adult Educators in the Baltic-Sea Region

There are an increased need to qualify adult educators in order to increase efficiency and quality in adult education. The study “Becoming Adult Educators in the “Baltic-Sea Region” looks into the role that the qualification of adult educators plays in policy, learning opportunities for those interested in qualifying as adult educators as well as adult educator’s status as professionals.

Marcella Milana presented the results from the study “Becoming Adult Educators in the Baltic-Sea Region” at the Professionalization of Adult Educators Conference in the spring 2010. The study’s main interest was to examine which social and cultural factors influence the formation of professional qualifications among prospective adult educators in the field of general adult education, vocationally oriented adult education and liberal education. How do adult education policies affect professionalization processes in the field of general adult education, vocationally oriented adult education and liberal education?

The study concluded, that adult educators are absent within the policy discourse of adult education and training. It is unclear how governments expect adult educators to prepare for their chosen profession, prior to entering their vocational field.

Adult educators stand on the edge of a profession. Full recognition of an adult educator as a worker holding a body of core (professional) knowledge, enacting a collective orientation and possessing a certain degree of autonomy eventually come through a lifelong and life wide learning process of planning and managing one’s own personal and professional development.

Adult educators are self-taught professionals. The lack of attention at system (governmental) level to sustain profesionalisation processes are generally compensated at the individual level, by learning that occur on-the-job and in in-service education and training; hence personal backgrounds, day-to-day work experience and individual motivation towards improving the self, still constitute the primary resources to professionalise as adult educators.

A comparative study in the Nordic-Baltic Region

This study is a comparative study of the qualification of adult educators in the Nordic-Baltic region. The study involved Denmark, Estonia and Sweden. The study was based on research, reports and articles and official descriptions of national education systems and policy papers.

What does it mean to be a professional adult educator?

In the discussion that followed the presentation. The participants addressed several issues. We need to know if there are certain qualities, that differs for the adult educator.We really have a lack of evidence-based knowledge about what works in adult education. If we had the same ratio within the medical profession, we would all be in great danger.

Mainly two factors are important when we talk about a professional adult educator: Accountability and that you are in the end of food chain. Doctors train doctors and if adult educators should to be trained, it must be by other adult educators. Also the matter of who you are accountable to is of importance. Is it policymakers, providers, or learners?

Adult educators should to be a real profession, because otherwise you become victimized. The content is not what unites the adult educatutors. As adult educators, we must have our own discipline and degree, but not in content. The content level is of no concern. The problem is that adult educators are not pedagogically qualified and many are part-time employees. There should be a sort of certificate as in other branches. 


Marcella Milana, Aarhus University
Anne Larson, Aarhus University
Susanne Köpsén, Linköping University
Marin Gross, Tallinn University