Key Concepts in Adult Education and Training 2nd Edition

Author(s) Tight, Malcolm
Publisher London: Routledge
Published 2002
Pages 208
ISBN 0415275792
Reviewed by Trevor T. D. Welland
City University, London
Review published 1 December 2004

Along with other occupations, educational professionals of all types develop and become highly skilled in 'translation competence' as they move from being novice to expert. This term refers to the artful faculty to understand, use and apply language and concepts within an appropriate occupational context or culture. Of course, as we develop our senses of professional competence, we can take this skill for granted and can use our domain-specific jargon without thought for our, sometimes bewildered, audiences. This was demonstrated for me recently when I asked a group of postgraduate students (all of them educational professionals with at least two years of teaching or training experience) to explain what they understood by the term 'learning society' without drawing on other educational jargon. We were amused at our 'muteness' generated by the difficulties we encountered in attempting to achieve this task.

For those of us intimately involved in the education and development of educational professionals at all levels engaged in adult education and training, what tools or resources are available to us in enabling our students to develop their own senses of translation competence? An invaluable resource is offered by Malcolm Tight, in his second edition of 'Key Concepts in Adult Education and Training'.

This new edition presents sections and chapters that explore and provide extensive coverage of core educational terms with long biographies such as learning, curriculum, and work-related concepts, but also includes an outline of key structural and institutional issues. This edition includes a valuable international dimension and entices with promises of relatively new vocabularies, such as 'lifelong learning' and 'learning society'

Overall, this book is well-written and highly accessible to students and expert alike. It succeeds in clearly and effectively describing and mapping the linguistic and conceptual topography of the field. Of immense value for students, is that each section offers useful ideas for further reading and there is an impressive references section at the end of the book.

I now use this as a core reference text on an MSc in the Education, Training and Development of Adults, but it would also be useful for a range of degree or Cert. Ed. / PGCE FE/Post-Compulsory Education and Training courses, or modules in post-compulsory education and training that form part of broader programmes of study.

As frequent revisions to the 'Oxford Dictionary' demonstrate, language changes. Above all, this new edition exhibits a sensitivity to developments in the dynamic and evolving lexicon of adult education and training and expresses an awareness that this is not the last word.