Dear Listers,

I'm new to the list, but this topic could not have popped up for
discussion at a better time.  This week, I'm going to give a talk at
our local Kiwanas club about the difference between developmental
education and remedial programs.

After teaching at a community college where the developmental courses
were taught in the departments and the remedial programs were offered
through continuing education, I came recently to this job, where I'm
in charge of placement processes and all of the developmental programs
(writing, reading, and math).  The distinction between the two kinds
of programs seems crucial.  Remedial learning is retraining --
retrofitting, as it were, to some implied standard (a standard that is
highly political).  Developmental learning focuses on the learning.
These programs should account for the fact that people learn in
different ways and at different paces.  More to the point, these
programs show learners how to apply skills to increasingly complex
situations rather than how to achieve some discrete outcome.
Developmental learning is transformative and liberating.

So if I were to boil it down, and I think I should or you'll all hit
the delete button as soon as you see my name on a future message,
universities and colleges need to realize that all of higher education
is at its core developmental.  Students come to us with the
intention to change, but they come with differing skills, styles, and
preferences.  Our job is to develop in those students the potential to
think and act in accordance with our institutions' stated missions.
Some students just start the journey at a different place.

Dr. Marguerite Jamieson, Director
Learning Support Services
SUNY College at Oneonta
Oneonta, NY  13820

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