Book by: George Lakey
Review by: Rebecca Rowlison
Graduate Research Assistant, NACADA
Kansas State University

Designing activities that engage adult learners and also apply to their daily lives can be a daunting task. In Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Diverse Adult Learners, George Lakey builds a bridge combining his own experiences with practical theories, while encouraging readers to apply their own experiences when working with adult learners in the classroom. Lakey lists many different topics that can work to enhance an advisor’s toolbox when working with adult learners.

Lakey does a great job of explaining the dynamic of groups and how groups form and develop. As the leader of the group, it is important to gain control, but also balance the control to the nature of the group. Lakey illustrates this point often by using stories to connect with participants in his groups. In the chapter “The Power of Framing”, he explains that by asking students to reflect on others’ stories, it can help build connections within the group and increase participation.

Diversity is also a topic Lakey discusses in his book, directly discussing how many students may feel hostile towards one another due to lack of understanding of cultural norms, and the importance of developing a sense of safety within the group. This is important to explore and help students develop as society is more multicultural now than ever before. It is important for students to not only accept other cultures, but to understand and appreciate differences among one another.

Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Diverse Adult Learners does not just appeal to academic advisors, but also to those who work with high school students, struggling college students, community college environments, nontraditional students, and those who work with supporting communities. Overall, Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Diverse Adult Learners is a great addition to any professional’s library. Lakey encourages self-development and growth not only from the students he works with but from the readers of his book. Engaging and empowering, this book will leave the reader developing their own stories and sharing experiences with their students. This book provides many resources on how to build conversations with students, and connect with them on a more personal level. I highly recommend this book to any professional wanting to expand their knowledge on adult learners.  

Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Diverse Adult Learners (2010). Book by George Lakey. Review by Rebecca Rowlison. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. 304 pp., $42.00 (Hardback). ISBN 978-0-470-76863-1

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