Chapter 24: Family Life Education Methodology
Darling, C. A., & Cassidy, D. (with Powell, L.). (2014). Family life education: Working with families across the lifespan (3rd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
Contemporary family life educators operate within a wide range of settings and with increasingly varied populations and families. In the third edition of Family Life Education, Darling and Cassidy expertly expose readers to the diverse landscape of the field while laying a comprehensive, research-based, practical foundation for current or future family life educators. The authors broad overview of the field includes a brief history and discussion of family life education as an established profession. The authors incorporate theory, research, and practice, while also providing guidelines for planning, implementing, and evaluating family life education programs.
Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative learning: Theory to practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 74, 5–12. doi:10.1002/ace.7401
Mezirow's thoroughly discusses the theory of transformative learning — the foundation of adult learning. It is a useful resource for readers interested in learning more thoroughly the philosophy and principles of transformative learning. This is important to family scientists because adults are often the target population of programs they design. Chapter 7 — "Fostering Adult Learning" — outlines a process for developing a philosophy of adult education, a formative principle for family scientists involved in program design. The chapter outlines the characteristics of andragogy, cited by Mezirow the "professional perspective of adult educators" (p. 199). The discussion of the ethics involved in the pursuit of transformative education will also inform family scientists, helping them integrate the ethics of pursuing the transformation of their clients with the ethical guidelines of Certified Family Life Educators. Furthermore, Chapter 7 discusses important ethical issues, such as handling conflicting values between educator and learner, dealing with psychological problems, and educating for social action. All of these topics are important to the education and development of informed, professional family scientists.
Armstrong, T. (2009). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Written from the perspective of a classroom teacher, Armstrong's book thoroughly yet succinctly sets out the theory of multiple intelligences (MI). The format of the book does not include a chapter on each intelligence; instead, Armstrong summarizes the general definitions and characteristics of each separate intelligence and then devotes entire chapters to explaining and giving examples of the use of MI in different aspects of teaching. Of particular interest to family scientists would be the chapters on MI in curriculum development, MI and teaching strategies, MI in the classroom environment, and MI in assessment. Again, this book is written from the perspective of a classroom, and therefore readers would need to extrapolate key principles to specific audiences in family life education. The chapter on MI theory and curriculum development has extensive tables, graphs, and lists, giving explanations and examples of how to diversify the development of curriculum using each of the multiple intelligences. The tables, graphs, and lists provide and excellent quick resource for ideas.
Duncan, S. F., & Goddard, H. W. (2011). Family life education: Principles and practices for effective outreach (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
A practical, how-to guide to developing, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining effective family life education programs. Drawing on the best scholarship and their own years of professional experience, the authors of this thoroughly updated edition begin by discussing the foundations of family life education and encouraging readers to develop their own outreach philosophies. The book then helps readers learn principles and methods for reaching out to the public and how to form and use community collaborations and use principles of social marketing to promote programs.
Dahlberg, L., & McCaig, C. (2010). Practical research and evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
This textbook is used primarily as reading for research methods courses. But the perspective of the editors of this volume is to simultaneously address the fundamentals of research design with evaluation design. Two chapters—Chapter 2 and Chapter 3—have particular interest in terms of family studies methodologies. Chapter 2 is an introduction to research and evaluation basics, and Chapter 3 is a discussion of basic research and evaluation design. Readers interested in a deeper understanding of evaluation will benefit especially from these chapters. Also, Chapter 6 is a discussion of literature reviews. Although the authors of the chapter refer to the literature review as the foundation for the research endeavor, it can also be seen as the foundation for the needs assessment process that is fundamental to the design of an effective program. The authors' suggestions for writing an effective literature review that follow this chapter may assist program designers in the process of providing support that is often required to procure funding.
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