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Resource Guide for New Instructors

This resource provides guidance for instructors who are new to adult education in Virginia and may also be useful for returning instructors. The resources provided here connect instructors to the field of adult education and provide information on quality instruction for the adult education context. 

To get a full background of adult education in Virginia, please see the self-paced tutorial, Adult Education in Virginia.

For a list of some of the terms and acronyms you may encounter as an adult educator, see the Adult Education Glossary and Acronym List.

Connecting with VALRC

VALRC Listserv: For free professional development opportunities and Virginia adult education news, scroll to the bottom of this page and add your email under “Connect with Us.”

Who we are: For more than thirty years, the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center (VALRC) has provided adult education and literacy resources, publications, and training for adult education practitioners in Virginia. The VALRC strengthens Virginia’s adult education and literacy system through professional development, resources, and collaborative projects. We provide face-to-face and online trainings for Virginia adult education teachers and program staff; manage the GED® Virginia website and GED® Helpline; and support the development and expansion of the career pathways programs for adults.

These publications are produced by VALRC with the goal of providing easy-to-access professional development opportunities as well as building connections across the field of adult education in Virginia.

  • Voices from the Field: A collection of podcasts connecting you with voices from the field of adult education and literacy. Here, you can explore topics that are relevant to adult education in Virginia.  
  • PROGRESS: Virginia’s adult education and literacy news journal. Articles provide program managers, instructors, staff, practitioners, and the public-at-large with strong evidence-based articles that can help improve practice and promote transformation.
  • SPOTLIGHT: An annual online publication that seeks to shine a light on adult education learners, their experiences, and their learning through the creative process. SPOTLIGHT features writing by Virginia adult learners.
  • Stories from the Field: A collection of news and events from adult education programs, spotlights on program initiatives, student success stories, and even discussions of challenges facing our field.

Facilitated online courses and self-paced tutorials are offered through the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) Professional Development Opportunities

Create a Canvas Account: You will need a VALRC Canvas account to access these training sessions. If you do not already have one, please use Canvas Account submission form to request one.

Professional Opportunities: VALRC offers professional development (PD) opportunities for adult educators and staff in a variety of offerings to best serve your needs.

If you enjoy learning in a more structured environment, our facilitated online courses and webinar series provide you with experts from the field to guide your learning journey. For those of you who enjoy interacting with your peers, our virtual professional learning communities (PLCs) and online open discussions allow you to learn in and among other adult educators from across the state. We even have self-paced online tutorials where you can work at your own pace with what works best for your schedule.

VALRC Events: Calendar listing of upcoming training opportunities.

LINCS Partnership Events: LINCS offers an open-access, web-based learning platform that also provides over 20 self-paced online courses for adult educators and practitioners.

These are some of the significant government agencies, professional organizations, and partnerships that support the work of adult education.  

VDOE: The Virginia Department of Education supports adult education and literacy primarily by funding and supporting programs at the local level. VDOE staff oversee grant awards and financial and outcome reporting for funded programs, which include 22 regional programs across the state as well as English literacy and civics education programs in areas with large populations of English language learners.

VAACE: The Virginia Association of Adult and Continuing Educators is a professional association representing Virginia’s adult educators. Its mission focuses on “working to improve the practice of adult education, enhance the status of our profession, and advocate for lifelong learning and the adult learner.”

LINCS: The Literacy Information and Communication System is a leadership initiative of the U.S. Department of Education to expand evidence-based practice in the field of adult education. It offers free professional development with experts and fellow practitioners from across the country, including discussion groupscourses, webinars and special events, and a resource bank.

COABE: The Commission on Adult Basic Education is a professional organization that works to advance national and international adult education and literacy opportunities for all persons. Conferences, a professional journal, and webinars are among the resources they offer to teachers of adults, aiming “to inspire educators so adults succeed and communities thrive.”

ProLiteracy is a national literacy organization specifically focused on providing professional development and training, instructional materials, grants and funding, research, and advocacy in the area of adult literacy.

Virginia Career Works aims to advance economic stability and growth by preparing and connecting people who want to work with employers who need to hire through its training providers and network of professional partners. Eight agencies collaborate to address Virginia’s workforce needs; adult education plays a vital part in the workforce development system.

To learn more about VALRC and VALRC staff, please see our About Us section of the website.

Key Instructional Resources for All Instructors

The following resources apply across all skill levels and content areas; they can be used to learn more about providing quality instruction in the adult education context.

Standards-based Instruction: Virginia’s state-adopted instructional standards for adult education are the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRS), supported by the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education (ELPS). This page provides links to help educators understand and use the CCRS; the ELPS; and the CCR Observation Tools, which provide concrete examples of what the CCRS and ELPS look like in daily planning and practice.

Inclusive Virginia: This website provides adult education program leadership, staff, and instructors with information, instructional strategies, resources, and accommodations for providing access to effective adult education for all learners seeking adult education opportunities. Featured content includes: {Dis}abilities, Universal Design for Learning, and Trauma-Informed Practices

Culturally Responsive Education for Adult Educators: This one-hour, self-paced tutorial is designed to provide a brief overview of the importance of culturally responsive education in adult education. Lesson topics include defining culturally responsive education, unpacking implicit bias, understanding how the brain uses culture, and utilizing culturally responsive education in the classroom.

Teaching the Skills that Matter (TSTM) Toolkit: TSTM integrates workforce readiness skills, college and career readiness standards, engaging instructional approaches, and content areas that are relevant to adult learners: civics education, digital literacy, financial literacy, health literacy, and workforce preparation. The free online toolkit includes more than 20 classroom-ready exemplar lessons (most targeted at intermediate learners but adaptable to other levels) as well as planning tools, annotated resource lists, informative research briefs, and classroom videos.

Distance Education: These resources provide guidance to support programs and instructors in implementing Distance Education.

Effective Lesson Planning: This resource from LINCS presents an effective lesson planning process and model for adult education practitioners.

Featured Resources by Topic

The following topic-specific resource pages can be used to learn more about these important areas of adult education instruction.