Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Gladly Would They Learn, and Gladly Teach: Distance Learning for Adult Prospective Teachers

Dr Joan M Lescinski.

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous CANTERBURY TALES, he introduces to the reader a remarkable panorama of characters who share just one thing in common: they are on a pilgrimage together from London to the world-renowned tomb of the martyr St. Thomas a Becket, buried in Canterbury Cathedral in the southeast of England. These fourteenth century characters may seem far removed from our busy technological reality of the early 21st century, but, as all who have read the Prologue can attest, they are as real to us today as they have been for readers over the past 600 years. One character, in particular, would find himself very much at home at this 2004 Learning Conference: the scholar. It was of him that Chaucer, who approves greatly of him says: “Gladly would he learn, and gladly teach.” At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a liberal arts university in southwest Indiana in the United States, we have such a group of women who would both ‘gladly learn and gladly teach,” that is, hundreds of adult learners whose desire is to earn a baccalaureate degree and teacher licensure. They are able to do so because of the highly successful program called the Women’s External Degree Program (WED) which combines technology and personal interaction in a program which has awarded well over 1,000 undergraduate degrees in the past thirty years. This paper will examine several examples of how it is possible to enable adult learners who are spread over thousands of miles across the United States to earn their degrees and thus achieve their dreams of becoming teachers for the 21st century. The paper has the potential to be of assistance to those individuals and institutions wishing to start or to enhance already existing distance learning programs.


Dr Joan M Lescinski  (United States)
President and Professor of English
English Department
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Joan Lescinski is President and Professor of English at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College in Southwest Indiana, USA. She has taught adult learners and traditionally-aged university students for more than 30 years. She earned her Ph.D. in English Literature from Brown University and holds both a BA and an MA in English Literature from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York.

  • Distance Learning
  • Technology and Distance Learning
  • Adult Learners and Technology

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)