The qualification of adult educators is a central aspect of the quality of adult education. However, within current policy discourses and adult education research on the professional development of prospective adult educators, little attention is paid to teacher qualification when compared to other fields of education and training. In this study, we analyse the qualification paths, or learning trajectories, of prospective adult educators in Sweden and Denmark. The analysis is based on narrative interviews with 29 students in training to become adult educators. The career paths of adult educators are often long and winding roads. Becoming an adult educator could be their primary desire, but it could also be their ‘Plan B’, a second choice. Individual motives and external demands interact in the professionalisation process. A shift in focus from teaching subject and methods to teaching context and the relation to the learners is part of the professional development. Finally, we argue that both academic studies and hands-on work in the adult education community are crucial parts of the adult educator’s qualification path.
Studies in Continuing Education, 2013, Vol 35, Issue 1, p. 102-118