Assignment: Humanistic Adult Education
*Please make sure you that you reference the book and/or the additional resources in the module.
Although Knowles' Andragogy model and Mezirow's transformative learning theory intersect with progressive and radical philosophies of adult education, they also have several key differences. For example, whereas humanistic adult education underscores the importance of self-actualization (motivation, self-concept, self-directed learning, self-interest, etc.), progressive and radical adult education emphasize the social, economic, and political context of adult learning.
Your paper should address one of the two following questions. While the first option focuses on Knowles' concept of andragogy, the second one focuses on Mezirow's transformative learning theory.
After reading the chapter, please refer to the link below, which outlines the principles of Knowles's adult learning theory. I would like you to focus on factors involving motivation among adult learners (see the subsection entitled "Motivation of Adult learners" in the link below. There are also challenges and barriers involved in motivating adult learners including "lack of time, money, confidence, or interest, lack of information about opportunities to learn, scheduling problems, ‘red tape,' and problems with childcare and transportation."
Choose a lesson plan, an assignment, or a project that you facilitated or taught. Describe the steps you took to motivate adults to learn. This may be teaching adults a new skill, knowledge, or disposition.
You may choose this option and modify the questions if you are a K-12 educator and are familiar with constructivist theory.
Your paper should discuss the following elements of this model:
1. Adults need to know why they need to learn something.
• Discuss how you explained to students why they needed to learn this skill or topic.
2. Adults need to learn experientially.
• Describe the experiential learning opportunities you provided adults.
3. Adults approach learning as problem-solving.
• What types of problem-solving activities did you introduce to help adults learn the skill or new knowledge?
4. Adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value.
• Discuss how you communicated to adults the topic's value and relevance.
Share an example of a transformative learning experience that involved you. This experience may be drawn from your professional work or your personal experiences Choose a life experience that has challenged your belief system or your perceptions about others or the world. Discuss the journey you took to "reintegrate this new experience" into your worldview (see the bulleted steps from the excerpt below). Please only share experiences that you are comfortable sharing with your classmates.
Transformative learning is basically the kind of learning we do as we make meaning of our lives. It's become a very popular topic in adult education because it doesn't just involve classroom learning--it involves learning about our lives. This is important because as adults, the meaning making process can change everything about how we look at work, family, and the world.
If you read the literature of adult education, you'll find a lot of theoretical writing on this subject and quite a few studies. One of the best-known experts in this area is a scholar named Jack Mezirow, who started studying this area in the 1970s. Mezirow came up with a set of phases that people go through when they experience transformation, and those steps are:
? Experiencing a disorienting dilemma
? Critical assessment of assumptions
? Recognizing that others have gone through a similar process
? Exploring options
? Formulating a plan of action
Now, as you can see here, transformation is something that is usually triggered by a problem, and very often, transformative experiences are painful to go through. After identifying their problem or challenge, people seem to enter a phase where they reflect critically on this--this is typically a problem that you've never experienced before, so it takes a lot of thinking and talking to others to work through. During the thinking phase, people may find that they can no longer keep their old ways of thinking and being--they are compelled to change.
Finally, there is an action phase where people decide to do something. This could mean that you have to break off certain relationships that don't fit your beliefs anymore; it could mean that you decide to make a career change--action can take many forms. Also, the process itself may take a long time. You could reflect on something for years before you are ready to accept new beliefs and act on them.
So clearly, transformative learning is not "little" learning, and this is one of the problems that people have with this whole theory. For example, what if you go back to school and get a degree--have you transformed yourself? This is a tough question, and the answer won't be the same for everybody. What Mezirow says is that learning "can consist of a change in one of our beliefs or attitudes" (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999, p. 320); this is what he calls a "meaning scheme."
But this isn't transformational learning in Mezirow's opinion. It's only when we change our entire perspective on something (our meaning perspective) that we really transform. So for example, if you said, "Well, I met someone from another country and now I think totally differently about that culture," for Mezirow this wouldn't really be considered a moment of transformative learning. Mezirow would say that you'd have to engage in all the phases of transformation first--but this encounter with this person could lead you to start questioning your assumptions about a lot of things and that could, in turn, eventually lead to transformation.