Adult Education Does the Adult Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

While proving all students with equal opportunities, the professors at Highlander also emphasize on the individuality of each person. And this idea of individuality was implemented early on by founder Myles Horton, who refused to divide the students according to their appurtenance to different social classes, like most of the education institutions used to do. Instead, he embraced the idea that America was at its core an agglomeration of a multitude of nations, each with different values, principles and characteristics. Otherwise put, they embraced and promoted the concepts of cultural diversity. "It also did not bracket questions of recognition; instead, it embraced diversity with open arms" (Spencer).

Accommodative outcomes

The final outcome of an adult student's education depends directly on his capabilities and true desires to succeed. It is also true that in some cases, he will be forced by features independent of him to simply become accommodated with the new status, rather than fully embrace it. Since this is not the most desirable outcome, the Highlander Folk School, however recognizing it, does not embrace or promote it as a viable goal.

Transformational outcomes

The ultimate outcome for most learning adults, and also for their professors, is to achieve an increased level of knowledge that would further help them achieve high set goals. And most of the times, this implies a transformation of the current status quo into a brighter future perspective. In other words, the Highlander Folk School tries to create an environment which stimulates the adults to overcome their position and transform themselves and the others around them. "Horton preferred to spend his time helping people come together and learn how to organize and work toward replacing, transforming, and rebuilding society so as to allow for people to make decisions that affect their lives" (Spencer).

Probably the most important concept to remember about the Highlander Folk School is that while embracing the ideas of individualism and diversity, it also understood that the society and the individual interact and each is influenced by the other, meaning in the end that the individual is the result of society and the society is in turn the agglomeration of individual thoughts, beliefs and ideas. "A relational view of democracy does not begin with an assumption of individualism, as classical liberal democracy does, but starts with Dewey's concept of transactional relationships, that individuals affect others and others affect individuals, for we are all selves-in-relation-with others" (Spencer). This then reveals a cohabitation in perfect harmony of social and individual purposes and functions which is desirable in most institutions, but even more in the educational ones.

In all, the purposes and outcomes presented to the students of Highlander Folk School are all social, individual, accommodative and transformational. The learning adults are given the opportunity to become better acknowledged in the field they desire, become better informed and as such stand increased chances to become integrated within the society, or the social groups they prefer. This reveals both the individual function as well as the social purpose. Then, in terms of outcomes, this most often depends on the personal characteristics of each individual. The school and the professors strive to offer increased access to information so that all students are able to comprehend it; the ultimate outcome of accommodation or transformation is solely up to them however. Ergo, the Highlander Folk School does indeed reveal the four educational dimensions identified by Herbert Spencer.


Spencer, Education for…

Sources Used in Document:


Spencer, Education for Adults

Cite This Thesis:

"Adult Education Does The Adult" (2008, September 19) Retrieved September 22, 2019, from

"Adult Education Does The Adult" 19 September 2008. Web.22 September. 2019. <>

"Adult Education Does The Adult", 19 September 2008, Accessed.22 September. 2019,