Adult Education Theories Term Paper

Length: 10 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Teaching Type: Term Paper Paper: #30481466 Related Topics: Adult Learner, Adult Development, Vocational Education, Education System
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Education - Theory

Adult Education Theories

Adult educations philosophies are fashioned in order to scope and characterize the process of individual educators. Teaching adults is way more sophisticated than teaching children due to a difference in life contexts. Consequently, adult education philosophies are essential in terms of directing and assisting both adult learners and educators. It conceptualizes and clarifies adult's behaviors and thoughts when they are in the learning environment. Adult learners learn based on their life circumstances and the change of awareness or viewpoint. Adult education philosophy is one of the good ways to recognize the best methods of teaching adult learners. Educators are divided into a variety of types of characteristics based on their viewpoint of adult education (Galbraith, 2004).

Adults learn better in a non-aggressive environment where they can work together with others and where they are in control of their learning course. They are more motivated when they obtain knowledge and skills in a circumstance where their self-respect is not in danger. The learning environment is important; age and life knowledge are facets that should be taken in consideration when developing learning settings. Also the connection with the teacher is important. In more customary educational context there is the teacher who sets down the rules and who decides on the progress in learning. This balance of power should be averted. An adult wants to be treated as an equivalent. That is why in adult education open learning can be vital. The aim here is creating circumstances where the adult can learn in an inspiring and motivating way (Exploring the possibilities of the flexible open classroom in adult learning, n.d.).

Humanism is a school of thought that believes human beings are dissimilar from other species and have capacities not found in animals. Humanists, consequently, give dominance to the study of human needs and interests. An essential assumption is that human beings act out of intentionality and principles. This is in dissimilarity to the beliefs of operant conditioning theorists who believe that all behavior is the consequence of the function of consequences or to the beliefs of cognitive psychologists who hold that the detection of concepts or processing of information is a main factor in human learning. Humanists also believe that it is essential to study the person as a whole, particularly as a person grows and develops over their life. The study of the self, inspiration, and goal-setting are also areas of special attention (Huitt, 2009).

As with other advances to learning and development, there is a diversity of viewpoints within this convention. The leading view is called modern or naturalistic humanism and traces its lineage to Aristotle and Socrates. It is defined as a naturalistic philosophy that discards all supernaturalism and relies principally upon reason and science, democracy and human compassion. It is therefore described as anthropocentric or human-centered. There are two divisions within this view: secular and religious. Supporters of a secular humanism believe that an individual person has within them everything that is required to grow and develop their unique abilities. Religious humanists, on the other hand, believe that religion is a significant influence on human development and promote a shared aspect of their approach, although an atheistic one (Huitt, 2009).

The main emphasis of humanistic education is on the regulatory system and the emotional system. The development of these systems is frequently overlooked in the present education system. The regulatory system acts as a filter for linking the environment and internal thoughts to other thoughts or feelings as well as relating knowledge and feelings to action. The emotional system colors, exaggerates, reduces or otherwise alters information obtained through the regulatory system or sent from the cognitive system to action. In the present environment of regular change and indecision, the development of the knowledge, approaches, and skills discussed in these systems is particularly important (Huitt, 2009).

There are five basic objectives of the humanistic view of education:

1. endorse positive self-direction and independence which is the development of the regulatory system

2. develop the capability to take accountability for what is learned, which has to do with the regulatory and affective systems

3. develop creativity which has to do with the divergent thinking feature of cognition

4. curiosity which is exploratory behavior, a function of unevenness or dissonance in any of the systems and an interest in the arts principally to develop the emotional system (Huitt, 2009).

Some basic principles of the


Students will learn best what they desire and need to know. That is, when they have developed the skills of evaluating what is important to them and why as well as the skills of directing their actions towards those wants and needs, they will learn more effortlessly and rapidly. Most educators and learning theorists would concur with this statement, though they might differ on precisely what contributes to learner motivation.

2. Knowing how to learn is more important than obtaining a lot of knowledge. In the present society where knowledge is altering rapidly, this view is shared by a lot of educators, particularly those from a cognitive perspective.

3. Self -appraisal is the only significant evaluation of a learner's work. The significance here is on interior development and self-regulation. While most educators would probably agree that this is significant, they would also promote a need to develop a learner's aptitude to meet outside potentials.

4. Feelings are as significant as details. Much work from the humanistic view seems to authenticate this point and is one area where humanistic educators are making important offerings to the knowledge base.

5. Students learn best in a non-aggressive surrounding. This is one area where humanistic educators have had an impact on present educational practice. The direction supported today is that the environment should by expressively and emotionally, as well as physically, non-aggressive. Nevertheless, there is some research that suggests that a neutral environment is best for older, highly motivated learners (Huitt, 2009).

The humanistic adult education philosophy seeks to make possible personal growth and development. Humanists are extremely motivated and self-directed learners; accountability to learn is understood by the learner. The humanist educator facilitates learning but does not direct learning. The educator and learner are associates. Concepts that define the humanistic philosophy comprise empirical learning, independence, self-directed, and self-actualization. Humanistic teaching techniques include group discussion, team teaching, individualized learning, and the discovery method. This ideology clarifies well in adult learners' actions that they want to decide the learning method by themselves, and do not want to be told what to do like when they were in high school. Since adult education is not obligatory, learners who sign up are enthusiastic to be taught, and want to be part of the procedure. Self-provoked and self-directed are measured as a key concepts concerning adult learners (Zinn, 1990).

The humanistic adult education viewpoint seeks to make easy personal growth and development. Humanists are highly motivated and self-directed learners; accountability to learn is assumed by the learner. The humanist educator facilitates learning but does not direct learning. The educator and learner are associates. Ideas that define the humanistic philosophy include experiential learning, independence, self-directed, and self-actualization. Humanistic teaching techniques contain group discussion, team teaching, individualized learning, and the discovery method (Buckingham, 2000).

Most educators who support humanistic education characteristically intend this approach to mean one or more of three things:

1. Humanistic education teaches a wide diversity of skills which are required to function in today's world. Things like basic skills such as reading, writing and math, as well as skills in communicating, thinking, decision-making, problem-solving and knowing oneself.

2. Humanistic education is a caring approach to education. It is one that helps learners believe in themselves and their prospective, that supports kindness and understanding that encourages self-respect and respect for others.

3. Humanistic education deals with basic human issues. It deals with the concerns throughout history and today that are of interest to human beings trying to advance the quality of life in order to pursue information, to develop, to love, to find meaning for one's existence.

Humanistic education techniques are used in public and private schools, the family, religious education, business and as well as many other settings (Green, 1994).

A lot of the major books and articles that exist on humanistic education show teachers how to do a more successful job of teaching reading, writing, math and social studies. Many of the best conventional subject matter teachers incorporate humanistic education methods and materials into their fundamental curriculum. Rather than paying no attention to the basics, humanistic educators seek to increase the notion of what basic education is, saying that basic skills for existing in today's world go beyond reading, writing, math, and vocational skills and comprise other skills for communicating, problem-solving and decision-making (Green, 1994).

Humanist philosophy in adult education is frequently criticized regarding its concepts. Self-centered and self-directed is often though of as selfishness. Since other philosophies prioritize social change and social movement as their…

Sources Used in Documents:


Zinn, L.M. (1990). Identifying your philosophical orientation. In M.W. Galbraith (Ed.),

Adult learning methods. (pp. 39-56). Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company.

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