Boudon 2001 and Eskensberger 2001 Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Their anticipated and desired results for their education, personal or practical, may vary widely in unpredictable ways. The attitudes towards educational processes may differ due to the greater and more diverse social and life experiences that color perceptions of classroom life, even more so than the raw educational materials used in the classroom. The teacher must balance addressing individual needs through conferences, personal contacts, and allowing for more independent research, yet also strive even harder to create a coherent class dynamic and unity between individuals with different schedules and belief structures. This may require greater management on a technical level as well as greater personal finesse than might be expected by an educator with experience only teaching undergraduates.

Eskensberger (2001) on the subject of "Action Theory" provides some interesting supporting evidence to address the difficulties posed by a mixed classroom of old and young learners, or adult learners of diverse backgrounds. Since practicality is so important to adult learners, creating a classroom environment with a focus upon action-oriented activities might be one way to create unity, at least on the surface, of the classroom. From a grading perspective, because the intention or thought behind actions are not necessarily observable from the outside, it is essential that projects such as team presentations include some controls to evaluate the effort as well as the final result -- especially if students have not given such presentations before in their school or working lives. But despite the limitations of grading through action, the idea of action theory can inject excitement into the classroom, especially if students have a 'pro forma' attitude to classroom procedures. Action also creates a greater sense of free choice in learning, which can increase empowerment and desire to come to class, to do the work. Focusing on action and results, and personal choice shows respect for adult learners as adults, and excitement about the work that is done in the classroom increases levels of participation even if distance learning through the Internet is an unfortunately necessary part of a great deal of outside interactions involving the class.

Ultimately, adult learners seek out changes in their lives through education, whether personal empowerment, changing their job prospects, or enhancing their qualifications: "The basic structure of an action which aims at some effect....is some change and this change leads casually to some consequences. Those consequences of actions that represent the goal are attempted others are unintended," and if practical skills are the original intention, ideally the instructor wishes to generate more unintended results of empowerment and personal fulfillment, and abandoning negative classroom roles and supplanting them with positive self-images (Eskensberger 2001). "To let fresh air into a room intended goal one opens the window does something, after having opened the window is open result and lets fresh air in intended, but the room may become cold" -- or may generate the unintended result of a clearer mind, with the blast of fresh air (Eskensberger 2001).! It is the adult instructor's duty to be that fresh air into student's lives and to create a collective ethos that is a 'breath of fresh air' for a constellation of distinct personalities! No adult student 'has' to be in the classroom, by and large, and the instructor can move mountains if he or she generates fresh air of excitement about education itself through a delicate balance of individualized attention and teamwork, and does not simply stress the final…

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