The model that emerged from the study proposes that there is a relationship of life mission with transformational learning and self-directed learning. Adult educators may improve their learning process when they provide some way for learners to understand their life's mission and relate it to learning. This may help the learning experience go from being teacher-directed to being more student-directed. The study suggests that purpose seeking must be included in emancipatory learning as well as awareness building (Kroth, p.134).
Stephen Brookfield recently published a study of the theory entitled Repositioning ideology critique in a critical theory of adult learning about adult learning and how it differs from other types of theories. Looking at contemporary readings in adult educational, particularly those of the Frankfurt School of critical theory, as interpreted by Habermas, who taught "risk sliding into an exclusive engagement with the pragmatic dimensions of his thought to the exclusion of its Marxist underpinnings and its concern with ideology critique." By building on Max Horkheimer's essay on Traditional and Critical Theory, this article repositions ideology critique as part of the learning process crucial to becoming an adult. As a response to Marx, a critical theory of learning ought to see and challenge "ideological domination and manipulation." This is necessary if adults are to live in culturally equal political structures or to create democratic societies. The conclusion is that one must guard against certain ideologies which may be self-defeating by careful examination of their results (Brookfield, 2001, p. 7).
Brookfield has also written an article on overcoming alienation as the practice of adult education: the contribution of Erich Fromm to a critical theory of adult learning and education, published in 2002. He says Erich Fromm's analysis of contemporary life commodification, his call to overcome alienation and his description of automation conformity are important elements of the tradition that appears to impact adult education. Fromm, drawing on the early writings of Marx on economics and philosophy, conducted a radical, yet understandable analysis of adult learning. Fromm argued that learning how to simplify an ideology and thereby to overcome the alienation that complex theory brought, was the task of adults. Adult education is therefore a resistance force, making others aware of manipulation by ideologies and educating them to participate in the democratic process. Calling his theories "humanist," Fromm made sure that his writings would be read by many educators. But Fromm's humanism was actually militant, as a Marxian humanism looked for the "abolition of capitalist alienation and the creation of democratic socialism" (Brookfield, 2002, p. 111).
Sharan Mirriam has taken a look at Mezirow's Transformational Learning theory in an article published in 2004, which explores the link between development and learning, and finds it explicit in the theory of transformational learning proposed by Mezirow. The author points out that numerous studies have indeed shown that growth and development come from transformational learning. The author argues that one must be at a mature level of cognitive functioning to become involved in a transformational learning process. In order for transformational learning to actually occur, both critical reflection and engagement in rational discourse are necessary, as they indicate that one is on a higher level of cognitive functioning (Merriam, pp. 60-68).
Barry-Craig and McLean present the problem of and the solution to diversity. The classrooms and the workplace are becoming progressively more diverse. Immigration, globalization, an increased focus on religion and spirituality, communications technology, and an increase in domestic and international travel demand the increasing necessity of working, interacting and teaching people with backgrounds that differ from one's own. Educational practitioners find it necessary to recognize differing cultural backgrounds, assumptions, and worldviews influence understanding of adult learning. If such an understanding is not developed by educators and human relations personnel, the results would include atheoretical and/or inconsistent practice, miscommunication, misunderstandings, and cultural imperialism. Therefore a worldview is important to adoption of any theoretical ideology (Barry-Craig, pp. 231-238).
This treatise by Alisa Belzer explores how previous experiences in formal educational contexts control adult learners' views of their current learning framework. With data gained by interviewing five women involved in a program for General Educational Development, the research suggests that adult learners' previous construction of learning contexts functions as a screening process while learning. The features of in progress contexts while learning either pass easily through the learner's screen, may not fit, creating tension and ambivalence, or may go beyond the boundaries of the screen. The results of each individual's experience are analyzed and arguments made for an examination of adult learners' screens whenever the process of adult learning begins for each individual (Belzer, pp. 41-59).
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