My View of Adult Learning Prior to this Course
It was my view that adult education is the method or process through which an adult learns, which I thought was different from the ways through which children learn. I thought that adult education was one thing that could allow the adult the primary focus on the process of learning as opposed to the content; the streamline that defines what is feasible or what can be achieved and what cannot. However, when I came to class and engaged myself with the course material my view of adult learning changed. For example, I was able to learn numerous, different factors that are the driving forces behind these individuals’ drive for educational achievement. Additionally, I also learned about some of the many factors that can distract or affect negatively the process of adult learning.
It was clear from these course materials that adult learning is based on the andragogical model of learning. This model is built upon the assumptions that adults have a need to know and learned adults also have a need to be learners who are self- directed and a need to have a self- concept that reflects that they are responsible for the decisions that they make. Therefore, adult learning programs are special as they are designed in such ways that allow them o set goals by themselves and organize their learning around the responsibilities each has as an adult. More specifically, I can relate my journey in education to the course content material of unit one.
I am an adult learner who just recently went back to school, and traditionally my daily routines and responsibilities would not have fit with my education program. This is because my education would have a conflict with my responsibilities such as taking care of my family, and eventually one of the two would be neglected. However, with such programs as online education, I am able to satisfy all of my responsibilities. I take control of my learning in such a way that other responsibilities in my life are not neglected.
The motivation I have for learning results from my need to have a better chance of getting a promotion at work. I have realized that the learning environments currently are shifting and changing from what used to be teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning mainly because of the fact that many adults are going back to school. Up to now, this unit has taught me that the many challenges that we face as adult learners are as a result of some of the factors associated with adults going back to school and taking up education once more.
My Current View of Adult Education
Much of the view and thoughts I have on adult education currently are derived from my course content of unit two. As I went through the assigned content for unit two, I was able to learn numerous things about adult education I did not know of, and I was surprised to find out that there are numerous theories on the processes through which adults learn. Beforehand, I was only familiar with the theory on adult learning by Knowles called the Andragogy theory, and with my limited knowledge, I had assumed that this was the only theory through which adult learners like myself and my colleagues learned through. To my surprise, I became familiar with other adult learning theories such as the theories by such individuals like Jarvis, McClusky, and Illeris.
All these theories were in one way or the other related to the processes and styles through which I was able to learn and also related to many of my learning style methods. However, I was able to realize that my learning style methods were more related to the McClusky model or theory more than the other theories. This particular theory argues that there is always a constant need for one to strike a balance between the energy they need and the energy that is available to them. I thought this theory was more related to me because I had many facets in my life that struggled for my attention such as my children, work, friends, church, and even my family. I was surprised to know that there is a theory and process that addresses the madness which is my life.
Now when anyone wonders and asks how I can be able to deal with everything that is going on in my life each day, I can confidently respond that the McClusky margin theory is of great help to me, because I am now familiar with it and how it operates. However, I have also noted that my learning model also relates to other theories of learning. For example, I have come to know that my online education is the kind of learning model which is self- directed. This characteristic of learning is usually associated with the Knowles’s theory of learning. As it follows, one can say that the two theories, that is Knowles’s and McClusky learning theories, apply to my type of learning model.
How my Thinking Evolved
Just like all of the other chapters in my education, unit three has of all units given me a new outlook and changed my view on how the process of learning is among the adults. In all of my imaginations, I had not expected my education to have any sections or any factors on spiritual life, as it was I was shocked to find that indeed we had such sections. The reason why I was surprised to find this section in my education was that I had not that spirituality had anything to do with my education. In my personal life, I enjoy reading the book of proverbs and it is one of my favorite books in the bible from which I draw so much guidance, and practical lessons in life, in my spiritual life, outside of my education, I learn numerous things among them how to be a better member of the society and I obtain a lot of knowledge and wisdom on how to live my life.
In my third unit, however, I found lessons on spirituality and the author of the content of the material I was assigned to read for the unit argued that spirituality should not be confused with religion as there is a significant difference between the two. One of the differences that the author cited between the two was that spirituality is personal and religion is about rules. Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2007, quotes Tisdell, 2002, by writing that religion is the faith of a community that is organized and that which has written codes and doctrines of regulatory behavior, meaning that religion is about a community and not an individual, and that it is guided by a set of rules and regulations. Spirituality, on the other hand, is shown as a belief that is more personal and more of an experience of a higher purpose or of a divine spirit, about how individuals construct or create meaning, and what they as individuals and as part of a community attend to and experience and honor in their lives as sacred(Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2007). Learning is a process that is continuous, and it was clear for me after this unit that through religion I am able to learn about spirituality.
It was also clear that the two go hand in hand and that they cannot be separated as one without the other does not have any meaning. I found out that experiences can at times be personal, and that at times most individuals require more than one factor and strategies to be able to achieve a certain goal. This I say because I was not sure what religion had to do with my education, but with time I learned that learning how to be a spiritual person needed me to learn about religion, which was also part of my syllabus, and that without one of these my education would not be as complete. I also enjoyed narratives which some of our lessons were delivered in; learning through narratives was especially entertaining and more effective. It is through this class that I can appropriately describe in words many of the methods or processes through which I learned.
It is only fair to say that I enjoyed this class immensely. I found the course contents extremely informative and essential for my learning process. I was also able to get answers that lingered at the back of my mind. One of the sections that caught my attention was the part of socio-cultural factors. It was clear to me that socio- cultural factor contributed largely to the development of adults. I found out that race, gender, class, and sexual orientation are some of the factors that develop how an individual is affected by these socio-cultural factors in their development. I found that among the African American families that such factors as mental disorders, homosexuality and sexual misconduct were frowned upon or even considered as taboo. The course text Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2007 states that an individual’s class, race, sexual orientation and gender among other factors interact to affect or influence the development of that individual.
The way such things would be handled in my family would affect the way I react to or think about these common issues in life. The section on wisdom was also extremely interesting. It was clear that education revolves around life and its essence. The course text argued that wisdom is not a concept that is new and that it has been argued about over centuries by great theologians and philosophers(Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2007). Through all this I was able to know that education has come from far and that it is still developing to further extends. It is my hope that it will develop to such extends that it will be able to address any challenge that affects adult education like some socio-cultural factors.
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