My teaching-learning philosophy

My teaching-learning philosophy is that adult education should be a journey of self-directed learning, exploratory process-oriented dialogue, collaborative learning and transformative learning. (Fenwick and Parsons, 2000). The adult educator’s role then is to facilitate this journey for learners in a safe and trusting environment – an environment that adheres to adult education principles. Only after having been an adult learner myself can I fully appreciate what other adult learners experience. “First, we lead people who like to be in control on a journey which is by definition, a trek into the uncontrollable and the unfamiliar. Second, we require people who are accustomed to independence to surrender to the authority of another adult or an institution. Third, we encourage people who believe that mastery brings power and respect, and who have learned to hide their weaknesses and sell their strengths, to make mistakes. We subject them to situations where their weaknesses are on public display, where they will likely fail, and where they may not compare favourably to other adults. Fourth, we expect people who have learned to protect their status and sense of self in order to succeed in a competitive world to accept criticism from another adult.” (Fenwick and Parsons, 2000). All these are reasons why adults can experience difficulty adapting to the formal learning environment of adult education.

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