ERIC Number: ED381690
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
Teaching Adults: Is It Different? Myths and Realities.
One way to approach the question of whether teaching adults is different is by examining the types of learning in which adults engage. Adult learning has been classified as subject oriented, consumer oriented, and emancipatory. Only emancipatory education has been described as unique to adulthood, but even that claim has been challenged. As a result of the research and theory building of Mezirow, emancipatory adult learning has become more commonly known as transformative learning. Fostering transformative learning demands a different approach by the educator. Although learners must decide on their own to engage in it, educators who wish to promote transformative learning have the responsibility to set the stage and provide opportunities for critical reflection. Examining what adult learners expect from teaching provides another perspective on whether teaching adults is different. Donaldson, Flannery, and Ross-Gordon have combined and reanalyzed research that examined adult college students' expectations of effective teaching and compared them with those of traditional students. The adult learners demonstrate preferences for characteristics associated with both student-centered and teacher-directed learning. Four teacher characteristics mentioned by adults that were not among the top items for undergraduates were as follows: creates a comfortable learning atmosphere, uses a variety of techniques, adapts to diverse needs, and is dedicated to teaching. (Contains 13 references.) (YLB)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Columbus, OH.