ERIC Number: ED459325
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Reference Count: N/A
Considering Culture in the Selection of Teaching Approaches for Adults. ERIC Digest.
Cultural differences, including the personal cultures of learners and educators and the culture of the larger social-political environment, are relevant to adult learning. Culture includes those values, beliefs, and practices shared by a group of people. Cultures tend to vary along a number of dimensions, and the following dimensions are among those in which different views and behaviors can lead to misunderstanding and tension: (1) individualism and collectivism; (2) monochronic and polychronic time; (3) egalitarianism versus hierarchy; (4) action versus "being" orientation; and (5) change and tradition. In addition, certain variables, such as communication styles and power imbalances, tend to cut across differences in values. In order to select appropriate instructional approaches, adult education teachers need to realize that cultural dimensions provide the basis for learners' behavior and responses, and because teachers are cultural beings, teachers' teaching methods are always based on cultural values, regardless of whether teachers are aware of their influence. For example, teachers in the United States tend to value individual projects and methods and activities that culminate in products. By being culturally sensitive, teachers can foster learning approaches that have the potential to do the following: (1) foster the social construction of knowledge by using methods such as collaborative group learning; (2) provide structured guidance through learning experiences for learners from cultures where hierarchy and expertise of the teacher are highly valued; (3) help students from disempowered groups by permitting alternative assessment, such as portfolio building; and (4) provide computer-assisted learning to students who need privacy so they can prepare away from real-time compressed communication. Adult educators can become more sensitive to cultural differences by first examining the cultural values that underlie their preferred methods of teaching and then diversifying their teaching methods. (Contains 15 references.) (KC)
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education, Adult Education, Adult Educators, Adult Learning, Adult Students, Classroom Techniques, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Background, Cultural Context, Cultural Differences, Cultural Exchange, Cultural Influences, Cultural Pluralism, Cultural Traits, Culturally Relevant Education, Intercultural Communication, Postsecondary Education, Social Differences, Student Characteristics, Student Subcultures, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Effectiveness, Teaching Methods, Teaching Styles
For full text: http://ericacve.org/digests.asp.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
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.