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Introduction

As Galbraith & Jones (2008) asserts, teaching adults is an overwhelming undertaking that requires a deep balance of knowing oneself as a teacher and an understanding of the approach to apply when teaching. As such, teaching adults may not require too much effort for mastery of content than the ability to make them generate ideas by themselves and bring in their long life experience in class and be able to apply it to the scenario in hand. The individual philosophy of teaching adults is founded on certain beliefs, values, and attitudes. All these individual elements vary from one adult teacher to the other and are much dependent on how the teacher sees himself or herself in the context of his or her students. The essay below elucidates on my subjective beliefs about grownups as learners, beliefs about the aims of teaching adults, the subject matter, and about the learning of adults.

Beliefs about Grownups as Learners

My first belief about grownups as students is that they have an expansive basis of knowledge whose source is the many meaningful experiences that they have encountered in life and too much information about the subjects of study. As such, I believe that every adult student is obliged to have a meaningful explanation of any topic of reference that the teacher brings forth for discussion in class. This belief emanates from the reality of exposure of the adult students to either similar or dissimilar circumstances that are valid for the topic of discussion (Kumar, 2001). Because of this exposure, it is of importance to note that the class is likely to be very lively with intensive involvement of adult learners in the class. As they incorporate their experiences, they are able to open up to numerous thinking perspectives which in turn facilitates the process of learning, internalization, and retention of knowledge (Kumar, 2001). As such, a given session of learning becomes a success for both the educator and the grownup learners. However, the adult learner stands to benefit the most, but the teacher feels that he or she has accomplished the objectives of a given lesson in a day. This type of learning makes it easier on the part of the adults who in most cases are not as eager as the young learners to grasp the new information fed to them in form of instructions, practice, and extensive reading.

The second belief about adult learners is that they possess high storage and memorization capabilities in line with the information and data pertaining to their experience with the world. As such, their experiential contribution and application of the same in class is very vital in facilitating the process of their learning. Therefore, adult teachers should be enthusiastic in applying this technique to ease the burden of educating adult learners and ease the accomplishment of professional satisfaction that comes with success in delivery of content to the students. The third belief is that adult students prefer practical application of their acquired knowledge as opposed to acting solely as receivers of information from the teacher. Because of this preference, I believe that it is inevitable to apply the technique of experiential application in class while teaching them.

The fourth belief is that adult students are very good in theorization particularly that involves codification of denotations of scenarios that we engaged in or have encountered. As such, facilitating an environment where the adults are to codify the meaning of different scenarios of the topic of discussion in class guarantees a lively class full of crossbreeding of ideas that in turn leads to internalization of information. The fifth belief is that adults are able to comprehend and understand their experience in different contexts brought about in the class by the teacher when learning. As such, it becomes inevitable to have them contribute to the topic of the day in the application of their experience to the given context of the topic.

Beliefs about Aims

My first belief about the aims of teaching adult learners is that they only require a slight trigger of the intended idea and then they are able to relate what they are learning to the real life experiences. They do not require details like the young learners who do not have much experience. Instead, they require direction from the teacher to relate what they already know and the content they are learning (Galbraith & Jones). The second belief is that the adult students are free to explore the world for new ideas. Therefore, details do not facilitate the achievement of the aims of teaching them. As such, fewer details and more time for exploration would suffice for adult learners. Too much emphasis on the details would put them off as they carry themselves as already experienced individuals who would only require a trigger of what is required and thus do the rest by themselves (Wang & Sarbo, 2004). Similarly, I believe that adult learners are capable of seeking for help from the teacher in case certain information pertaining to their learning is unclear. As such, the teacher should have little to offer to these students at class in terms of content but much in terms of any required clarifications.

Beliefs about Subject Matter

My first belief about the subject matter of the learning of adult learners is that they require a little content delivery and more of application of their experience in class. As such, a teacher should first understand how to engage his or her students in a meaningful discussion of the subject matter. After gaining the understanding, they should apply it in actively exacerbating the urge of the adult students to fully participate in airing their views on the subject matter from different perspectives (Wang & Sarbo, 2004). The second belief about the subject matter is that it should specifically fit the learners. As such, the teacher is obliged ensure that he or she does not go out of context when delivering to the adults based on excellent communicative skills (Pratt & Collins, 2001). With this, the students and the teacher are able to relate well and make the most out of every encounter in terms of the subject matter (Wang & Sarbo, 2004).

Belief about Teaching and about Learning

My belief about teaching is that it should the act that involves a teacher delivering content that is either unknown, partially known or known to the students in a way that they understand and comprehend with ease. Any act of teaching that culminates to difficulty in delivery of content or difficulty in understanding by the learner does not fully qualify to be teaching (Wartenberg, 2003). My belief about learning is that it is a continuous process in life that involves an experience which can be referred to in future to either solve certain problems or in interpreting scenarios in life.

In my teaching, I try to accomplish a successful delivery, easy comprehension, interpretation, retention and application of the delivered content. What lies at the heart of my teaching is the success in delivery of content, high retention, and easy application of the retained information. The most important thing to me about my content and context is the ease of delivery and full participation of the students. The purposes that arise from my sense of commitment to the above elements are the duty to deliver my content to the students with ease, to facilitate their understanding, to ensure their full participation, and an attempt to guarantee their ability to apply the content in real life situations. As such, I am always enthusiastic to welcome inquiries pertaining to the application of the content delivered in class.

References

Galbraith, M. W., & Jones, M. S. (2008). First Things First in Becoming a Teacher of Adults. Journal of Adult Education, 37, 1, 1-12.

Kumar, A. (2001). Philosophical Background of Adult and Lifelong Learning. Retrieved 17 April 2015, from http://www.unesco.org/education/aladin/paldin/pdf/course01/unit_03.pdf

Pratt, D., & Collins, J. (2001). Teaching Perspectives Inventory. Retrieved 17 April, 2015, from http://www.teachingperspectives.com/tpi/

Wang, V., & Sarbo, L. (2004). Philosophy, Role of Adult Educators, and Learning: How Contextually Adapted Philosophies and the Situational Role of Adult Educators Affect Learners’ Transformation and Emancipation. Journal of Transformative Education, 2(3), 204-214. doi:10.1177/1541344604265105

Wartenberg, T. (2003). Teaching Philosophy by Teaching Philosophy Teaching. Teaching Philosophy, 26(3), 283-297. doi:10.5840/teachphil200326327

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