link: adult education

 

                        ADULT EDUCATION AS EDUCATION FOR FREEDOM:

                                                 'LIBRATORY PEDAGOGY'

theme: American adult education as person-centered education or 'libratory pedagogy'....

In American education practice, "the search for a unique framework or theory upon which to base the study and practice of education has been a persistent challenge". (D.R. Garrison 'Critical Thinking and Self-Directed Learning in Adult Education: An Analysis of Responsibility and Control Issues.' Adult Education Quarterly, 42: 3, Spring 1992, 136-148)

Grundtvig: the aim of education is enlightnment The forefather of adult education in America was the Danish educator, philosopher, writer, poet, and theologian Grundtvig (1783-1872). As a theologian, Grundtvig dissented from traditional belief in the 'grace of God' ... God's forgiveness as the only possibility for redemption from original sin. Gruntvig did not believe in the innate sinfulness of 'human nature'.  He believed that grace is inherent in human nature and that redemption from sin was possible without God's grace... that each individual is capable of redeeming themselves unless they choose not to.

Growth through learning: enlightened dialogue Gruntvig was concerned that traditional education placed too much emphasis on the written word or word of authority which he called the 'the dead word.'  Meaningful education was not possible when the emphasis was on the written authority - 'the dead word.'

               The 'living word' - dialogue of fellowship and freedom, manifest in the encouragement by teachers. Emphasis was on competency in life.

He defined adult education as 'the adult's intentional efforts at self-education in all human situations'. Adult education is concerned with people's need to be more in control of their own lives and educators of adults are concerned with the learner's empowerment, emancipation and self-direction. In a spirit of freedom and fellowship, they trust and encourage the learner to take responsibility for his own education and growth through learning.     

     In order to adapt to the rapidly changing demands for survival in a complex world to acquire knowledge in specific areas and to be open to learning in all areas... in order to adapt to a changing environment and to cope with the demands of a changing society... to learn to acknowledge and reveal his true 'self' as manifest in his feelings and ideas... to understand one's true nature and the nature of others. Both are necessary for education in freedom and fellowship.   

Provided the right kind of education every human being is capable of growth through learning in a learning environment which encourages 'freedom' of self-expression and 'fellowship' of free relationships which facilitate enlightened dialogue.  People can learn and grow through free relationships in which they facilitate the freedom of others as well as themselves.In a growth-promoting environment of freedom and fellowship the function of the teacher is to foster growth through learning by way of encouraging the kind of dialogue which facilitates freedom and enlightenment i.e. 'enlightened dialogue'.   

 He claimed that meaningful learning is lifelong and only possible through the 'living word' of enlightened dialogue in a growth-promoting climate of fellowship and freedom... manifest in  the encouragement of teachers

education is only meaningful when the emphasis is placed on development of imagination and competency in life.

Gruntvig created the 'folkhighschools'  to encourage personality growth and enlightenment i.e. expansiveness or 'self-actualisation'. Self-actualisation is possible in a growth-promoting climate of freedom and fellowship which encourages learners to bloom rather than conform.

 In addition to their having a thorough knowledge of their subject, teachers would have energetic spirit and behaviour exemplifying mutual student-teacher respect i.e. nourishing attitudes or 'attributes'.

His philosophy of 'lifelong learning' influenced American adult educational practice through the work of Lindeman.

For peoples' freedom and enlightenment,

Lindeman  The philosophy of Grundtvig influenced American adult educational practice through the work of Lindeman who introduced adult education to America.

Operation of the four values lead to 'enlightenment' which is the goal of education.  In 1927, in the book entitled The Meaning of Adult Education, he introduced the term 'andragogy' to refer to the education of adults. He defined the term andragogy as 'the art and science of helping adults learn'. He outlined four 'andragogical assumptions' which form the core philosophy for 'lifelong learning': first,  greatest resource for education is the learner's experiences; second, effective education is a matter of learning from situations third, education revolves about non-vocational ideals; and  fourth, education is life.The practical application... operation... of these four principles leads to intellectual awakening or 'enlightenment' - which is the aim of education. Periods of 'enlightenment' are periods "periods of intellectual awakening"when the "light of learning focuses upon experience and new meaning for life and new reasons for living are discovered." (cited by Clay Warren Andragogy and N.F.S.Grundtvig: A Critical Link," Adult Education Quarterly, 39:4, Summer 1989, p. 213)

 Lindeman was called the 'prophet of modern adult educational theory' by the populariser of person-centered adult education Malcolm Knowles.

Malcom Knowles (1926-1961) Malcom Knowles was inspired by Lindeman's ideas and he popularized the concept of person-centered education for adults. Knowles defined adult education as "the adult's intentional efforts at self-education in all human situations".

 Adult education is concerned with people's need to be more in control of their own lives...  educators of adults are concerned with the learner's empowerment, emancipation and self-direction. In a spirit of freedom and fellowship, they trust and encourage the learner to take responsibility for their own education and growth through learning.

In order to adapt to the rapidly changing demands for survival in a complex world to acquire knowlege in specific areas and to be open to learning in all areas... in order to adapt to a changing environment and to cope with the demands of a changing society... to learn to acknowledge and reveal his true 'self' as manifest in his feelings and ideas... to understand one's true nature and therefore the nature of others.

Implications for educaton

Adult education is holistic education

 'holistic education'

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references:

Clay Warren Andragogy and N.F.S.Grundtvig: A Critical Link," Adult Education Quarterly, 39:4, Summer 1989, pp. 211 - 223

 D.R. Garrison 'Critical Thinking and Self-Directed Learning in Adult Education: An Analysis of Responsibility and Control Issues.' Adult Education Quarterly, 42: 3, Spring 1992, 136-148

Chere Campbell Gibson 'Distance Education: On Focus and Future.' Adult Education Quarterly 42: 3 Spring 1992, 167-179

  Willard D. Callender, Jr. 'Adult Education as Self-Education' Adult Education Quarterly, 42: 3, Spring 1992, 156

 Maxine Greene. The Dialectic of Freedom. Adult Education Quarterly 39: 4 Summer 1989, 246-248 ___________________________

notes:

 Within the last fifty years, adult education has become a job oriented pursuit of credentials.2 Brookfield3 argues that, interpreted politically, self-directed learning contributes to the 'critical practice of adult education.'

"Most adult educators who stand behind the concept of self-direction do so because they sense that there is something about this form of practice that dignifies and respects people and their experience and that tries to break with authoritarian forms of education." They rationalize that through methods of self-direction, "adults gain an increasing sense that they are in control of their own lives."

It is important to emphasize the political implications of self-directed learning. It is important to gain 'political clarity,' an awareness of the individual's standing against repressive interests

 Self-directed learning as an 'emancipatory' idea: self-direction as an inherently political idea, an oppositional, counter-hegemonic force.Adult learning as self-directed learning is concerned with personal growth.

Political (concerning power and control) implications of self-direction in adult education: control over definitions, processes and evaluations of learning rests with the people who are trying to learn and not with external authorities.

 Learning is a function of learning experiences which are best evaluated and assessed by the learner.

Self-direction as a stand against repressive interests Self-direction as part of a cultural tradition that emphasizes the individual's standing against repressive interests... self directed learning of individuals and of groups is a danger for every repressive force... we must insist on this self-direction. Radical change in social, moral, aesthetic and political affairs is often the outcome of a process of self-directed learning in opposition to the educational message imposed from without. "Intense private study is one of the oldest, most honored, and productive historical forms of adult education."

 Self-directed learning, critical practice, and American culture "In the contemporary literature of adult education, the most common approach towards developing a critical practice of adult education focuses on explicating the adult educational relevance of the work of European critical theorists and political economists, especially Jurgen Habermas (Theory of Communicative Action a discussion of the merging of European critical theory with American pragmatism) and perhaps less prominently, Gramsci.

Paulo Freire -advocate for more democratic and just social order- contributed to adult education in the United States.

 We have learned from activist adult educators (Horton and Freire) that one must start where people are - confront them with 'inequitable political realities'- make them see that without realizing it themselves, they are actually involved in collusions with those inequitable realities. A critical practice of education in the United States is based on European memories. "....the sources of European critical theory are to be found in responses to the destruction of the Workers' Councils after the First World War, the decline of the Weimar Republic, the rise of Stalinism, the spread of fascism, the Holocaust, the corruptions of social democracy."

The cultural value that Americans claim as their own is 'individualism.' Individualism- with sufficient effort, each individual in the society can create a world compatible with his intincts and desires. The dark side - the individual indulges in a narcissitic self-absorption which cuts him off from the rest of humanity, communitarian spirit and interdependence. In the context of adult education, individualism is interpreted as self-direction. Emphasis is on the need for people to take responsibility for framing their choices and making their decisions. 17

main idea behind adult education... the goals... that technologies provide the means for people... enable people to be more in control of their own lives.  Adult learning... learning how to learn... is a necessary part adaptation to a changing environment and to cope with the demands of a changed society.

Inspired by Lindeman and his ideas, Knowles popularized the concept of learner-centered education for adults. In his book entitled The Modern Practice of Adult Education, he defined the term 'andragogy' as "the art and science of helping adults learn."7

 

 Definition of adult education  "adult education is each and every adult's intentional efforts at self-education, alone and with others, in all human situations, including occasions where the self-educator is facilitating the learning efforts of other self-educators."18 Two phases of adult education : calculative 'willful' learning and meditative 'stillful' learning.19 The aim of willful learning is the acquisiton of knowlege in specific areas and the openness to "learning in all domains."22 The aim of stillful learning is the acknowledgement and revelation of the self in the form of feelings and ideas. "As children, and for too long thereafter, we are asked to be learner-pupils to other educators' lessons." 20 "...curriculum we call life."21 "Learning is a way of being."23 "Self-educating is an attitude and a practice."23 The needs for adults to learn is connected to the new paradigm of a wholistic educational philosophy. Tie in with brain physiology and the biological basis of learning. Brain based learning for children is the basis for effective adult learning. The 'living word' of fellowship and freedom, manifest in the encouragement by teachers. Emphasis was on competency in life. As well as having a thorough knowledge of some subject, teachers would have 'nourishing' attitudes, energetic spirit, and behavior exemplifying mutual student-teacher respect. According to Malcolm Knowles, Lindeman was the "prophet of modern adult educational theory."6 Inspired by Lindeman and his ideas, Knowles popularized the concept of learner-centered education for adults.

 

 As a result of the expansion of communications and information technology in recent years, educational institutions for adult education are becoming more effective in facilitating learning.8

1. (Clay Warren, "Andragogy and N.F.S. Grundtvig: A Critical Link," Adult Education Quarterly, 39:4, Summer 1989, 211 - 223)

6. Ibid., 213

 7. Ibid., 212

8. Chere Campbell Gibson 'Distance Education: On Focus and Future.' Adult Education Quarterly 42: 3 Spring 1992, 167-179

'adult education' is concerned with people's need to be more in control of their own lives. Adult educators are concerned with the learner's 'empowerment', 'emancipation' and 'self-direction.' In a spirit of 'freedom' and 'fellowship, they trust and encourage the learner to take responsibility for his own education and growth through learning. Spiritual freedom is necessary for the development of an individual's natural sense of moral responsibility. Through the pedagogical methods of 'adult education,' adult educators provide the means for people to be more in control of their own lives. In order to adapt to the rapidly changing demands for survival in a complex world, the individual today depends on his capacity for both calculative 'willful learning' and meditative 'stillful learning.'Willard D. Callender, Jr. 'Adult Education as Self-Education' Adult Education Quarterly, 42: 3, Spring 1992

 

11. Book Review, Maxine Greene. The Dialectic of Freedom. Adult Education Quarterly 39: 4 Summer 1989, 246-248 

The rising need for adult education has resulted in an increasing number of opportunities for 'distance education' in the form of university extension programs and correspondence courses. Innovations in communication technology have provided opportunities for people who are otherwise limited because of their location or their family and job commitments. Defined as "each and every adult's intentional efforts at self-education ... in all human situations,"( Willard D. Callender, Jr. 'Adult Education as Self-Education' Adult Education Quarterly, 42: 3, Spring 1992, 156) 

 

 The rising need for adult education has resulted in an increasing number of opportunities for 'distance education' in the form of university extension programs and correspondence courses. Innovations in communication technology have provided opportunities for people who are otherwise limited because of their location or their family and job commitments. Defined as "each and every adult's intentional efforts at self-education ... in all human situations,"9 'adult education' is concerned with people's need to be more in control of their own lives. Adult educators are concerned with the learner's 'empowerment', 'emancipation' and 'self-direction.' In a spirit of 'freedom' and 'fellowship, they trust and encourage the learner to take responsibility for his own education and growth through learning. Spiritual freedom is necessary for the development of an individual's natural sense of moral responsibility. Through the pedagogical methods of 'adult education,' adult educators provide the means for people to be more in control of their own lives. In order to adapt to the rapidly changing demands for survival in a complex world, the individual today depends on his capacity for both calculative 'willful learning' and meditative 'stillful learning.'10

 Through willful learning the individual learns to acquire knowlege in specific areas and to be open to learning in all areas. Willful learning is necessary in order to adapt to a changing environment and to cope with the demands of a changing society. Through 'stillful learning' the individual learns to acknowledge and reveal his true 'self' as manifest in his feelings and ideas. Stillful learning is necessary in order to understand one's true nature and to understand the nature of others. Both willful learning and stillful learning are essential for education in freedom and fellowship - 'adult education' and education generally. Considered a separate discipline by 'adult educators,' adult education involves the same issues as education generally.

 The terms 'child' and 'adult' refer to different stages in the development of the individual as a whole person. The issue of educational reform for adults is the same as the issue for educational reform for children. In keeping with the moralistic paradigm, the issue of educational reform for 'adult education' is concerned with a quest for new and different authorities.

Whether the learners are adults or children, learning is most effective when it is based on the wholistic functioning of the brain.

 "As children, and for too long thereafter, we are asked to be learner-pupils to other educators' lessons."(Willard D. Callender, Jr. 'Adult Education as Self-Education' Adult Education Quarterly, 42: 3, Spring 1992, 156)