Four Invaluable Things Adult Education Practitioners Must Learn From 4 Dead Educators
Being a good adult ed teacher requires hard work.
How would rate (on a scale 1 to 5 ) the quality of your teaching or adult education (AE) classes?
Are you feeling great about your lesson facilitation approaches?
Maybe, you wouldn’t want anyone to know your honest answers to the above questions. I feel you. I have taught a few crappy lessons, too.
As an instructional coach, I know first hand that creating a good learning experience for learners takes hard work. Yes, I do know that.
Start with the four invaluable principles below. Believe me, mastering these four things will get you ahead of the adult teaching game.
1. Andragogy by Malcolm Knowles (1935–1997)
Andragogy is the first thing an adult teacher must understand. Without a good grasp of this theory, nothing else matters. In AE, everything comes down to how adults learn. Doesn’t it?
Knowles, the father of adult education clearly demonstrated how adults learn differently from children. So knowing what adult learners need and the way they learn best is your key to successful teaching.
2. Constructivism by Jean Piaget (1896 – 1980):
Being able to create a learning environment, that is based on constructivist principles, really sets AE instructors apart. I can’t make that up.
Even more, creating opportunities for learners to manipulate content, to engage in meaningful discussions, and to complete relevant projects is critical to effective learning.
3. The 9 Events of Instructions by Robert Gagne (1916- 2002).
This is the best-kept secret in traditional AE. I’ve got to let you in on it.
Actually, one of the most fundamental elements of excellent teaching is structure. Gagne’s framework offers just that. It does it by providing a clear road map for lesson implementation. You can find the 9 events here.
4. Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) by Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934)
Being able to gauge where learners stand in their learning process is crucial. Knowing when learners are stuck in the ZPD allows instructors to provide just in time scaffolding to take them to the next step.
That way, learners won’t struggle too much, can’t complain the lesson is too easy, and therefore won’t give up.
To sum up, knowing your content is good; but how you teach it makes all the difference. What are other ideas do you have? Feel free to add your two cents.
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