Adult Learning Theories Using Theorist Knowles & Dewey

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Adult Learning Theories Using Theorist Knowles & Dewey, John Dewey: The later works 1938—1939, Vol. 13 (pp. 1—62). Carbondale, IL: SIU Press.

Over half a century ago, Dewey (1938) expressed the belief that all genuine education comes through experience (Dewey 1938). Since then, many educators have struggled with the complex implications of that simply stated notion. Recognizing its complexity, Dewey advised using those cases in which we find there is a real development of desirable [experiences] and to find out how this development took place (p. 4) and using this new understanding to guide our efforts at teaching and learning.

The notion of inquiry appears in many places in Dewey’s work, though he began to refer to it using that term only in his later writings. In Experience and Education (1939/1991), Dewey wrote, “the immediate and direct concern of an educator is … with the situations in which interaction takes place” (Dewey 1938)

Dewey writes of a “new education,” wherein, rather than learning from “texts and teachers,” students learn from experience and there is “active participation by the students in the development of what is taught.”   Dewey argues that this model breaks down the barrier between school and the rest of a student’s life, making a more fluid usefulness of knowledge gained in and outside of school.  It only seems logical that students will invest more in knowledge that they have created themselves and can share with others in many areas of life.  It gives the students the chance to become both teacher and learner.

Preparing for full lives as citizens and individuals; embedding inclusion, teamwork, creativity and innovation and to live rich and fulfilling lives as citizens and individuals, learners must be prepared for and have access to choices that affect their futures. But the purpose for learning does not lie only in the future; skills, knowledge, and experiences must have meaning in the present, too. Dewey believed skills must be useful in the here and now (Dewey 1938) Knowles, M. 1980. The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy. Englewood Cliffs: Cambridge.

The theory of andragogy was defined by Malcolm Knowles, who often has been referred to as the “father of andragogy.” He was one of the world’s leaders in the area of adult education.

The andragogical model designed by .............


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