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Adult Learning Theory: Andragogy Essay

1030 words - 4 pages

When discussing the adult learning theory, andragogy is the best model for higher learning in adult education. Andragogy comes from the Greek word aner which means man and agogus which means leading (Knowles, 1980). The full translation means learning of adults. Andragogy was first used in the 1800s by a German teacher named Alex Kapp (Wang, 2011). It would not be until the late 1960s that a professor by the name of Malcolm S. Knowles would introduce andragogy to North America in a published article. The article shows that andragogy gives adults control over their learning and takes them out of the traditional teacher directed learning (Knowles, 1980). This adult theory is supported in three ways starting with the differences between andragogy and traditional learning, why adults favor andragogy, and how the andragogy program works better for adult education.
The traditional learning theory in use today in our educational system is called pedragogy. The term has become known as child learning after translation. Upon the founding of adult learning, the traditional pedragogy model has been less beneficial than the Andragogy model. During the initial setup of the system around the 1920s, adult learners rejected the strategies of learning like a child (Knowles, 1980). The main problem is that the pedragogy model suppress the feeling of independence and control. Within the andragogy model adults gain independence and control over what they learn. Its is known that adults are responsible enough to manage their lives so they are more than capable of managing their education (Marriam, 2001). These differences have led to the idea of an educational system in which the students starts in the pedragogy model and move to the andragogy model when they reach adulthood. Once in this phase, the objective is to make use of previous knowledge and experiences and builds from that base (Wang, 2011).
It is this idea of an educational system that has adults favoring andragogy. Adults also favor this theory based on the five assumptions presented in adult learners as someone that 1) is independent and can manage their own learning, 2) has many life experiences to share with others, 3) has needs related to changing social roles, 4) is a problem solver and wants to apply any gained knowledge fast, 5) is internally motivated to learn (Merriam, 2001). These assumption show what a civilized adult represents and why andragogy is appealing. The adult learning theory’s mental aspect is another reason why it is favored. Psychological effects of an adult classroom climate make the learners feel a sense of acceptance, support, and respect (Knowles, 1980). The learners can learn in a less traditional climate and not have to worry about being contained like a child. Besides these two points, motivation also drives adults to set goals and to accomplish them. One of the main tenets of this theory is that learning is achieved through motivation (Pew, 2007). ...

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