Learning is a lifelong process and it creates various expectations for an individual regardless of the environment where learning occurs. This process creates many experiences both positive and negative which an individual can apply to novel situations in the future. It is not only restricted to classroom settings but occur in informal ways as well. Experiences outside the classroom may therefore seem more ‘authentic’ and grounded in ‘reality’ as is stated by (Waite & Pratt, 2011). In formal environments such as Primary and Secondary Schools, great emphasis is placed on curriculum objectives.
Adult institutions are more dynamic in nature and focuses not only on knowledge but also from experiences gained by the learner. Knowledge coupled with experience creates a meaningful journey for the adult learner and this allows the individual to have control over their learning outcomes. Stephen Brookfield acknowledges the fact that learners exhibit similar characteristics with regard to their learning. Some of these characteristics are: that “adults display a distinctive motivation towards their learning; that they prize the incorporation of their experiences, and the critical analysis of these, into the curriculum; that they possess a methodological preference for self-directed modes of learning; that they exhibit distinctively adult modes of cognition and that they experience certain predictable emotional reactions when returning to learning”, Brookfield (2003). With this integration of the learner’s experiences into the curriculum, adult instructors have to adopt new measures to adjust their strategies of delivery to actively engage the adult learner.
This assignment seeks to report the findings of an interview that was conducted with an adult learner. It highlights his learning experiences, successes, challenges and barriers and discusses the opportunities that were acquired during this process. An analysis of the findings is done within the context of Stephen Brookfield’s conception of adult learning as a lifelong, experimental process.
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PARTICIPANT INTERVIEWED
My interview was conducted with a thirty four year old, male, Mathematics teacher, who has been in the profession for ten years and is currently attending the Cyril Potter College of Education in an effort of obtain a trained teacher’s certificate. His formal education began at the Primary level followed by his Secondary years. He then migrated from his rural home at age eighteen and adopted an urban lifestyle. Subsequently, he began teaching. This movement was seen as his ‘big ticket’ out of poverty. His career choice was based on his love for the subject and for teaching students between the ages of eleven to sixteen. He recalls his Mathematics teacher in the Secondary school being able to effectively conduct her lessons by incorporating real life situations and he, like her, wanted to try to do the same in his classroom....