Adults learn through levels of self-directed learning.
I believe that adults are self-directed learners as a whole. Adult learners have a natural level of curiosity. Even though most adult learning occurs based on an event that happened in their lives, the adults make the conscious choice to learn. The levels of self-directedness are related directly to the student’s maturity. Every adult comes from a different background and his or her knowledge is directly related to personal experiences. Motivation is related to the urgency felt toward the knowledge given. Adults need to be given the opportunity to use the problem solving skills learned. If the knowledge has no basis for need in the adult’s life, he or she will not retain it or make much effort to learn it. Two theorists that I admire on the concept of self-directed learning are Malcolm Knowles and Sheran Merriam.
Education and knowledge can transform individual lives and entire communities.
I believe that education and knowledge can transform lives. To transform one’s life, a teacher needs to help the student figure out what his or her frame of reference is and help the student to reframe his or her habits of mind and point of view. Effective learning does not always come from a positive experience but for effective reflection. Critical reflection is central to transformational learning. By teaching a student the knowledge to transform his or her life, it starts a pay-it forward situation. Before long, the community as a whole begins to reap the benefits of transformational learning. I also believe that you must teach a student to survive in the new environment. People coming out of poverty do not know the hidden rules of the middle class. The education for these students must include these rules as well as material. In this situation, the teacher and the student are in a horizontal or equal relationship. I like to tell my students that the educational experience is much like going on a road trip. The student is the one in the driver’s seat. The student determines how fast or how slow the learning process is. The teacher is the one holding the map. He or she knows exactly where the learning process needs to go. Without the student choosing to embark on the learning experience, the learning will go nowhere. Three theorists that I admire on the concept of transformational learning are Jack Merizow, Ruby Payne and Paulo Freire.
Education needs to include personal accountability and self-advocacy.
Choices always have consequences. Positive choices have positive consequences and negative choices have negative consequences. One must learn to take responsibility to for actions and learn accountability. Unless a student can learn accountability, he or she will always be a victim. Victim thinking inspires mediocrity. To excel, one must be unafraid to fail. Many very successful people, including Albert Einstein and Walt Disney, were considered failures at one point in their lives. Taking responsibility for actions and not getting hung up in the blame game are keys to finding long term success. I hope that each of my students can learn how to be an advocate for his or her needs. I try to model behavior that inspires this behavior. I take many of my beliefs from the theorists I admire, Alfred Adler and the authors of The Oz Principle, Roger Conners, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman.