September 18, 2010.
Notion of adult learning: A progressive optic
Webter’s New Word Dictionary (1973) defines the word education as “asystematic study of the methods and theories of teaching and learning.” According to this definition and putting it in our adult learning context, there are four critical actors necessary in order toget a whole education process: (1) methods, eclectic and in a constant change historically demonstrated, (2) theories, which are philosophies and logical analysis of the process, (3) teaching,considered adult educators main goal and, (4)learning, the reason of humanity evolution and behavior. Starting from this basic but very complete game of words, I would like to explain why the progressive viewof adult education could be a full representation of adult learning, performance & development.
First of all, t is important to put in clear that one of the factors that make a real differencebetween a professional adult educator from a nonprofessional one, is as simple as get the correct answer of the question why, because the answer of this question means to have a philosophy. AsDarkenwald and Merriam (1982) explain, “Philosophy does not equip a person with knowledge about what to do or how to do; it is concerned with the why of education and with the logical analysis of thevarious elements of the educational process” (p.37)
It is exactly in this point when progressive movement appears as one of the most complete answers to the why question.
About personal andsocial improvement, which is the aim of progressive, Darkenwald and Merriam (1982) state “Educators who are equally concerned with individual and societal development sees education as intimatelyrelated to its social context and the learner’s everyday life and experiences.”(p.55). first point, progressive is inclusive and cannot be real if is not a relation between individual growth and social...