Characteristics of Adults and Young People as Learners

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The Characteristics of adults and young people as learners
In this article we will consider the characteristics of young people and adults as learners. We will touch on the three main theories of teaching, identify and expand on three factors that have been identified as motivating adult learners and which the savvy teacher can use to increase the motivation of the learner. We will briefly consider five barriers that can affect a learner’s participation and or learning, looking at three of them in more detail together with some apt and practical support strategies to assist the learner and finally consider and outline the differences between pedagogical and andragogical models of learning. Three main theories of teaching

A)Behaviourism- education based on the principle of “stimulus response” i.e. that all behaviour is caused by external stimuli (operant conditioning) There is no need to consider the internal consciousness or mental states of the learner. The learner is a blank canvas and passive, responding to stimuli both positive and negative which will bring about repeated predicted responses. Notable contributors to this theory are John B Watson, Ivan Pavlov, B.F. Skinner E. L. Thorndike and Bandura and Tolman

B) Humanism – an education theory based on a paradigm /philosophy / pedagogical approach based on the belief that learning is a personal act to fulfil one’s potential. Learning is centred on the student and adapted to the personality of the student; The Teacher here takes the role of a facilitator. This theory emerged in the 1960’s and emphasises a focus on human freedom, dignity and potential. Thus a human will act within a framework of values and self requirements. Main proponents of this theory are Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow whose hierarchy of needs as become an accepted theory worldwide.


C)Cognitivism – An impersonal view of the learner, who is viewed as an information processor (a human computer) a theory that gained precedence in...
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