Approaching Theory in Adult Education: Humanism and Andragogy An analysis of adult learning theory serves as the springboard from which educators can begin to build a useful theoretical framework that focuses on the field of contemporary adult education. Both humanism and andragogy as theoretical approaches offer distinctive strengths and weaknesses, both function as a point of reference for practitioners. This paper examines the synthesis of humanistic and andragogical theory as an integrated approach in adult education, training and professional development. Introduction
This paper attempts to explore two major theories of adult learning (humanism) and adult education (andragogy). Much about adult education as a discipline and the current context within which it operates is dependent upon an understanding of humanistic learning. Similarly, fostering adult education has brought education practitioners into conflict with some of the prevailing beliefs about andragogical practices. Therefore, educators who make a deliberate choice to cultivate humanistic adult learning should explore the underlying assumptions inherent in both humanistic and andragogical learning theory. Brief History
Adult education is a hot topic. There are thousands of books and articles written on variations of the subject and a wide body of research from which educators and learners draw guidance. In reality, however, no single theory or set of theories provides the primary foundation for adult learning and adult education. Education theories originate from an integration of a wide range of disciplines, encompass a myriad of overlapping concepts and embody a broad variety of features. Similarly, education practitioners represent a diversity of academic fields and backgrounds, which also lends to an interdisciplinary theoretical framework for understanding and contributing to education theory. The principles of adult education theory mirrored many of the values articulated by the early Hebrews, Greeks, Renaissance Europeans, and various other educators and scientists who have attempted to study the human condition. Plato (1967), an early Greek scholar, teacher, and orator, worked his whole life on philosophical inquiry to develop the theory of dialectic (Golden, Berquist, & Coleman, 1997a). Plato has been called the original advocate of learning theory based on intellect. His student, Aristotle (1998), on the other hand, was a biologist, philosopher, and lawyer whose empirical observations became the basis for his scientific approach to rhetoric and theory of logical proof (Golden, Berquist, & Coleman, 1997b). Aristotle has been referred to as the original role model for learning theory based upon experience as the origin of knowledge and understanding. Ironically, Aristotle’s penchant for scientific investigation created a valuable resource for continuing education based on developmental education, life-long learning, and philosophy of life (Mayer, 1966). Many centuries after Plato and Aristotle’s day, adult education entered an era of formal recognition and growth with the establishment of university departments of adult education in the early 1900’s. At this time, the first doctorate degrees in adult learning and the creation of the American Association of Adult Education (Knowles, 1977) also came about. With such social change the progressive education movement evolved. Initially through the efforts of educational reformers and then through the work of theorists, such as Dewey (1938), Rousseau (1782), Froebel (1885) and Lindeman (1921), progressive education became synonymous with life. Lindeman (1956) stated, "all of life is learning, for this reason, education can have no end." It was around the turn of the 20th century that the prior educational focus on classroom management, curriculum, and competency assessment turned toward student-centered education, individualism, and experiential process...
References: Aristotle. (1998). The Nicomachean ethics. NY: Oxford University Press.
Bernstein, R. (1967). “John Dewey.” In P. Edwards (Ed.), The encyclopaedia of philosophy (Vols. 1 & 2)(pp.380-385). NY: Macmillan.
Brookfield, S. D. (1983). Community adult education: A conceptual analysis. Adult Education Quarterly, 33(3), 154-60.
Brookfield, S. D. (1986) Understanding and facilitating adult learning. A comprehensive analysis of principles and effective practices. SF: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Buber, M. (1958). I and thou (2nd rev. ed.). R.G. Smith, Trans. NY: Scribner.
Cissna, K. & Anderson, R. (1994). The 1957 Martin Buber - Carl Rogers dialogue, as dialogue. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Winter94, 34(1), 11-46.
Combs, A.W. (1982). Affective education or none at all. Educational Leadership, 39(7), 494-497.
Cross, K. P. (1979). “Adult learner Characteristics, needs, and interests.” In R. E. Peterson and Associates, Lifelong learning in America. SF: Jossey-Bass.
Day, C. & Baskett, H. K. (1982). Discrepancies between intentions and practice: Reexamining some basic assumptions about adult and continuing professional education. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 1(2), 143-155.
Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (1994). Handbook of qualitative research. California: Sage.
Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. NY: Kappa Delta Pi.
Elias, J.L. & Merriam, S. B. (1995). Philosophical foundations of adult education (2nd ed.). Malabar, FL: Krieger.
Froebel, F. (1885). The education of man. (Translated by Jarvis, J.). NY: A. Lovell and Co.
Gessner, R. (ed.). (1956) The democratic man. Selected writings of Eduard C. Lindeman. Boston: Beacon Press.
(1997a). “Chapter 2: Plato’s moral-philosophical view of rhetoric.” In The rhetoric of western thought (6th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
(1997b). “Chapter 3: The scientific approach of Aristotle.” In The rhetoric of western thought (6th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
Grimsley, R. (1973) The philosophy of Rousseau. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hartree, A. (1984). Malcolm Knowles’s theory of andragogy: A critique. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 3(3), 203-210.
Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. B. (1959). The motivation to work (2nd ed.). NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Kliebart, H. M. (1987) The struggle for the American curriculum 1893-1958. NY: Routledge.
(1977). A history of the adult education movement in the United States (2nd ed). Melbourne, FL: Krieger.
(1984). The adult learner: A neglected species, (3rd ed.). London: Gulf.
(1980). The modern practice of adult education: From pedagogy to andragogy. Chicago: Follett.
(1986). Using learning contract: Practical approaches to individualizing and structuring learning. SF: Jossey-Bass.
Knowles, M. S. & Associates. (1984). Andragogy in action. SF: Jossey-Bass.
Knowles, M. S., Holton, E. F. I., & Swanson, R. A. (1998). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resources development, (5th ed.). Houston, TX: Gulf.
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.
Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge Press.
Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social sciences. New York: Harper & Row.
Lindeman, E. (1921). The community. An introduction to the study of community leadership and organization. NY: Association Press.
Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.
(1970). Religions, values, and peak experiences. NY: Viking.
(1998). Toward a psychology of being, (3rd ed.). NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Mayer, F. (1966). A history of educational thought. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill Books, Inc.
Patterson, C. H. ( 1973). Humanistic education. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Plato. (1967). Gorgias. (Trans. By W. R. M. Lamb.) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Pratt, D. D. (1984). “ Andragogical assumptions: Some counter-intuitive logic.” In Proceedings of the Adult Education Research Conference, No. 25. Raleigh, NC: North Caroline State University.
Quigley, A. (1997). Rethinking literacy education. The critical need for practice-based change. SF: Jossey-Bass.
Rippa, A. (1997). Education in a free society. An American history. NY: Longman.
(1951). Client-centered therapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
(1959). A theory of therapy, personality, and interpersonal relationships, as developed in the client-centered framework. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: The study of a science (Vol.III)(pp. 184-256). NY: McGraw Hill.
(1961). On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
(1969). Freedom to learn. Columbus, OH: Merrill.
Rogers, C. R. & Freiberg, H. J. (1994). Freedom to learn (3rd ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill/Macmillan.
Rousseau, J. J. (1782) Reveries of the solitary walker. Translated with an introduction by P. France. London: Penguin.
Rowan, J. (1987). A guide to humanistic psychology. London: Association for Humanistic Psychology Publications.
Skinner, B. F. (1973). Beyond freedom and dignity. London: Penguin.
Taylor, F. W. (1911). The Principles of Scientific Management. NY: Harper Bros.
Tennant, M. (1988). Psychology and adult learning. London: Routledge.
Thorndike, E. L. (1910). The contribution of psychology to education. The Journal of Educational Psychology, 1, 5-12. [Online document]. Retrieved on 11/08/03 from URL http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Thorndike/education.htm.
Valett, R. E. (1977). Humanistic education. St Louis, MO: Mosby.
Van Deurzen-Smith, E. (1990). Existential therapy. London: Society for Existential Analysis Publications.
Watson, J. B. (1913). Psychology as the behavourist views it. Psychological Review, 20, 158. [Online document]. Retrieved on 11/10/03 from URL http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Watson/intro.htm.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document