Understanding Adult Education and Training: 2nd edition by Griff Foley

By Griff Foley

A complete creation to grownup schooling.

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TEACHING FUNCTIONS Possibly the most useful outcome of the teacher effectiveness research was that it documented some of what teachers actually do. It showed that they do not just present information but perform a number of roles or functions. The teacher effectiveness work also showed that what researchers called ‘indirect teaching’ (student work organised by teachers) contributed more to students’ learning than direct (didactic) teaching (Shulman 1986: 12). This insight has been developed by other educators.

Two of the most influential theoretical developments in adult education of the past 40 years — self-directed learning and reflection-on-action (see chapter 3) — are both located within the interpretive paradigm. Both these theoretical ‘products’ emphasise the way individuals make meanings and the capacity of individuals to become more proficient learners by ‘learning how to learn’ — by coming to understand and act on their own learning processes. The critical paradigm Although the interpretive paradigm recognises that individual understanding is shaped by culture and social structure, the emphasis in the interpretive framework is still on the way individuals construct meaning.

Riegel (1976) argues for a dialectical understanding in which there is a constant interplay between the changing and developing person and the changing and evolving society. A third view holds that the life course itself is a social construction: that is, that the way in which we frame and understand the very notion of life course cannot be removed from the time, place and culture in which we live. For example McAdams (1996) sees identity as reflexively self-authored or constructed. This leads him to examine the life course as a narrative or story.

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