Adult Learners

Reflective Paper

Adult education requires a proper method of teaching that would motivate the adult learners and make them clearly understand what is taught. However, any method of teaching of adult people requires effective planning to enhance collaboration between the adults and the instructor. This paper provides a reflection on the impact of personal learning history on my occupation as a trainer of instructors of English as a second language (ESL) studied by the adults basing it on the constructivist theory.

Extent to which I Identify Myself as a Professional in Learning

I believe I am a professional in the field of learning and development as I employ effective methods in training the adult facilitators. When I was a student, I was always inquisitive during classes. Not a single class ever passed without me asking the teacher a question that was somewhat related to the topic presented but in a different context. Several teachers told me to stick to the concepts taught in class since those were the ones that would be tested during exams. Nevertheless, I was very eager to engage in the process of learning by asking questions. Consequently, I found myself favoring teachers that went beyond the curriculum to provide real examples of the concepts taught. As I advanced in my career, I embraced this collaborative method of learning, which involves numerous interactions (Clark & Rossiter, 2008).

My approach to teaching is aligned with the narrative learning theory. First, I tell stories to the adult learners, which helps in evoking the experiences they have had. Telling the stories is an important procedure in adult education as it engages learners more and improves their cognitive ability. It also helps to activate imagination (Abdi & Kapoor, 2009). Second, I allow the facilitators to tell their personal stories. This approach allows them to link the concepts learnt to their personal experiences.

Description of My Profession

 

Training adult facilitators for ESL classes is a delicate occupation since it requires unique methods aimed at helping the learners to understand the concepts taught. For instance, it involves reading aloud. This exercise permits the adult learners to relate with fellow students and the facilitator. The facilitator can also raise open-ended queries so that the students are able to provide responses based on how they comprehend the concept. The facilitator is required to do their best to assist the adult learners in understanding the material. Thus, reading aloud permits the students to make connections between their experience and concept taught (Jarvis, 2010). Besides, many ESL learners experience difficulties with comprehending stories that are not read aloud.

The implementation of read-aloud strategy motivates adult learners to put more efforts into learning foreign language. When the adult learners can read aloud in the classroom, they feel good about themselves, and this serves as a motivation for other students who cannot yet read aloud. Adult learners tend to comprehend the ideas through reading aloud during lessons better as compared to reading silently (Olaniyi, 2015). For instance, reading aloud permits the instructor to retell the story several times with the adult learners being involved in the discussion. As the instructors perform these activities, they can ask the learners to share their opinion concerning the content.

The teaching profession includes the use of a step-by-step instruction by the teacher to facilitate the learning process. The teacher should convey information on a new concept in a slow manner. There are numerous exercises when the teacher instructs the adult facilitators to assume the role of an adult learner (Rose, 2011). This helps the facilitators to understand how they should conduct classes and also know how to encourage proper behavior in the classroom.

Life Experiences and Education that Shaped Me in This Profession

Throughout my high school education, I experienced difficulties with understanding technical concepts taught by the teachers during lessons. Thus, I sought other methods to help me understand them. Often, I asked fellow students that were good at particular subjects to explain various technical subjects. This interactive process of learning was effective as it helped me understand the material and develop (Wahlgren & Mariager-Anderson, 2016). For instance, mathematics was especially hard for me. My parents often scolded me for getting a D in many end-of-term examinations. Once, my father told me that all his siblings including himself were good at math, and he could not understand why I failed in studying the subject. Nevertheless, I could not just fathom the calculations.

Due to the difficulties I encountered, I sought help from one student that was good at mathematics. After classes, he helped me make different calculations and offered advice on the method he used to excel at the subject. It was this peer that introduced me to study groups. At first, I was hesitant since the groups involved meeting during free hours and solving various mathematical problems. The groups discussed what had already been taught in class and also went further to discuss topics not yet covered. After some time of engaging in those study groups, I started noticing differences. I could now easily handle math assignments and was even in a position to help other students. This experience made me see the difference between a problem-posing system of education and the traditional banking one.

Things I Need to Learn

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First, I need to learn more information regarding cognitive processes. Numerous external stimuli impact behavior of a person via their cognitive ability. Cognitive aspects partly control the environmental processes that will be perceived, the meaning that they will imply, the lasting effects they will have (if any), as well as the emotional and inspirational impact they have (Yilmaz, 2011).

Furthermore, I need to gather more data on the actions of fellow learners as they function as social prompts. I will achieve this by learning Vygotsky classroom strategies. The effect of interchanges and discussions on triggering and guiding the behavior of learners is fully discussed in Vygotsky classroom approaches. By exemplification, an instructor can help students to engage in self-reflection, converse on specific themes, and be inquisitive or passive (Abdi & Kapoor, 2009). Hence, instructors that implement Vygotsky suggested strategies have higher prospects of being successful in defining themes that adult learners would understand.

Besides, I need to learn more about observational learning. The actions of instructors have the ability to prompt and guide the discussion of particular educational themes since learners also acquire knowledge via observation (Clark & Rossiter, 2008). This type of learning permits learners to increase their understanding of the material. Thus, I will need to learn social learning techniques and the impact that culture has on the learning process.

Aspects of My Education that Shape Effective Instructional Design

Imagination has been a primary element that has shaped my notion of effective instructional design. Allowing learners to express their views regarding the concepts taught in class provides them with deep insight (Jarvis, 2010). Imagination is encouraged when learners are granted freedom during the learning process. Quite often, teachers focus on the curriculum provided by the relevant authorities and thus confine their teachings to the syllabus. However, an effective instructional design allows learners to go beyond the curriculum and ask questions that may not be directly related to what they are taught in class. Thus, this approach is aligned with the constructivist theory postulating that knowledge is not acquired from people with higher level of knowledge, but is constructed by individuals as they make sense of their experiential world.

Connection of what is taught with the reality is another important factor that promotes efficient learning because it facilitates intellectual growth in learners. The problem-posing system of education is an example of effective instructional design as it allows the learners to describe concepts that may not be taught during class (Olaniyi, 2015). Moreover, the students can use what they have learnt in class to solve real-life situations.

How Life Experiences Inform My Understanding of Effective Teaching

Problem-posing is an approach that focuses on the interaction between the instructor and the learner and primarily constitutes effective teaching. Nevertheless, different people learn in different ways. Throughout my learning history, I met people who needed only to listen to the instructor during class for them to understand the material. Those people did not require remedial education to help them understand the concepts better. However, some students in my classes needed to attend remedial streams to understand themes taught in class. An interesting fact is that the performance by these students improved considerably. However, some gifted students that do not put much effort into the learning process perform just as good or even better compared to students that have to study hard even after the classes. Moreover, the impact of the method of instruction on different students differs significantly. Some students learn better when the instructor uses the banking system of education, which does not require much interaction, whereas others learn better when the problem-posing method, which involves much interaction, is used. Thus, instructors should be cognizant of the individual needs and preferences of learners. This awareness will help them adopt methods that will ensure better results (Rose, 2011).

What Being a Learning Facilitator Means to Me

I derive much satisfaction from my career as an instructor of adult facilitators because I realize that this process is really significant. It helps adults that abandoned studying at school due to various reasons to resume their education and attain pertinent academic credentials that will aid them in attaining better quality of life. Realization of the fact that my career helps people that lost hope intensifies my desire to perform my work even better. In the past, I did not consider a career of a teacher since I perceived it to be inferior compared to other careers. Nevertheless, as I advanced in my education, I was greatly inspired by several teachers along the way. The daily speeches that were given by the teachers telling how life will change when people take certain actions develop in me a desire to help other students. At one point in my learning history, I worked hard on certain subjects to impress a teacher that had inspired me. Hence, while conducting my daily tasks, I hope that during my career of a teacher trainer, I will make many adult facilitators work hard to impress me by being an exemplary teacher.

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How Conceptualization Impacts My Learning Goals

Conceptualization helps me become a better teacher trainer by gaining knowledge through teaching. Experience is a major component in adult education (Wahlgren & Mariager-Anderson, 2016). Thus, by teaching the adult learners, I gain knowledge through the interaction, which helps me attain my goal of becoming a better teacher trainer. Both Piaget and Vygotsky suggest that cognitive capacity declines with age. Therefore, reinforcing mechanisms are essential in helping adults improve their cognitive ability. Social interaction provides a favorable platform for conceptualizing themes taught.

What It Means to Me to Be a Learner

The process of learning never ends. The completion of one stage marks the start of a different level of learning (Yilmaz, 2011). Moreover, as postulated by the constructivist theory, learning occurs in everyday situations. A learner should be willing to hear narratives told, tell their personal story, and recognize existing stories. All these processes help learners grasp concepts better while simultaneously developing intellectually. However, learners are not people that just are waiting to be filled with information by people with high level of knowledge. Instead, they are participants of the learning process who attain knowledge by connecting the already existing knowledge with new ideas.

Learners Role

Learners have a great independent role in the learning process. During my learning years, my teachers often told us that they only provided thirty percent of the information required. The remaining seventy percent presupposed a personal initiative of the students to learn more. Therefore, students are required to conduct more research after the teacher introduces a particular concept during class. As a matter of fact, teachers only introduce learners to themes. It is the responsibility of the students to gain more information on these topics so that they understand them better (Abdi & Kapoor, 2009).

How Will My Sense of Self as a Learner Impact Me

I will always do more research on the new concepts that I learn. Once the lecturer provides a course outline for a particular course, I will visit the library and read books that have information included in the course outline. This move will enhance my learning process and ensure that I understand what the instructors teach.

Conclusion

My learning history has had a great impact on my career as a teacher trainer. It has made me adopt interactive methods of instructing when teaching. ESL classes for adults require additional strategies to help the learners understand the concepts taught by facilitators because English, which is a foreign language, is used in teaching. Reading aloud is one of the techniques that is used in ESL classes. It allows adult learners to read stories aloud, while the other learners read silently. This narrative learning comprises three major elements: storytelling by the instructor, the adults telling their personal stories, and recognizing stories. It is aligned with the constructivist theory that suggests that knowledge is constructed from meaning making other than being discovered.

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