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Radical Philosophy of Adult Education Essay

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Updated: Jul 28th, 2020

Introduction

There have been many changes to my philosophy of adult learning over the years. As an individual, I take pride in being flexible and creative enough to try different teaching styles. Regardless of the style, I use, however, it appears to me that the key to student success is motivation. When I entered my graduate program in adult education, I was a very strong advocate of the humanist philosophy of education under which a teacher is expected to assume the role of a facilitator in the learning process and to promote learning without offering direction to the learner. Gradually, my belief has continued to change, and I am now fully convinced that a humanist philosophy does not effectively prepare a learner to fit into a fast-changing and diverse society. Unlike the learning of children, adult learning is characterized by experiences and prior learning over the adult learner’s lifetime. The older one grows, the more past experiences and prior learning they bring on current learning.

My quest for a practical and effective way to prepare adult learners has made me realize that my best alternative is to adopt a radical educational philosophy. Being a professional teacher, I hope to produce learners who can make a difference in their lives and those of others. In line with my agenda, therefore, learners are likely to benefit more if subjected to a radical educational philosophy.

Radical Adult Education

A radical adult education philosophy generally views education as a means for bringing about major political, social, and economic changes or reforms (McKinney, 2000). The most prominent philosopher of this view in recent times is Paulo Freire from Brazil. Freire draws on Marxist thinking, including the popularized Liberation Theology of the Catholic Church, and incorporates into his philosophy of education concepts such as class struggle, alienation of the working class, oppression of the masses, and political revolution. In Freire’s observation, education is used by those in power to preserve a corrupt or restrictive social system. Education is thus seen as a tool of oppression, keeping people in a particular social, political, and economic stratum. It is further blamed for dehumanizing people by not treating them as free individuals. A poorly structured education system does not capture a learner’s experience. It also does not assist learners in understanding their position in economic, political, and social situations, and does not effectively prepare them to become fully functioning adults in society.

Under the radical educational philosophy, the emphasis is placed on equality between the teacher and learner. Students are expected to work more independently, and the teacher is only there to coordinate the entire learning process.

Conclusion

My philosophy on adult education has radically changed over the years, and now more than ever, I have a strong feeling that learners must be given the autonomy to learn. In modern societies, the day to day running of state affairs is not only left to the government. Citizens are expected to be vigilant and to ensure that those in power do not only care about their selfish interests. Leadership should be accountable to its citizens, and all leaders should work hard to fulfill the pledges made to the nation. A major focus of the radical educational philosophy is to equip learners with skills that are vital for dealing with social, political, and economic changes in society.

References

McKinney, A. (2000). Real-resumes for Teachers. Fayetteville, NC: PREP Publishing.

Sharma, P. L. (2006). Adult Learning Methods. Darya Ganj, New Delhi: Sarup & Sons.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Radical Philosophy of Adult Education." July 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/radical-philosophy-of-adult-education/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Radical Philosophy of Adult Education'. 28 July.

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