11th Feb 2017 at 6:51 am #24192
I believe it is necessary to interrupt my articles on the principles of adult learning to, first, clarify the difference between pedagogics and andragogics as I see it. This might well trigger some interesting debates, so here it is.
Are pedagogics and andragogics the same?
Some claim that there should not be any difference in the way in which adults (andragogics) and children (pedagogics) are educated and trained. Research, however, shows that there are fundamental differences between adults and children and these differences dictate that they be educated differently. In this respect Johnson et al (2010) wrote the following: “To a degree never before understood, scientists can now demonstrate that adolescents are immature not only to the observer’s naked eye, but in the very fibres of their brains.”
The educator of both adults and children should be concerned with the totality in the learning process and the learning process takes place by means of the whole. However, research has shown that the adolescent brain continues to mature well into the twenties (Johnson et al, 2010).This impacts on the ability of a child to learn as well as on the child’s maturity of judgement.
Both adults and children learn at their own pace and at their particular aptitude for learning. Individuals differ considerably as a result of heredity, upbringing, educational opportunities, health and environmental factors. These variations should be dealt with in such a manner that each learner makes progress in accordance with his or her own learning abilities and needs.
The frontal lobes of the brain, home to key components of the neural circuitry underlying “executive functions” such as planning, working memory, and impulse control are among the last areas of the brain to mature. They may not be fully developed until halfway through the third decade of life (Johnson et al, 2010) and this should be taken into consideration when teaching children.
According to cognitive learning theory, adult students progresses from “do not know/cannot do” to “know/can do”. They learn when they are able to make connections between what they already know and what they are in the process of learning. The educator should have a definite objective and purpose with the learning. Both the educator and the students should understand and accept the objectives or outcomes and agree on the ultimate learning goal to be achieved. Furthermore, adult students are motivated by allowing them to actively take part in the learning situation.
The way children learn depends on age, level of development and brain maturity. Learning differences are also related to genetics, temperament and the environment. Children seek conditions of high emotional arousal or even conflict, whereas mature students are often internally motivated. Johnson et al (2010) differentiates between “hot” and “cold” cognition, with children being motivated by “hot cognition” while adults, if they are sufficiently mature, will settle for “cold cognition”.
Probably from the day they are born, children are on an expedition of discovery. They, initially, have no prior knowledge, experiences or even observations upon which they can build further learning. Therefore, the mental ability of the pupil should be gradually developed and the learning situation and the learning materials should be prepared with this in mind.
Adult students accept responsibility for their own learning. They do not depend strongly on social events and the contact educator. Children do not have sufficient impulse control yet, at least not consistently. Educators and parents, therefore, share the responsibility for the education and training of pupils. Research showed that pupils are more likely to listen to peers who are just a bit older than themselves rather than to adult educators (Danish Ministry of Education: 10). Although adult students also value structure and clarity, children depend on it for learning to take place. During adolescence, most people shake off their dependence on caregivers to become adults who accept responsibility for their own further development.
The adult student will accept authority only if it is justified and if it is in the student’s interest to do so. A child is not independent yet and normally accepts the authority of the adult educator.
Adult students tend to focus on the present and their immediate interests. They learn to cope with personal and work-related problems and how to improve their immediate life conditions. However, they understand the need for strategic thinking, for example that they will reap the benefits of studying now only three or four years later. The ability to wait for reward, also called “delay discounting” (Johnson et al, 2010), is not fully developed in children yet. They want to be rewarded for good performance immediately, sometimes even in advance.
In closing, research has shown that people do not mature at the same rate. Therefore, students of the same age are not equally ready to learn a particular topic, concept, skills or idea. An excellent approach in which the differences between adult learning and the education of children are taken into consideration is the Danish project where schools and vocational colleges collaborate to teach bridge-building. Training begins with the paring-up of grade 3 through grade 6 pupils to build a house on a 1:20 scale. House construction becomes more advanced with each passing year and is continued at college, until students are ready to progress to the building of bridges. The same approach is followed in other fields of study, for example catering (Danish Ministry of Education: 10).
Danish Ministry of Education. November 2005. Retention in Vocational Education in Denmark.
Johnson, S.B.; Blum, R.W.; and Giedd, J.N., 27 June 2010. Adolescent Maturity and the Brain: The Promise and Pitfalls of Neuroscience Research in Adolescent Health Policy.
http://www.ncbi.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892678. Accessed on 28/12/2015.
Nel, J.P., 2011. Design and Develop Assessment Instruments. Mentornet, Centurion.
11th Feb 2017 at 7:31 am #24217
11th Feb 2017 at 10:13 am #24216
11th Feb 2017 at 11:10 am #24215
A very long time for my sins I did Post school didactics and Andragogics on honour’s level ….. coming from an engineering background it was painful!
Now I am finding very helpful especially working in the mining community where its normal to be functionally illiterate at the age of 21…. Hence my drive with AET and the other initiative we have launched at our edu centre.
The difference between the two …..
Andragodics – … an adult will ask ….. whats in it for me?…….. if you design your learning intervention around this its works…. for example …. how did I get more than 350 AET learners though in one year …… simple have intask for a further 6 months to the programme and it works …..
To recap ….. an adult ….what’s in it for me?
11th Feb 2017 at 11:30 am #24214
11th Feb 2017 at 6:23 pm #24213
Depend on cultural background ….. and up bringing ….value sets etc
Rural children generally do not question authority ….. its only in the quasi adult / teenager years that
you will find individuals starting to question.
In terms learning I have done some reading on functional intelligence Fc versus Crystalized intelligence, which holds relevance as crystalized intelligence once again is more adult focussed…
The Wife is a pre and grade one teacher ….. working in a girls convent school for more than 20 years…. she maintains that the learning ability when tested at the age of 7 for school readiness is somehow and indicator of the girls matric results ….. something about myolin … and that after 9 …. the learning ability and iq is seemingly “fixed” this line of thought was also believed by ex communist countries whom took kids away from their mother s when young to indoctorine…..
Be that as it may ….. children generally learn easier than adults…..
12th Feb 2017 at 3:47 am #24212
12th Feb 2017 at 8:25 am #24211
Sure JC, one can bring in cultural differences, even going so far as women (adults) in certain cultures who do not question authority. There goes another assumption that there is a thing as andragogy and pedagogy.
I fully accept the results of you wife. A number of questions:
- Does learning ability mean abitly to memorise classwork? Kind of the better I am able to regurgitate textbook knowledge (other people’s answers) the better I do in the exam?
- Does it mean a young brain has better memorising abilitie? Kind of I can recall most subject information from school (because I learned easily), but cannot recall the problem I solved yesterday or last year.
12th Feb 2017 at 8:44 am #24210
Charles, thanks this is a good article.
I fully support the following:
Rogers (1951) also suggests that learning is natural “like breathing” and that it is an internal process controlled by the learner. Emery (1993, p79) comments further on “learning to learn” and on the concept of learning as practiced in the current institutions of learning at the time. He said: “in learning to learn we are learning to learn from our own perceptions; learning to accept our own perceptions as a direct form of knowledge and learning to suspect forms of knowledge that advance themselves by systematically discounting direct knowledge that people have in their life-sized range of things, event and processes”.
Question: For which is this true or false, for pedagogy or for andragogy?
The same question applies to the following claims by Rogers:
- We cannot teach another person directly: we can only facilitate learning;
- People learn significantly only those things that they perceive as being involved in the maintenance or enhancement of the structure of self;
- Experience which if assimilated would involve a change in the organisation of self tends to be resisted through denial or distortion of symbolisation, and the structure and organisation of self appear to become more rigid under threat;
- Experience which is perceived as inconsistent with the self can only be assimilated if the current organisation of self is relaxed and expanded to include it; and
- The educational system which most effectively promotes significant learning is one in which threat to the self, as learner, is reduced to a minimum”.
Maybe your response will start convincing me that children learn different than adults.
12th Feb 2017 at 7:16 pm #24209
Hannes, Cas, JC and Charles. Please form a team that can get our school teachers to discuss these topics as your points could be very useful in assisting them to understand the differences. What JC referred to was evident when I experienced a :
– different AET approach in the rural areas than what we normally have in the urban areas of the Eastern Cape
– teachers using the method of pouring water in a jug when teaching adults as if they did not come to class with some knowledge and needed to learn more about what they do not know.
– level of literacy and numeracy of South African children in Grades 3 – 5 very low. Something needs to be done at the lower levels than waking up when Grade 12 cannot perform at University or College level
12th Feb 2017 at 8:30 pm #24208
13th Feb 2017 at 4:55 am #24207
For all learning it is about the ability to execute Executive Functions which learners to at maintain and establish themselves in the real world. To keep to the topic, these eight functions apply to both so-called pedagogy and so-called andragogy.
- Paying attention
- Working memory
- impulse control
- Emotional control
- Planning and prioritizing
- Task initiation
- Shifting attention
These are indictors of how well these learners will be successful. NOT to pass grade 12, but to ‘pass’ fitting and being successful in the real world.
School systems who use only academic ie grade 12 as benchmark for success miss the essence of teaching and learning.
13th Feb 2017 at 5:51 am #24206
I have an idea that you know the answer, Cas. After all, you’ve been working with and researching this for a long time. Children start with a clean slate (unless you believe in reincarnation) and discover new things all the time. In the process they make mistakes and learn important lessons – they will touch a hot stove plate only once. A director of the CHE, in response to my question, once said that university students often still act the way small children do, therefore lecturers mostly use pedagogics!
13th Feb 2017 at 5:56 am #24205
13th Feb 2017 at 5:58 am #24204
13th Feb 2017 at 6:04 am #24203
Thank you, Charles. I will read the article. This reminds me of all the research and learning paradigms that people have created through the centuries. I am studying them now in an effort to figure out the differences. To my surprise there actually are differences, although often it is just a matter of placing the emphasis elsewhere.
13th Feb 2017 at 6:08 am #24202
13th Feb 2017 at 6:53 am #24201
Really enjoy this discussion and tend to agree with you Hannes. When I trained (back in the dark ages) it was to teach children (pedagogics) and the ongoing development and learning curve was very evident – “I do not know and I cannot do”. From here there is ongoing development and formation of individuals and individual personalities.
Having become involved in adult learning over the past 15 years I feel in some instances the child approach (pedagogics) is necessary but in other situations we have to treat the adult learner as an adult.
There is definitely a need for flexibility in our approach. I think the “learner paced” thinking of the NQF is correct when it comes to adult education for the simple reason – all adult learners do not respond the same way, are not motivated the same way and do not respond to situations the same way.
13th Feb 2017 at 7:27 am #24200
The empirical evidence given in this article convince me too, that there is a huge difference between the two perspectives (pedagogical and andragogical). This is to the main point that the learners in both scenarios are at different developmental stages. Surely even the teaching approaches will not be the same.
13th Feb 2017 at 10:16 am #24199
13th Feb 2017 at 10:17 am #24198
13th Feb 2017 at 10:19 am #24197
13th Feb 2017 at 3:34 pm #24196
On your request to expand on what child and adult learning has in common. I can approach it from many angles, but let me start with Bloom which is the most misunderstood theory in education.
Talking to educators and trainers they will tell you it is an accumulative theory and it starts with mastering of knowledge which enables the learner to comprehend, and to then apply and then to analyze and then to synthesize and the finally to evaluate. Let’s not go into the discussion about the revised version.
Now this is exactly as learning does not take place for either children and adults. Learning starts with either analyses or synthesis or evaluation.
Take for instance the thread of this discussion with is for sure a learning intervention. After you read the input of a contributor, you make a judgement call, which, in your case Hannes you expressed it as e.g. ‘They are like sponges.’ and ‘One can’t just read what you write, Cas’.
For example, you will then start playing with ideas and either confirm your thinking or start thinking of other possibilities.
Whatever your judgement is will guide your analysis and synthesis and the new gathering of knowledge and insight (comprehension) as an adult learner.
Let me now state that the above is authentic learning and all learning should be authentic. Classroom teacher-led contexts does not lead to authentic learning. If is filling an empty jar with knowledge which will be forgotten very soon.
When you observe children in authentic learning contexts you will see that they learn in the same way. For example, if you provide grade 2s with electric cells (batteries), wire, something that can act as a switch and bulbs, they will not start by saying, what do we have and the list the apparatus. (knowledge as per Bloom)
They will analyze what they have at hand which will not make sense to them and then they will verbalize their judgements: what must we do? What can we do?
With authentic learning the teacher would react: “I don’t know, what do you think?” They will start playing with ideas (analyze and synthesize) and either confirm their thinking that nothing can be done or start thinking of other possibilities.
In a short time, they will have a current going with batteries and light bulbs in series and parallel, explaining to you how it works without even knowing they discovered a new world of electricity. Meaning they created their own knowledge. (last and not first as per Bloom)
What did they do?
1. They took cognizance of the apparatus.
2. They analyzed what they have at hand.
3. They made judgement calls as they analyze and synthesize
4. They synthesized new electrical constructs as they gain insight.
Now this is exactly as I wrote these paragraphs (which is learning because I haven’t ever constructed these sentences before). I worked like this.
1. I read the inputs
2. I analyzed the views
3. I made judgement calls as I analyzed and synthesized
4. I synthesized these paragraphs as I gained insight
How do they say? Same difference.
The proof of the pudding lies in everyone involved in this discussion checking what I said with their own thinking (learning) processes.
For example if they say that they read and first comprehend in full as gather information without making judgements as they read, do not analyze but first wait until they applied, then go into analysis and then synthesize and finally make a judgement, then first my whole theory of what learning is, is floored as well as my view that children learn in same ways as adults.
I stand to be corrected.
14th Feb 2017 at 6:01 am #24195
Of course your explanation makes a lot of sense and it would be really audacious of me to disagree – which I don’t. My wife was a teacher for many years and, in addition to her teaching diploma she also did an advanced diploma in remedial education. She achieves remarkable results with children who struggle at school. In the evenings after work the two of us would, sometimes, discuss issues like this. She agrees with your philosophy as I explained it, although I probably messed up your arguments. Anyway, she also firmly believes that there are certain things that children still need to learn by heart. In my opinion this is so because our assessment system is flawed. Even so, she has a point. I might continue this argument later, but we probably need to move on to other issues, else people might get bored with my verbiage. Therefore, the last word will be yours.
15th Feb 2017 at 3:26 am #24194
15th Feb 2017 at 9:41 am #24193
JC, I have an idea that you know the answer, so I need to be careful here.
I am not a linguist, therefore to me “learning” refers to the process of gaining knowledge and experience. It is sometimes used to mean something different, for example a ‘learning” institution, meaning a provider of knowledge and skills. “Teaching” popularly refers to the process of educating children at school. Training refers to occupational and vocational interventions, which mostly focus on gaining practical skills.
In our books we mostly give definitions for words like this, seeing that not all people understand or use them the same. We don’t try to convince people that just one meaning is correct, but rather just inform them what we mean by the words and then consistently use them the same.
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