My personal learning style can be best described as kinesthetic, which means that I tend to learn more through experience than I do through lectures or other observational methods. This, however, does not mean that I am a bad listener, or that I do not learn at all by reading, writing, and attending lectures. I believe that I have an extroverted personality that allows me to become more actively involved in various projects. This allows me to gain firsthand practical knowledge and this is how I infer that I am able to learn the best. Another thing that I have realized is that creating a portfolio of one's strengths and weaknesses in order to elucidate the various opportunities that can be availed and the threats that can be avoided (Salend 2001).
One of the most important things that are bound to affect my learning is the fact that I am an adult learner. A preliminary investigation conducted in the mid-1990s showed that many adults were living in a world full of anxiety and fear. Much of their anxiety and stress came from work-related problems, where they saw a workplace that was under constant change. This also included the fact that the workplace was getting very competitive and the work was being more intensified. There was also a great deal of fear of losing their jobs since many neo-liberal economic policies were in effect. It was, therefore, deemed necessary that the people, the citizens, live in a world that is free of such fears. One way to do this is to give them training that is focused on addressing these very issues. As Lange (2004) depicts, there is a distinctive learning process that involved the restoration and transformation of the people's attitudes towards their lives and workplace. This article focuses on transformative learning, which is extremely important for adult education, as it expands on the ideas of restorative learning. Transformative and restorative learning, when combined together, can form an important ally in allaying many of the people's fears and how it enables them to perform as more active participants of the society. I believe that this is very important in my case, as it allows me to learn with practicality.
This is a very important concept as it applies directly to our society. The dialectic of transformative and restorative learning is extremely important and necessary as the dialect is not just an overview of how changes in the worldview and the various different habits of the people change as their thinking change. It is rather an ongoing change process where the people feel a chance in their natural state of being because it is related to the various other aspects of their lives. This explains the process of knowing and how it relates to the process of life itself. What the person feels inside is reflected on how he or she acts in the real life. This is why this kind of study is important as it helps us understand how the ethics and the morals of the people affect the way that they behave in the society in accordance with their material, social, and physical realities. The better they understand themselves and their own morals, the more involved they tend to get in the betterment of the society. I believe that I thrive in this kind of an environment and I am able to learn better while involving myself directly with the outcomes of the learning.
I think I am more fond of the transformative and restorative learning that is extremely important for nurturing and developing active citizenship amongst the people. Other conclusions that were drawn from my own personal assessment in which I find that the transformation that occurred in me while changing my career from engineering to teaching was not just an epistemological process that involved changing worldview and my habits of thinking. On the contrary, my transformation was also part ontological, where I found the experience of a change in my being in the world. I also discovered that the more I participated and related with my environment, and with the social and material surroundings, I started looking for more and better ways for becoming responsibly and socially involved as an active part of the society.
One thing that I am certain of is that I am going to face a great deal of psychological, mental, emotional, and physical problems because of my situation, as explained by Alice Jacobs in her article entitled “Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backward”. In this essay, she describes how we, as humans, assume various roles in our lives and these can be the cause of much stress to us. I am a mother and a wife and I have a household to look after, and I am going to be an adult learner. I am very much aware that I would face certain problems and that I would have to sacrifice a great deal in order to complete the education that I have started. These kinds of problems are unique for the adult learners and various researches are being conducted in order to curb and alleviate such problems. This is being done so that more adult learning is encouraged and people turn out to be better educated, more skilled, and therefore, more productive members of the society and the economy. I plan on using various researches in order to plan my education and to alleviate the various problems that I am likely to face and what I can do to solve them.
One of the engaging conditions that I found very engaging was the fact that the learning environment is characterized by physical comfort, mutual trust and respect, mutual helpfulness, freedom of expression, and acceptance of differences. The thing is that this is not only true for just a learning environment; it is true for all situations. A person or a group of people can only be productive and efficient if he or she feels comfortable in his or her surroundings. I would also have to be comfortable with the teachers as well as with the other students in order to facilitate a learning environment that is conducive to studies and mutual learning. Thus, it becomes increasingly important to be comfortable in a classroom.
Another interesting thing to note is that it is not just the physical comfort, but also the mutual and mental comfort that people get from being around somebody. This is very important in terms of a adult education setting. This is why it is more important for the students to feel at home with their teachers while talking to them. Here, it is important for the teachers to be extremely and externally very nice and flexible with the students and give them the perception of comfort that is otherwise impossible to portray. This can be done by using various techniques, such as reassuring and encouraging the students with suggestive words and gestures, and by giving constant feedback.
Another engaging condition that I felt was very important was that I should have a sense of progress towards my goals. This is again very important, as without a goal, I would not know what I am doing. It is always very important to set goals and objectives, then work and plan to achieve them. Goals and objectives should be SMART, that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. This ensures that the goals that a person, here a learner, sets for him/herself add to the value of the learning objectives. And once the learner has set the goals, he or she should be able to measure his/her performance and position on the path to achieving these goals.
It is important to note that adult learning is very different from the normal learning of a child or a regular student. Brookfield (1985) concluded that adult learning is more inner and self directed, that is, the adult learner learns to learn. A new branch of psychology has been in progress that is primarily concerned with understanding the interrelationship of learning and development and the ways in which learning contributes to adult life-span development. Various researches have demonstrated approaches for analyzing how learning activities contribute to life-span developmental processes. The very act of learning is a developmental process. Developing learning occurs in social contexts such as classrooms and work sites where groups of individuals interact, engage in joint problem solving and co-construct knowledge. Rather than focusing on learning as a goal of education, the promotion of the intellectual, cognitive, or social developments of the individual may emerge as more typical objects of instruction. Assessments can then be geared toward evaluating developmental outcomes, such as the results of knowledge reorganization, tracking of growth trajectories, and prediction of long-term change rather than simply documenting what and how much adults have "learned" as a result of instruction. Adults do not stop learning in their early 20s, but continue to learn, develop, and mature across the whole of their lives. Adult educational psychology explores how life-span developmental processes (e.g., social, cognitive, intellective) take shape in contexts such as the workplace, family, and community. A practical outcome of adult educational psychology research is that it often produces findings that can be useful to practitioners in the development of effective instructional methods and assessment techniques that are useful indicators of adult learning (Pourchot and Smith 1998; Yoonkyeing 1999).
I know that I would have to sacrifice a great deal in order to learn but I am willing to do that because I crave knowledge and I believe that I need to achieve something greater than what I have today. I have a family and a home to take care of and I know that my learning would affect my family life and vice versa. I would have to sacrifice a great deal of leisure time in order to complete my study and to take care of my family. I have to make time for my family as well as my school. The biggest sacrifice would be of my family. So, all in all, I would have to make certain sacrifices in my life and I would have to learn to live with them.
Brookfield, S. (1985). “Self-directed learning: A critical review of research,” New Directions for Continuing Education, 25, 5-16.
Jacobs, Alice M. “Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backwards: Coping in the Real World Multiple Time/Role Demands, University of Phoenix Material
Lange, Elizabeth A (February 2004). “Transformative and Restorative Learning: A Vital Dialectic for Sustainable Societies,” Adult Education Quarterly, 54 (2)
Pouchot, Thomas and M. Cecil Smith. (1998). Adult Learning and Development: Perspectives from Educational Psychology, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum associates: 260.
Salend, Spencer J. (March 2001). “Creating Your Own Professional Portfolio,” Intervention in School and Clinic, 36, (4): 195-201
Yoonkyeing, Nah. (1999). “Can a Self-Directed Learner Be Independent, Autonomous and Interdependent?: Implications for Practice,” Adult Learning, 11, (1): 18