Pedagogy versus Andragogy Essay

When modern people use the words pedagogy and andragogy, I sense there is a meaning implied that is understood by our wider culture. In the case of pedagogy, the general definition implied the connection of the teaching by the teacher, to the learning of the student especially to the child. There is little doubt that the most dominant form of instruction in America and Europe is pedagogy, or what some people refer to as traditional, teacher-directed approaches, or didactic. Pedagogy literally means leading children.

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Pedagogy can also be thought of as “teacher-centered or directive” learning. The competing idea in terms of instructing adult learners, and one that gathered momentum within the past three decades, has been dubbed andragogy. Andragogy is a term coined to refer to the science or art of teaching adults or can be thought of as “learner-centered or directed. ” The beliefs of teaching encompasses not just teaching per se but as well as learning — specific knowledge, beliefs, and skills.

Learning is the process of acquiring attitudes or values, skills, through study, knowledge, experience, or teaching, that causes a change of behavior that is measurable, specified and persistent or allows an individual to formulate a new mental construct or revise a prior mental construct. A good teacher in a given field uses a variety of methods and materials in order to impart knowledge of a curriculum to the students. Informally, teaching is the process of learning how things work including numbers, reading and language that are taught by parents and other members of the student’s culture.

There has been a plethora of journals, magazines, books, and digests in the field of education that addresses these areas. Such literature addresses the teaching practices, with subjects that include testing, motivation, game playing, lectures, scheduling, record keeping, bullying, seating arrangements, interests and computer access. However, the most important factors in any teacher’s effectiveness are the interaction with students and the knowledge and personality of the teacher. Without the knowledge of the teacher there can be no learning except the very slow process of self teaching.

The best teachers are able to translate knowledge of a subject, good judgment, experience, and wisdom into a significant knowledge of a subject that is understood and retained by the student. It is their ability to understand a subject well enough they can convey its essence to a new generation of students that is needed by all teachers. The goal is establish a foundation of knowledge base that allows the student to build on as they are exposed to different life experiences. The passing of knowledge from generation to generation allows the student to grow into a useful member of society.

The purpose of this study is to provide the interested reader with some background information regarding both instructional forms. The study includes the history of both pedagogy and andragogy; how they came about and who were the philosophers or educators that are responsible in putting this learning to be used. Malcolm Knowles and other brilliant philosophers theorized that methods used to teach children are often not the most effective means of teaching adults. Pedagogy Pedagogy is the art or science of teaching and it is also sometimes referred to as the correct use of teaching strategies.

Brazilian Paulo Freire, one of the most influential educators of the 20th century, referred to his method of teaching adults as “critical pedagogy”. Critical pedagogy is a teaching approach which attempts to help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate. In other words, it is a theory and practice of helping students achieve critical consciousness. In this tradition the teacher works to lead students to question ideologies and practices considered oppressive (including those at school), and encourage liberator collective and individual responses to the actual conditions of their own lives.

In the pedagogic model, teachers assume responsibility for making decisions about what will be learned, how it will be learned, and when it will be learned. Conner stated that (Conner, M. L. “Andragogy and Pedagogy. ” Ageless Learner, 1997-2004. ): “The great teachers of ancient times, from Confucius to Plato, didn’t pursue such authoritarian techniques. Major differences exist between what we know of the great teachers’ styles, yet they all saw learning as a process of active inquiry, not passive reception. Considering this, it is surprising that teacher-focused learning later came to dominate formal education.

According to Knowles (M. S. Knowles, 1984 The adult learner: A neglected species. Houston: Gulf Publishing. ) : “The pedagogical model of instruction was originally developed in the monastic schools of Europe in the middle Ages. Young boys were received into the monasteries and taught by monks according to a system of instruction that required these children to be obedient, faithful, and efficient servants of the church. From this origin developed the tradition of pedagogy, which later spread to the secular schools of Europe and America and became and remains the dominant form of instruction.

Pedagogy is derived from the Greek word “paid”, meaning child plus “agogos”, meaning leading. Thus, pedagogy has been defined as the art and science of teaching children. In the pedagogical model, the teacher has full responsibility for making decisions about what will be learned, how it will be learned, when it will be learned, and if the material has been learned. Pedagogy, or teacher-directed instruction as it is commonly known, places the student in a submissive role requiring obedience to the teacher’s instructions. It is based on the assumption that learners need to know only what the teacher teaches them.

The result is a teaching and learning situation that actively promotes dependency on the instructor. ” John Dewey believed formal schooling was falling short of its potential. Dewey emphasized learning through various activities rather than traditional teacher-focused curriculum. He believed children learned more from guided experience than authoritarian instruction. He ascribed to a learner-focused education philosophy. He held that learning is life not just preparation for life (Conner, M. L. “Andragogy and Pedagogy. ” Ageless Learner, 1997-2004).

Nowadays, the pedagogical model has been applied equally to the teaching of children and adults, and in a sense, is a contradiction in terms. The reason is that as adults mature, they become increasingly independent and responsible for their own actions. They are often motivated to learn by a sincere desire to solve immediate problems in their lives. Additionally, they have an increasing need to be self-directing. In many ways the pedagogical model does not account for such developmental changes on the part of adults, and thus produces tension, resentment, and resistance in individuals.

Andragogy The development and growth of andragogy as an alternative model of instruction has helped to remedy this situation and improve the teaching of adults. But this change did not occur overnight. In fact, an important event took place some thirty years ago that affected the direction of adult education in North America and, to some extent, elsewhere as well. Andragogy as a system of ideas, concepts, and approaches to adult learning was introduced to adult educators in the United States by Malcolm Knowles. His contributions to this system have influenced the thinking of countless educators of adults.

Knowles’ dialogue, debate, and subsequent writings related to andragogy have been a healthy stimulant to some of the growth of the adult education field during the past thirty years. Andragogy, initially defined as the art and science of helping adults learn, has taken on a broader meaning since Knowles’ first edition. The term currently defines an alternative to pedagogy and refers to learner-focused education for people of all ages. In practical terms, andragogy means that instruction for adults needs to focus more on the process and less on the content being taught.

Strategies such as case studies, role playing, simulations, and self-evaluation are most useful. Instructors adopt a role of facilitator or resource rather than lecturer or grader. The first use of the term “andragogy” to catch the widespread attention of adult educators was in 1968, when Knowles, then a professor of adult education at Boston University, introduced the term then spelled androgogy through a journal article. In a 1970 book which is the second edition that published in 1980, he defined the term as the art and science of helping adults learn.

His thinking had changed to the point that in the 1980 edition he suggested that andragogy is simply another model of assumptions about adult learners to be used alongside the pedagogical model of assumptions, thereby providing two alternative models for testing out the assumptions as to their ‘fit’ with particular situations. Furthermore, the models are probably most useful when seen not as dichotomous but rather as two ends of a spectrum, with a realistic assumption about learners in a given situation falling in between the two ends.

The andragogical model as conceived by Knowles is predicated on four basic assumptions about learners, all of which have some relationship to our notions about a learner’s ability, need, and desire to take responsibility for learning. First, their self-concept moves from dependency to independency or self-directedness. Second, they accumulate a reservoir of experiences that can be used as a basis on which to build learning. Third, their readiness to learn becomes increasingly associated with the developmental tasks of social roles.

Fourth, their time and curricular perspectives change from postponed to immediacy of application and from subject-centeredness to performance-centeredness. Similarities exist between the meanings of the two words— pedagogy and andragogy. It is clear that they also differ, for one thing andragogy, at least from Knowles perspective refers only to adult learners and adult learning, while pedagogy, in its most expanded definition, includes adults and children.

Another difference, I believe, is that pedagogy is sympathetic to the banking system of education that Freire refers to a teacher which has the knowledge and deposits it into the mind of the student. At the other end of the spectrum, andragogy implies that while the teacher may have knowledge and resources that the learner doesn’t possess, it is up to the self-directed learner to decide what is worth learning, and then to avail him or herself to what can be known or understood by them, voluntarily.

The teacher does not “deposit” or bank the knowledge in the learner, instead, the teacher facilitates the learner in trying to reach the goals which they have set out for themselves. Responsibility for learning belongs with the learner, and the teacher tries to balance the process for the student through resource support and guidance. Another difference that I felt was inferred by the two ideas was this pedagogy, lacked a sense of learning freedom and responsibility to learn into that freedom, while andragogy seemed to invite more ownership of how one can know what one cares to know.

Conclusion There seems to be a distinction about the shared quality of learning. Pedagogical tracts, however, set a tone that keeps the teacher wearing the teaching hat and the learner wearing his or hers. A sense of power between teacher and learner seems less balanced than it might in an adragogously charged atmosphere, where collegiality has a greater opportunity for birthing itself, thus the potential for creating more spontaneous space for sparking new ideas and ways of knowing.

On the other hand, andragogy offers the philosophy and action of reciprocal learning events, where both teacher as well as student enjoys the exchanging of roles every now and then. Learning and teaching are not exclusive to the individual or the group. Everyone teaches and everyone learns. Knowles’ theory of andragogy is an attempt to develop a theory specifically for adult learning. Knowles emphasizes that adults are self-directed and expect to take responsibility for decisions. Adult learning programs must accommodate this fundamental aspect.

Andragogy makes the following assumptions about the design of learning — Adults need to know why they need to learn something and they need to learn experientially; adults approach learning as problem-solving, and adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value. In the information age, the implications of a move from teacher-centered to learner-centered education are staggering. Postponing or suppressing this move will slow our ability to learn new technology and gain competitive advantage.

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