The sin of assumption: motivation in adult learning

I've really been meaning to post up this presentation, done at TESOL Spain earlier this year, and finally have had a chance to run through the slides and update them slightly so that they make sense - without my voice giving instructions or explanations!

Here they are:

To scroll through the slides, use the arrow keys at the bottom of the presentation:

What do you think?

  • Are textbooks too pedagogically based?
  • Is it important to design materials that take in the differences between adults and children? Why?
  • Do you think that children can also benefit from an "andragogical* approach"?

Do let me know what you think, and/or don't hesitate to ask questions if you have them!


p.s. one of my teacher-trainees in a professional development course last week thought that the term shouldn't really be called andragogy because it really means "man-leading" and instead should have a term that refers more to "adult-age-learning/leading." Google and Wikipedia haven't been too helpful on finding sources for these differences however - thoughts, ideas?

7 Responses to “The sin of assumption: motivation in adult learning”

  • SheilaV says:
    August 02, 2011

    Fabulous presentation

    August 02, 2011

    Thanks, Sheila! Really glad you enjoyed it!

  • Baiba says:
    August 02, 2011

    You have selected perfect pictures to emphasize what you intended to say. Great presentation, thanks!

  • Anonymous says:
    August 02, 2011

    Hi Karenne! Loved your presentation. Wish i could sometime see it face to face =). It really shows a great truth that we sometimes don't want to admit. Our students become demotivated because we don't take into account their needs and interests. If they are interested they become motivated, as simple as that. I believe the same happens with chidren and teenagers.Kisses and hugs from Bs. As. As usual an inspiring post! =)

  • Unknown says:
    August 03, 2011

    Hi Karenne!
    I was lucky enough to actually be at that presentation but the slideshow by itself works really well! After all these months it is nice to see something again with fresh eyes, and one of the benefits of seeing a slidshow on the pc at home is that you have all the time you need to reflect on what you are seeing. So thanks for putting that up.

    One thing that ocurred to me at the talk and again just now is that some adults tend to regress into a childlike form in the classroom. They associate the classroom with being a teenager since most of them have not stepped into once since they were at school or university. Their expectations then are often the same as they would have been when they were younger. They actually believe that the teacher knows best, that the teacher should decide what is to be covered and how and they often DON'T WANT to put in any effort. Classroom time is their free time and many adults prefer to avoid any responsibility (they may have a lot of this in their "real life") and let the teacher do everything for them. Of course it is up to the teacher to change this way of thinking, but I fear it is no easy task!

    That was just something that ocurred to me, anyway!

    August 03, 2011

    Thank you so much Baiba and Sabrina, it's very good to hear your thoughts!

    Hi Michelle, Thank you for your excellent question! It is so true - although depending on the culture, but I think it's only true at the beginning. Adult students, can at times, walk in and want to just receive what the teacher has planned - and if in the case of dogme training, the teacher is eliciting topics then some may feel like they aren't being taught - no matter if they are getting new emergent language and doing much of the work. You will often hear things like "can I just have a list of vocabulary?" ...even when they can't appropriately use the vocabulary they already have!

    But one of the things I recommend is starting off with a brainstorming session on expectations. Principally because when you don't - no matter what methodology you use - (as I've learned) they aren't happy either way. I think this is because even though they aren't conscious of wanting to have control over their learning they still want to have this control - these are students who say that they want to be taught like children but when they are, aren't happy.

    Not sure if I answered your question other than to say, there's no pleasing folk sometimes but there's often a better chance at doing so when you know what it is, exactly, what they want... if you can get to that information. prepare for changing goal-posts by doing feedback sessions often?!


  • Castaround Vintage says:
    August 06, 2011

    Thanks so much! What a wonderful presentation.
    Motivation also has to do with cultural background. Very few brazilian EFL learners pursue and practice language learning out of class in order to improve. It's not only a motivational or class material factor, it's because these few really understand that attending class is not enough. Unfortunately brazilian culture does not have the habit of reading or aquiring knowledge outside class. In my opinion, a country's educational culture plays a very important fact in knowledge aquisition of any kind.
    Thanks again for the lovely material.


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