This article is devoted to the question of lifelong education in the adult audience, where the features of the adult audience, the basic styles and adult learning techniques are discussed.
Key words: lifelong education, adult audience, training, learning style, method
Данная статья посвящена вопросу непрерывного образования во взрослой аудитории, где освещены особенности взрослой аудитории, основные стили и методы обучения взрослых.
Today, globalization is ubiquitous across the globe. The influence and interpenetration of people in economic activity, culture, politics, science and technology have created a very rich and varied picture. Consequently, at the present time there is an objective need of bringing the language policy into the line with the new economic and political realities of our society. Changes in the economy, industry, the expansion of international cultural and business relations, changes in the whole education system, more than ever affected by the problem of lifelong education. The concept of “lifelong education” suggests that professional development becomes a permanent, expert acquires new knowledge in the framework of his activity itself and in special courses. Teacher working in the system of postgraduate education, works in a very different situation compared to a school teacher or college one. His audience — adults, developed people with life and professional experience, with all their advantages and limitations. One of the areas of teaching foreign language in adult education is to teach a foreign language for special purposes. The purpose of adult education is to provide their specialized knowledge with the English language so that they can apply it in their specific professional field. This implies not only knowledge of appropriate vocabulary and mastery of specific professional techniques required in English-speaking environment.
What specific aspects of the adult audience can be identified?
The first point is motivation. Indeed, the great advantage of the adult audience is that it can be quite highly motivated in learning. This category is deeply aware of the reasons for the necessity of training, the scope of possible applications of the knowledge and ready accurately formulates a request to the teacher. However, the situation might be more complex in case when a training group includes people who have no actual desire to learn. The teacher has to justify the importance of education while working with this category of students. Additionally, it is necessary to know the individual’s preferences, inclinations, motives, as well as understanding of the situation in which the student will return from a training course. If the teacher has this information, it will be easier to find arguments in favor of participation in the program and select individualized ways of motivating students. For example, if the listener had to go on courses, depends on the existing strict rules of the training programs, the motivational interview is advisable in order to show the importance of a successful training for their career. If the listeners are focused on the further progress up the career ladder, it is important to isolate the issues of the program, which must be carefully worked out, and to determine the criteria for successful learning, giving a chance for career growth.
Another aspect is adult’s particular mental functions and it is significant in terms of the educational material. It is well-known that the adult has well-developed thinking skills. That is why adult education program needs much greater clarity and rigor in the definition of concepts, structuring the educational material, the system of representation of individual elements of the course. The next aspect that needs to be addressed is the professional experience of the person. It is important to specify the activity, which the listener is engaged in.
The students’ experience and the preferences of individual learning style might have a significant impact on the expectations of students in relation to teaching.
Today four main types of individual learning styles can be determined:
3) authoritarian and
Functional style of training involves obtaining knowledge through the mastery of certain algorithms of professional activity. This type of training is typical for technical colleges, universities, giving a person a rigorous understanding of the rules, methods, tools and ethical principles implemented in the sphere of professional activity.
The individual, who prefers the personal learning style, takes possession of knowledge and skills through the assimilation of meaningful professional identity, by copying the ways teachers work. This method of learning is often cultivated in creative occupations in which it is important to convey not only the algorithm, as a certain world but a set of substantial grounds, determining a successful professional career.
In this case the student is not so much concerned about the fact that he needs to know and what to change in order to be successful at the workplace. The learning process is carried out through a strict definition of the professional positions in terms of their place in the hierarchy, authority and responsibility, relationships. In this style of training the listener is ready to fully comply with the relevant rules and regulations. This style of training can be very successful in teaching the professions that require the performer complete subordination orders, clear meet the specifications laid down to the failure of individual interests.
Students who prefer to design learning styles differ by initiative in relation to the learning situation. This also applies to the content of the training material and the training process. For this category of training audience — it is a process that never stops and it is best implemented in real activity. They are ready to be included in the various projects, to participate in activities in a variety of positions (from performing to creative). Lectures, they tend to turn to the discussion, business game and so on. They need to know the complex and diverse activities as widely and deeply, to which they themselves produce and which, in their opinion, cannot be clearly defined in the form of instructions. In addition, the students with projected learning style are characterized by the need for personal choice of professional positions and roles, as well as the areas that they consider priorities and important in terms of their own development.
To improve the effectiveness of learning process the teacher comes from unilateral type of interaction — monologue (in broadcast mode) to the active process of two-way communication — dialogue (in the first communication mode, and then the communication). To better reflect the specificity of the audience the teacher should be able to work in several roles, performing various functions, and take into account the peculiarities of the adult audience, past life and professional experience of students, their motivation and individual psychological characteristics. Although nowadays there is no precise description and classification of adult learning methods and it requires the further investigation, nevertheless it is possible to distinguish the following adult learning strategies, each of which predisposes to the choice of preferred teaching methods:
‒ information strategy — using educational broadcasting method, i.e informing about the fact of already extracted knowledge, information. Typically, this is a monologue form in training, but not only;
‒ problematic strategy — focused on discussion, debate and exchange of opinions (although monologue methods are not excluded);
‒ playing strategy — takes up the whole complex of methods, mostly choosing the game if the ultimate goal of the strategy is information. In his regard the main task is to give a certain amount of knowledge, make sure that this knowledge is lined up in a certain system, they were sufficiently digested and mounted in a well-learned key concept. The ultimate goal of training is the decision of relevance to students’ life problems.
Thus, the lifelong education is aimed at an adult audience, and adults are interested in the speed and high quality of mastering knowledge and intolerant of cramming and rote learning that is not used in practice. Therefore, an adult wants to gain knowledge quickly, efficiently, with the possibility of its further use in their work, which should be considered while selecting methods and learning technologies in lifelong education.
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