Minggu, 09 Juni 2013

Characteristics and Motivations of Teachers in Adult Classes

A.    The Teachers in Adult Educations
Whether we are thinking of formal, foundation or liberal adult education, the bulk of teaching is performed by part time, non-professional teachers and tutors. In general, they come in three main groups, school teachers, civil servant and business and commercial people. School teachers always come into mind when there is talk of an adult education project. It is reckoned to be their job and it is expected of them. In Africa they generally the most educated part of the community and also the most numerous at the base of the society. From necessity, then, they are immediately looked on as the source of help as education is their business. It assumed that they have a responsibility to aid in the teaching of adult outside school hours. This is a responsibility which not all the teachers will willingly accept.
Civil servants are another vocational group which reach to the base of society. They are often able to help, though having no educational training, since administrative of officers and similar cadres of people are often trained in subjects which can be offered as teaching subjects. Business and commercial people especially in urban areas help a great deal. Housewives can be included in a special group. They are often able to help in the provisions of foundation education and sometimes, where qualified, in other types of adult education.
There are two major characteristic which are common to all these – they are all busy people and they are all for the most part experienced in the arts of adult education. Whether they are school teachers or businessman they all do a fully day’s work before they begin any adult teaching. It often happens that the types of people who are prepared to help in adult education are also those members of society who do many other things other than their normal work. They therefore have great demands on their time. Similarly, by and large, they are experienced in adult education, never having been trained in the techniques. Therefore, in the main it does not come easy to them and it is likely to be a strain to prepare material and face a class or group.[1]

B.     Characteristics of Teachers in Adult Educations
Inspired by Lindeman (1926) and other early writers in adult education, Knowles introduced the term ‘Andragogy’ into American educational literature in 1968 (although the term has been traced back to 1833, in German literature). He defined andragogy as “the art and science of helping adult learns”. And originally, clearly differenciated it from pedagogy (the art and science of teaching children).[2] Adults have some characteristics of their study, there are, first, adults prefer to receive advices than patronized. Second, people would rather be appreciated than be punished. And then, adults only want to learn what they need to learn, what they want to learn, and what they wish to learn.
Adults do not like to be treated harshly and to be criticized, because they felt that they had the dignity and prestige that must be maintained. Therefore, the teachers should maintain the situation of learning so that adults feel comfortable to study. In short, the approach and methods which used in adult classes must not be the same as the approach and methods in child classes.
With the explanations above, the process of adult education requires teachers with the following characteristics below:
1.      The teachers should be able to be a member of the study group, so that there is no separation between teachers and students, and students do not feel patronized.
2.      The teachers should be able to create a conducive climate to study.
3.      The teachers should have a high sense of responsibility, a sense of devotion and idealism for their job.
4.      The teachers should be able to imitate the others.
5.      The teachers should be able to realize their weakness and their strength. Other than that, they should know that among their strength can be a disadvantage in certain situation.
6.      The teachers should be able to look at the problems objectively and then determine the right solution.
7.      The teachers should be able to understand the people’s feeling.
8.      The teachers should be able to know how to convince the other people and know how to treat the other people.
9.      The teachers should always be optimistic and have a good faith towards the others.
10.  The teachers should be able to understand their position, not to become the teacher who teaches but to become the creator of learning climate.
11.  The teachers should be able to realize that everything has its advantages and disadvantages.

C.     Motivations of Teachers in Adult Educations
We already know that teaching adults is different than teaching children, so that the teachers are also different. As explained before that in general, the teachers of adult education come from three main groups – school teachers, civil servant and business and commercial people. The motivations they had are also different with the motivations of teachers in child education. Many of those who have had benefit of good education and wide experience wish to take opportunity of sharing these with their fellow men and women who have been less fortunate. In the great nation building projects that are underway in Africa, this motivation is very strong and will cause great sacrifices to be made in the general interests of the community.
However it would be wrong to assume that this selfless attitude goes for all, and financial reward is another important motive. Many adult education scheme severely overlook this and, as a consequence, fail. It is very rare that people are prepared to work completely for nothing and if they do, it will not be for very long. It is possible to idealize on how people ought to behave, but to base practical schemes of adult education on the conclusions of such thinking can lead to nothing but disastrous results. People do not like to be taken for granted and like to have some acknowledgement of the efforts they make.
Many make no bones of having no ‘service’ motivation and admit that what they do is entirely for financial gain. The prevailing customs in the society will condition the motives – where a spirit of mutual unrewarded help is common more will give what they have without thought of monetary gain. Where the prevailing spirit is to get what one can for oneself, than free services, except among the very dedicated, will be rare. However unfortunate it may be, many do give their help for financial gain and will not give it to any extent without it. It is thus unwise to overlook this fact.
Another motive which causes people to give part-time help is that of gaining status. Most people have a wish to hold a place of importance in their community and in Africa, especially in the rural areas, the place of the teacher is one of great importance. Where there is a desire to demonstrate to society the worth of an individual through teaching, this motive can be quite strong.
Many people, having had educational opportunities themselves, enjoy teaching adults. It helps them – especially if they are not full-time teachers- and they enjoy the opportunity of discussing their subjects in an informal class atmosphere. This motivation is especially true in formal and liberal adult education where many teachers do have an opportunity to teach their special subjects and thus keep them fresh.
A strong interest in teaching is another reason why some people help in adult education classes. Many enjoy the personal satisfaction which they get from teaching a successful group of adults and are prepared to go on simply because they enjoy it.
Some people who are in new places and meeting new people find the teaching of adult classes an entry into the local society. This especially applies to expatriate personnel who wish to get to know and meet local people. Certainly adult education classes afford very good opportunities for this and it is an excellent way in which one can discuss with local people things which cannot easily be broached without some entry.
A last reason is that some people teach simply to fill in time in an interesting and useful manner. This may not be the noblest of reasons but nevertheless some are indeed motivated by boredom into teaching.
These then are the main reasons why people teach in part-time adult classes. There have been listed some seven reasons – there are many more. It is important to note that most people who participate do so for more than one reason and many of the motives are mixed together. One may teach partly out of sense of service and still require some sort of recompense for services. A voluntary teacher may also wish to keep up with his subject and enjoy teaching at same time. The motives are not mutually exclusive.[3]

D.    Conclusion
As adult educators are different with teachers in child classes, they must have characteristics and motivations which are explained above. They shouldn’t act like the common teachers who are just teaching or transferring their knowledge, but they must be able to create the learning climate so that the adults feel comfortable study. Because of the adults do not like to be patronized and they have the prestige that must be maintained.
The purpose of understanding the characteristics and motives of voluntary helpers working in the adult educational field is so that those who organize them can give them maximum support and encouragement and when things go wrong will understand why they do, thus making correction that much easier.[4]

E.     References
Patricia Cranton, Working With Adults Learners, Wall & Emerson, Inc. Toronto, 1992
Roy Prosser, Adult Education for Developing Countries, East African Publishing House, Nairobi, 1967

[1] Roy Prosser, Adult Education for Developing Countries, East African Publishing House, Nairobi, 1967, p. 34-35
[2] Patricia Cranton, Working With Adults Learners, Wall & Emerson, Inc. Toronto, 1992, p.13
[3] Roy Prosser, Adult Education for Developing Countries, East African Publishing House, Nairobi, 1967, p. 35-38
[4] Ibid

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