This paper is a part of an on-going qualitative empirical research project: “Teachers of adults as learners. A study on teachers’ experiences in practice”. Data is collected at a Danish Adult Education Centre. The aim of the study is to understand teachers’ learning experiences. The research questions are: How (much) and what do teachers learn from experience? And how do teachers of adults develop their pedagogical approach? I examine the field of adult learners from the teachers’ perspective. Firstly, I identify some of the commonly described characteristics of adults as learners and their particular needs, which teachers must be aware of and deal with. Secondly, I propose a combination of adult learners’ characteristics with ‘teaching orientations’, as a basis for further research on teachers of adults’ professional development. Some of the competencies that teachers need can be taught in formal settings, but in most teaching settings, the teachers act alone and develop their pedagogical approaches/- teaching strategies with no synchronous sparring from a colleague. Adult learners have particular needs and characteristics that their teachers must be able to address (cf. Knowles, Brookfield, Illeris, Lawler, King, Wahlgreen). If we study adult teachers as learners in practice, we may be able to identify what the teachers’ practice requires, and thereby qualify the efforts of teacher educators.
Adult learner; adult teaching; teachers of adults as learners; practice-based learning; professional development in work life
Main Research Area:
Teacher Education Research between National Identity and Global Trends, 2012