Chapter 5
Leading Adult Learners: Preparing Future Leaders
and Professional Development of Those They Lead
Chapter Outline
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Learners of All Ages
Adult Learning Theories
Behaviorism
Cognitive Constructivism
Social Constructivism
Humanism
Motivation
Intelligence
Adult Learning and Pedagogy
Engaging Adult Learners
Mentoring Adult Learners
Teaching and Leading Adult Learners
Chapter Questions
• What can leaders do to acknowledge the
adult learner’s motivation and interests?
• How can leaders learn to mentor the adult
learner?
• How can leaders give professional
development choices in planning training
activities for optimal learning experiences?
Chapter Questions, con’t
• How can leaders provide problem-centered
activities for professional training activities?
• How can leaders lead using different
approaches and strategies?
Attention And Motivation
…the degree with which the learner
approaches learning—and how we
utilize these are critical to understanding
how we approach classroom
experiences for our learners. If we know
how a learner approaches the
acquisition of knowledge, then we can
arrange classroom strategies that will
enhance his or her learning.
Adult Learning Theories
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Behaviorism
Cognitive Constructivism
Social Constructivism
Humanism
Motivation
Intelligence
Adult Learning and Pedagogy
Adult Learning and Pedagogy
Knowles (1990) identified the following principles:
• Adults need to participate: plan and evaluate
their instruction.
• Experiential learning activities should be
provided.
• Topics must be relevant to their jobs or
personal life.
Learning for adults should be problem centered
versus content oriented.
Engaging Adult Learners
How we lead the adult learner is greatly
impacted by knowledge of both the
context and the learner him- or herself.
Contextual understanding by the
educational leader is as critical as the
transfer of knowledge and how it is
transferred through strategies and
activities.
Mentoring Adult Learners
Mentoring, the most complete human
skill to acquire; teaching; coaching;
facilitating; and other such similar
descriptors describe a process for adult
learning.
Characteristics of
Mentoring
(1)Adults are motivated to learn as they develop needs
and interests that learning will satisfy.
(2) Adult orientation to learning is life or work centered.
(3) Experience is the richest resource for adult learning.
(4) Adults have a deep need to be self-directing.
(5) Individual differences among adult learners vary with
age, gender, culture, language, and experience.
Teaching and Leading Adult
Learners
Great teaching is defined by the ability to
inspire learners. Motivate the learner
and you will grab his or her attention.
Keeping a learner’s attention is more
difficult. Educational leaders need many
strategies at their fingertips to keep
others’ attention.
Key Principles
for Leaders to Know
1. Acknowledge the adult learner’s motivation and
interests;
2. Mentor the adult learner;
3. Consider strategies to participate in the adult
learner’s learning;
4. Utilize the adult learner’s life experiences in the
activities provided;
Key Principles
for Leaders to Know, con’t
5. Give the adult learner choices in planning his
or her learning;
6. Explore the adult learner’s expectations for
learning, work related and/or personal;
7. Provide problem-centered activities;
8. Analyze each individual for learning
characteristics;
Key Principles
for Leaders to Know, con’t
9. Lead using different approaches and
strategies;
10. Create socialization opportunities in
activities;
11. Demand the adult learner’s attention
through inspirational leadership; and
12. Practice learner-centered rather than
educational leader–centered leading.
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