Adult Education Essay

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For many years there has been much debate about what, if anything, sets adult education apart from other fields of study or disciplines. According to Davenport and Davenport (1985), the identification of what is unique about adult learning (in contrast to child or youth learning) has been a long-standing effort in adult education. They reasoned that if this difference could be identified, then the research territory of adult education could be based on these theoretical distinctions. Knowles (1980) suggests that a contributing factor to the confusion is that adult education can be defined in three different ways: (a) as a process; (b) as a set of organized activities carried on by a wide variety of institutions for the accomplishment of…show more content…
377). Thus, the definition of intentional learning that will be adopted in this paper is the deliberate and purposeful learning initiated by intrinsically motivated learners under their full conscious control. It is assumed that intentional learning is not an automatic characteristic of learners but rather something that develops with age and expertise. In his transformation theory of adult learning, Mezirow refers to Heron’s ideas around creating meaning. “Presentational, propositional, and intentional construal are different and complementary, interactive ways of making meaning, of giving coherence to experience,” (as cited in Mezirow, 1995, p. 40). Propositional construal refers to making meaning of experiences using language categories and words, whereas presentational refers to making meaning without language, a sort of ‘knowing’ without the “direct and immediate use of language categories or words” (p. 41). Mezirow suggests that both presentational and propositional are implied learning that occurs seemingly automatically in human beings. Mezirow describes the intentional construal as involving “purposeful awareness of our use of logic, inference, analysis, reflection, evaluation and the giving and assessing of reasons through rational discourse” (p. 41). Mezirow enhances the argument for intentional learning as the essential ingredient for adult learning by describing the intentional construal of meaning as involving “awareness informed by
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