ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Importance of Adult Participation in Classrooms

Updated on August 13, 2016
Rodric29 profile image

Rodric has a Master in adult education. He has over ten years of facilitation and teaching experience.

The importance of education as a value added-benefit for adults helps to determine how well adults participate in classroom settings.

The Facts of Life

Adults in the Western culture trend towards education as a fact of life and the needs of these adult students will change as they grow older—ways to maintain interest and fulfill new needs as they arise.

Most of those who participate in education come from a culture of education, the middle class. Because most training and learning trends toward middle-income people, participation in any extracurricular activity fulfills adults desire to continue learning.

Adults, therefore have an expectation that all educational activities must have applicable value before investing time they could use towards an immediately beneficial endeavor.

Interesting Note

A bit of information regarding education among adults, specifically among women, is that the gender gap for education has closed and heads in a different direction favoring women as more women attain higher education degrees than men .

This is a significant mark for education trends among adults and may result in dynamic changes in the way classroom participation develops.

Classroom Participation

Classroom participation in young adults is shaped by environment, socio-economic class, and gender.

Recent studies indicate that educational participation is linked to behavior, attitude, and disposition and that gender differences in classroom participation may vary depending on the topic, style and location of the classroom environment.

Because so many elements play a significant factor in adult education, the programs designed to instruct adults need to have more versatility than only to disseminate information for regurgitation.

Collaboration and Facilitation

Adult participation in higher education in any format must focus on learning that promotes collaboration. The importance of discovering what the class knows prior to teaching it helps determine how effective the instructor will be able to hold the students’ attention. Johnson recounts,

Sister Morrell was warm and inviting personally. She raised some interesting topics during the class discussion and facilitated whatever debate would arise. I knew, no matter the heat of the discussion that she cared about whether we understood what was taught. She did not miff people who held differing views than hers, but welcomed the discussion and listened as if the opinion of others mattered as much as did hers.1

In this observation, the instructor made the student feel comfortable by identifying with the student so that he would participate and contribute to the class without restraint.

Haavind pointed out in her study of online collaboration among students in her virtual high school that

Discourse facilitation can support cognitive engagement by helping discussants focus more sharply on content, or by moving them more deeply toward mastery of new concepts. The role of facilitator is inherently a coaching or supporting role that helps to guide inquiry. It differs from the role of expert, who might provide explanations, clarifications, or other forms of direct instruction within the context of dialogue.2

Though Haavind’s study dealt with the pre-adult student, research supports that learning among adults works better if the instructor takes on the role of a facilitator and encourages discourse among the students to help gain mastery of the concepts provided in class rather than the role of specialist that provides all the answers.

This behavior from an instructor to promote class discussion supports the idea that student contributions are warranted; therefore, encouraging the students to gain information independently.

The result of independent study allows the students to participate in the class discussion and give ownership to the student for the knowledge he or she obtains and dispenses to contribute to the collaborative learning.

The importance of education as a value added benefit for adults helps to determine how well adults participate in classroom settings. Negative teacher attitudes, lack of curricular or evaluative modifications were causes of students’ failure in the classrooms according to research submitted by Subban & Sharma.

Haavind’s study included a test group of students who did not have the privilege of collaborative discussion and showed a significant difference in performance outcome when juxtaposed the subject group.

Adults tend to appreciate their knowledge and experience being acknowledged by others—supporting the idea that if the same respect occurred between instructors and youthful students the result would be similar (being that those youthful students will eventually mature into adults).

This is important because the research offers insight into preparing children for higher education and reveals that adults and children are similar in learning.

Students were found to be more successful in classrooms where teachers had positive attitudes toward inclusive education.

The indication from Johnson;s experience with his teacher mentioned previously supports the idea that participation is directly related to how well an instructor can facilitate learning and instruction.

Source

Modification of the curriculum

Modification of the curriculum contributes to students’ success in the classroom. The ability to adjust lesson plans to fit the needs of the student in real-time is a feat of master teachers who take the time to plan lessons and receive training to incorporate a level of learning that will increase student participation and reduce stagnation and ebb.

In any written lesson plan, there should exist room for change and tweaking that allows the instructor to head the lesson and not slave to its details. Technology is the current trend in education allowing online and distance-education to rise significantly and benefit groups of people who would otherwise lack accessibility.

Technology seems to allow more collaborative interactions between students as adult education appears to be heading more towards online education.

Further research shows that employment forecasters did not take into consideration the economic downturn during and following former President Bush’s presidency in the United States.

The Baby Boomer generation that depended on pensions and social security benefits to help during retirement may not have the same luxury that the previous generation of retirees enjoyed. Not as many of the Boomers will be able to retire at age 65 as previously anticipated either.

According to the Merrill Lynch New Retirement Study published in 2006, 71 percent of baby-boomers say they will work after retirement. The new retirement for people 60+ won't involve withdrawing from working life. Instead, boomers want to find a new life balance that includes some form of employment.3

Educational discussions and texts lend that training for this diverse, yet, mature group of people will affect the type of educational trends for adult learning because the necessary catering to the learning needs of this demographic.

The Baby Boomers remaining in the workforce cannot be ignored. This culture of adults mingles with younger adults to create even a greater need for instructors to be versatile and able to adapt education and training so all adults can contribute without sacrificing the integrity of the course material.

What Say You

Should teachers focus more on Collaborative Learning?

See results

Materials Referenced

  • Andres, L., & Adamuti-Trache, M. (2008). Life-course transitions, social class, and gender: a 15-year perspective of the lived lives of Canadian young adults. Journal of Youth Studies, 11(2), 115-145. doi:10.1080/13676260701800753

(2008, ¶. 6)3

  • David, M. E. (2009). Diversity, gender and widening participation in global higher education: a feminist perspective. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 19(1), 1-17. doi:10.1080/09620210903057590

  • Haavind, S. (2007). An interpretative model of key heuristics that promote collaborative dialogue among online learners [1]. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(3), 39-68.

  • Heath, S., Fuller, A., & Paton, K. (2008). Network-based ambivalence and educational decision-making: a case study of 'non-participation' in higher education. Research Papers in Education, 23(2), 219-229. doi:10.1080/02671520802048760

  • Johnson, R. A. (2010) The effective teacher. Unpublished Paper.

(Johnson, 2010, p. 3)1

(p. 52)2

  • Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide(3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.(n.d). Corporate America Faces a Brain Drain. Science Letter, 3832.

  • Subban, P., & Sharma, U. (2005). Understanding Educator Attitudes Toward the Implementation of Inclusive Education. Disability Studies Quarterly, 25(2), N.PAG.

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (2009). Gospel principles . Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Topçu, A. (2006). Gender difference in an online asynchronous discussion performance.Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 5(4), 44-51.

© 2013 Rodric Anthony Johnson

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)