Andragogy vs. Pedagogy: Comparing Adult and Children's Learning Preferences
Friestad, Jill M.
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The Problem: Andragogy and pedagogy have been regarded as two completely separate methods of teaching for many years. After much debate, the two methods have become opposite ends of a continuum used to describe the extremes of interactions occuring between a teacher and students. The purpose of this study was to explore the extent to which there are differences and similarities in adults' and children's learning preferences. Procedures: The study included both a review of the literature comparing andragogy and pedagogy, results from a questionnaire developed by the author and interviews of adults and children as to how they learn best, their learning preferences, and what they perceive to be effective learning environments and instructors. Findings: Results of the study found that adults and children prefer to learn in the same general manner. In addition, no significant differences were found in the methods used to teach adults and children. The results indicate that individuals prefer hands-on activites combined with guided practice from the teacher, interaction with others, positive environments, and relevant materials and topics to their lives. Conclusions: The conclusions of this research are: fundamentally, children's preferences for learning are smiliar to adults, teaching methods using andragogical and pedagogical procedures are situational and should be used based on the needs of the learner, results neither support no dismiss Knowles' notion of pedagogy and andragogy serving as two ends of a teaching methods continuum. Results from the sample group indicate children's learning preferences favor andragogical approaches rather than pedagogical approaches and children are more concerned with technology and access to it that adults. Recommendations: It is recommended that others repeat the study with a larger group of individuals, including greater diversity among the adults' educational level, to further recognize similiarities and differences between adults and children and teach adults and children with those methods we would like them to use throughout their lives.
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