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Consider the differences between the way in which children and adults learn

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Consider the differences between the way in which children and adults learn Introduction In this assignment, I intend to consider the possible differences between the way in which children and adults learn. For instance, Piaget believed there to be schemes with four distinct stages of cognitive development. Between birth and the time a child is ready for school, he/she will pass through two of the four stages. These stages are the Sensorimotor Stage and the Preoperational Stage. Alternatively, it could be argued that our parents, teachers, and society as a whole condition us, to learn in a particular way, to take our place in society. This, then in the words of Freire is: "the banking concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the student extends only as far as receiving, filing and storing the deposits." (Freire, 1970) On the other hand, it is suggested, that adults learn from experience and reflection, therefore, it is the way in which people: "understand, or experience, or conceptualise the world around them." (Ramsden, 1992) The focus for them then, is gaining knowledge or ability through the use of experience. These are two extremes of the spectrum of learning and there are, according to theorists such as Piaget, several stages in-between, these are: sensory-motor, pre-operational, concrete-operational and formal-operational. ...read more.


Therefore, as I suggested in my introduction, the way in which children learn is possibly pre-conditioned by their teachers, to conform to society's norms and are therefore taught accordingly. Therefore: "The goal of the education of children is not only to teach them, more or less intellectual knowledge, nor only to teach them virtues in the sense of honesty, courage, etc. The functions of any individual, within society, go far beyond the above mentioned: they must learn to work and to consume within the norms demanded by the means of production and the consumption patterns of their group and the society in which they live." (Fromm, '58) Therefore, this would suggest that we are taught to know our place in society. Adult learning: Andragogy Andragogy was initially defined as the art and science of helping adults learn. This has taken on a broader meaning since Knowles (84) redefined the term. The term currently defines an alternative to pedagogy and refers to learner-focused education for people of all ages. The andragogic model states that five issues be considered and addressed in formal learning. They include (1) letting learners know why something is important to learn, (2) ...read more.


For instance, Piaget suggests that schemes are the basis for learning and as children develop they form cognitive structures or schemata and these schemes allow children to make sense of the world they live in and uncode how that world works. On the other hand, it was suggested that curriculum developers do not consider these stages when designing learning experiences for children. Therefore, it could be said that we are forced to learn in a way that prepares us to take our place in society. Adults, meanwhile appear to learn as a personal act to achieve their own potential. Therefore, it is a deliberate act to acquire knowledge and skills. As Brookfield suggests, adults choose to engage in this learning and it is self-motivated, voluntary and self generating. Beside this, Freire believes that adult learning must be a two-way dialogue between teacher/student, student/teacher to achieve liberation from the oppression of the state, thereby becoming subjects of the world as opposed to objects of that world. He also believes that didactic teaching (the banking method) is an act of aggression on the part of formal educators. From these arguments, I have come to the conclusion that the difference between child and adult learning is that children learn instinctively and out of necessity, whereas adults tend to learn out of choice and the desire to change themselves or the world about them. ...read more.

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