Traditional Learning and Adult Learning Essay

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Learning environments that effectively meet the needs of adult students build upon the wealth of knowledge in the classroom, are student-driven, and have direct application to the problems of the adult's everyday life. In this essay, I will reflect upon a traditional learning experience that I experienced as an early college student. Additionally, using Knowles' theory of adult learning, I will consider how the experience could have been adapted.
Traditional Learning Context
As a 17 year old in the mid 1990s, I enrolled in an introductory psychology course at a private religious college in central Virginia. The college was traditional in almost every way, from the way coursework was organized to the ways in which classroom activities were delivered. The course textbook was the primary reading for the course, the lecturer delivered the readings with a traditional lecture using an overhead transparency projector, and students regurgitated the lectures via scantron, fill in the bubble tests. Little discussion was encouraged in the class. In fact, if students were whispering among themselves in the large lecture hall, their behavior was rewarded by being called upon by the lecturer. Usually, being called upon by the lecturer meant that he wanted the students to recite an obscure fact from the textbook. A student who could not cite the required facts from the textbook would be “called out” in front of the class for failing to do the reading; occasionally, the lecturer would summarily dismiss the student from lecture.
Much of the course was, indeed, unmemorable. In fact, the only lecture that I remember was the lecture on sexual orientation identity. Consistent with the school's firm conservative roots and policy on same sex desire—...

... middle of paper ... and professional identity today.

Works Cited

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders
(4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

American Psychological Association. (2008). Answers to your questions: For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality. Retrieved from

Ellis, A., Abrams, M., & Abrams, L. (2009). Personality theories: Critical perspectives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Merriam, S., Caffarella, R., & Baumgartner, L. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

National Association of Social Workers. (2005). National committee on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. Retrieved from

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