As teachers and providers of education, it is of great importance that we are aware of the theories of human development; understand learning styles, the learner and their individual differences and motivation. We need to examine what these theories/ideas mean to us as teachers, and the implications it has on the student as we practice these ideas as educators. Focusing on selected learning theories and implementing teaching strategies to suit the individual's needs will often increase the learner's ability to learn, but we need to be aware of our own philosophies of adult education and how it affects us as adult educators.
Zinn's teaching Philosophy in Higher Education is based on five philosophical tenets. It is an assessment tool developed to help educators identify their personal philosophy. There is no right or wrong educational philosophy; rather, the inventory tool is designed to mirror some of the participant's beliefs. The five philosophies are liberal, behaviourist, progressive, humanistic and radical.
The behaviourist philosophy promotes behavioural change, which in turn, ensures that society's standards and expectations are met and upheld. This philosophy is strongly influenced by the environment. The behaviourist teacher manages the learning process directs it. These educators usually employ methods such as programmed instruction, contract learning and computer guided instruction. (Zinn 1983, p.1)
The progressive philosophy is concerned with the well being of society as well as an individual's role in society. The learners of this philosophy have good solving skills and practical knowledge. When teaching learners of this philosophy, we should include methods problem solving, scientific method and cooperative learning. The educator evaluates the learning process, and guides rather than directs the students. (Zinn 1983, p.1)
The humanistic philosophy facilitates personal growth and development. These humanists are highly motivated and direct ...