My View of Teaching
In my field, adult learners are recognized as active and creative agents, situated in real life contexts that variously enable and constrain their many practices, including their habits of thought. The task of the adult educator is not simply to transfer expert knowledge into the minds of passive learners. Rather, it is to generate contexts within which learners can critically engage with their world, to understand the ways social and cultural structures condition their practices, and to explore new ways of thinking and acting.
Adult education values scholarship, not just of the specialized and rarified variety that one might find amongst researchers in universities, but of the grounded and more pervasive sort found amongst thoughtful and engaged people in all of life’s contexts. In the view of American sociologist, C. Wright-Mills, scholars in the university should emulate an “unpretentious intellectual craftsmanship” that invites, includes, and engages people in learning deeply about their world. This, I think, is my deepest concern. My desire is to generate contexts that nurture active and engaged inquiry, for myself, my students, my friends and my colleagues. Teaching and learning (discovering, interrelating, applying) are of a piece for me. I teach by learning about learning and teaching. I am a scholar/teacher/learner – just a fancy way, perhaps, of saying that I am an adult educator.