Adult Ed. Tipsheet

Adult Education in Practice
Highlights from the Research

'We assimilate and gradually integrate behaviors, ideas, and values derived from others until they become so internalized that we define 'ourselves' in terms of them. Unless an external source places before us alternative ways of thinking, behaving, and living, we are comfortable with our familiar value systems, beliefs, and behaviors.'
Stephen D. Brookfield

These pages are the result of a continuing search for THE method for teaching adults. However, it should be obvious that there is no one method for teaching adults in all situations which addresses all the divergent learning styles, backgrounds, and needs of learners. In fact, some argue there is no method of teaching adults in general separate from that of teaching children. Others respond that our own life experiences argue against this assertion. So what is an educator to do?

The best choice is to be able to move as the situation dictates between a pedagogical approach in which the professor is master and an andragogical extreme where the student determines the curriculum. On these pages, briefly stated ideas will be presented and suggestions made for modifying various aspects of a course. These suggestions and ideas are stated briefly so that they may be quickly scanned. In case they sound intriguing and more information is desired, these suggestions are linked to a briefly annotated bibliography of the texts, research, and articles which support them. As educators, we cannot do it all but we can begin to incorporate change one idea at a time and make classrooms better places for adults to learn.
NOTE: Another nice source of accumulated articles (and a bit of research) into adult education and teaching is

NOTE: These pages would not be possible without help from all of you--our community of learners. Thanks to those of you who have taken the time to share your information. Your additions are what keep these pages relevant.

Bibliography (References for this page only.)
Click here for combined reference list for all pages

Brookfield, Stephen. (1992) "Why Can't I Get this Right? Myths and Realities in Facilitating Adult Learning"Adult Learning: April 1992, P12-15.
Brookfield attempts to debunk several 'myths' including the one that teaching adults is different from teaching children.

Imel, Susan. (1995) "Teaching Adults: Is it Different?" ERIC Clearinghouse [] (April 1998).
In this article, Imel argues that there is no approach to teaching adults separate from that of teaching children.

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Last edited: January, 2005
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