Sunday, 25 October 2009

Adult Education

My take on the Anglican/Catholic relationship:

Many years ago, I decided to train as a teacher in Further Education (post 16) and Adult Education. It was my most useful teacher training by far. One of the key things teachers need to know about when adults learn (that makes it quite different from when children learn), is that for adults to learn anything, there will have to be a time of unlearning and possibly considerable emotional turmoil.

Here are some things I picked up all those years ago. I use them frequently when looking at myself and in my covert evangelisation for the Faith.

(1) Adults carry attitudes, these are settled ways of thinking and behaving. In order to learn, there will often be direct conflict with these attitudes.

(2) Adults have values. We live in a world where "core values" are essential and we are constantly asked to make "value judgments". Do they have any place in our quest for the Truth? Probably not, our values are essentially "value neutral". Plunging deeper into our being to see what lies behind our values is far more important and far more painful.

(3) The motivation of an adult to learn may simply be to shore up a set of pre-conceived values and attitudes. Get them questioning these attitudes and vaules and the motivation to learn can often disappear.

(4) Adults are far more likely to personalise their involvement with their learning than children. A far greater set of painful memories, guilt and anxieties exists in adults than in children. When teaching adults, you may find they start looking for answers to problems that they have not discussed with anyone. They may seem completely off task, when really you have encouraged them to think about something painful that they may have buried deep within themselves for some considerable time. Be extremely gentle.

(5) Be wary of the well educated, articulate and well-balanced individual. Often the eloquence is an effective smoke screen to hide emotions and to act as a rational damper for all feelings. This person will probably end up hating you, and their learning will be an uncomfortable experience for themselves and for you.

So there you have it. In my twenties, I learned that adults were vulnerable, insecure individuals and that gentleness is the only way.


As the "only Papists in our village", we are feeling relationships with our neighbours are a little difficult at the moment. Resentment towards Rome simmers beneath the surface.....The Holy Spirit is always the advocate of Truth. The only way through this is with prayer and charity.


mum6kids said...

No 5 strikes me as very true indeed.

returning to the Church was painful for me-mainly because I had to change my mind about so much. Being proved wrong about so much and something so important was difficult-but good for my humility.

God bless

Tom in Vegas said...

Very interesting the things you wrote here, Rita.

There's no question about it, adults are more complicated when it comes to learning than their junior counterparts. The reasons you state here sufficiently explain why.

I don't envy you at this moment. Being the only “papists” in your village, with the exodus taking place right now is going to cast you in a less than favorable light. Hang in there, my friend. This will cool with time and, who knows, perhaps a few neighbors may feel compelled to make the transition!

Mrs.Pogle said...

I'm sorry too that you're having trouble in your village, but pray that you will be able, by the grace of God, to be shining examples of Christ's love. Hang on, my friend.
Mrs.P xx

Rita said...

Thanks, All!

I don't think we'll be on the village bonfire this year, but we haven't been invited either.

berenike said...

:-S "haven't been invited either"!