Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Adult Educators as Adult Learners

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Adult Educators as Adult Learners

Article excerpt

One of the traits of an effective adult educator is possession of the sort of empathy that can best be learned when the teacher engages in the learning process him- or herself, according to a narrative by Janet MacLennan. Drawing inspiration from a quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt ("You gain strength, experience and confidence by every experience where you really stop to look fear in the face. . .You must do the thing you think you cannot do"), MacLennan divulges her own struggles and triumphs as a learner.

A successful learner in her chosen field communications - MacLennan challenged herself to master tasks at which she had previously experienced no success (ice skating, swimming, SCUBA diving). Those experiences, MacLennan says, gave her insight into the struggles many of her adult students encounter in their learning experiences. By facing her own fears of failure and the possibility of public embarrassment, she connected with the role her students took on, and became able to relate her own dread of tackling new physical challenges with the discomfort other learners confront when taking on something they think they cannot do. …

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