Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Adult Learning Development from the Prism of Homestay

Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Adult Learning Development from the Prism of Homestay

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study seeks to understand how adult learning takes place in homestay programme at Kanchong Darat, Banting, and Selangor in Malaysia. The study seeks to provide an overview evaluation and some salient lessons that could be derived in providing quality homestay services to learners. More so, the study succinctly covers socio-cultural issues in the homestay environment, such as the general services, and policy governing the programme. Furthermore, the study looks at the qualification requirements for participation in the homestay programme. It also apprised readers on how adult learning has changed dramatically over the years through self-directed knowledge and skills acquisition in the homestay arrangement. In addition, the study brings to fore some issues and challenges that the operators and learners encounter in homestay programme in Malaysia. The study indicated that adult learners in homestay programme arrangement learn through their experiences, and are mostly self-directed in learning. Questionnaires, interview, and observation were used in the study.

Keywords: adult learners, adult education, homestay operators, homestay programme, skill, program evaluation

1. Introduction

Adult learners enrol in learning activities through varying channels that are meaningful to them. It is then unsurprising that adult learning is a complex phenomenon, and it is difficult to capture in any definite definition (Cranton, P., 1994). One of the key vital supports that enhance adult learning is having an effective learning environment that provides for both adult's physical and psychological needs. This kind of learning environment will enable a successful partnership among learners and instructors (Imel, 1994). The homestay programme is a potential tourism sector that could attract people of diverse cultural background, since there is a market demand by the international visitors (Richardson, 2003). As a part of learning, homestay programme is characterised by the increasing demand of knowledge through observing, learning the customs and norms of the host community. For example, students who study overseas often participate in homestay programme, and learn numerous things in the cause of doing that (Learning and Teaching Support Network, 2004).

Thus, homestay programme offers participants opportunity to interact as well as to experience firsthand the culture of the host community, to experience their cultural heritage directly, and it gives them the avenue for learning. In Malaysia to be precise, the programme was introduced by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia in 1988 as an effort to diversify the tourism sector through the provision of an alternative accommodation for tourists.

More importantly, there is no existing research on the importance of adult learning in homestay experience among the participants. And there is little academic research work to this date that document why participants choose to engage in such venture as the homestay programme, unlike in Australia and New Zealand where it is extensively documented.

1.1 Study Problem

The Stars dated June 9, 2009 reported the statements by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen in Kota Kinabalu about ruling out the more stringent rules for homestay learners in consonance with the true Malaysian experience as the tourism hub of the world. She was quoted as saying, "Homestay operators will have to follow a set of strict guidelines to ensure that visitors will get the real experience of local living and culture". She added, "The operators must interact with their guests, teach them at least one local song and dance, and served them with local delicacies so that they would get the real taste of the Malaysian experience and wish to visit again." She further said "...there are many tourists who want to experience more of Malaysian life than having just leisure and recreation visit only". Hence, homestay is not only fostering intercultural relations and increasing intercultural understanding, but it has also been suggested to provide the learners with educational opportunity (Clayton, 1984). …

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