Pedagogy generally means the science of teaching. It focuses on methods and approaches that are based on principles, which are derived from theories.
Andragogy is the arts of teaching adult learners. The approach is influenced by some basic teaching principles (pedagogical principles) and characteristics of adult learners.
To claim that ‘pedagogy is for “young children” and ‘andragogy is for “adults” is erroneous and misleading. It should not be an issue of dichotomy. One is not necessarily better that the other but one should complement each other.
We should look at the models of pedagogy and andragogy to understand both. In pedagogical model, the teacher carries full responsibility for making decisions about what will be learned (specific content), how it will be learned (specific mode of learning: face-to-face, blended), when it will be learned (specific time and space), and if the material has been learned (specific assessment). The teacher acts as the source of knowledge and information; he imparts the knowledge and skills, controls the pace of learning, and assess learners’ achievement.
On the other hand, in andragogical model, the teacher designs basic contents but allows learners to explore other contents and materials, to learn on their own (autonomous, self-directed), to learn at their pace and will, and to asses their own progress partially. The teacher acts as the manager, facilitator, and counselor in the learning environment in which adult learners will participate in the planning of the experience, by determining what needs to be learned, formulating the learning objectives, designing the learning plan, and evaluating their own learning.
Theoretically, both models seems to be distinctive but practically they are not. A teacher needs to be aware of the principles that both models carry, and apply the principles accordingly. In reality, the current trend of teaching in ICT related environment, the teacher can apply both pedagogical model principles and andragogical model principles. One is not exclusive of the other when it comes to pragmatic teaching.
We can classify characteristics of pedagogy and andragogy as the following is also misleading.
Some people claimed that in “pedagogy”
- Learners are called “students.” (The term “pupil” is too exclusive and limited in scope)
- Dependent learning style.
- Objectives are predetermined and inflexible
- It is assumed that the learners are inexperienced and/or uninformed.
- Passive training methods, such as lecture, are used.
- Trainer controls timing and pace.
- Participants contribute little to the experience.
- Learning is content-centered.
- Trainer is seen as the primary resource who provides ideas and examples.
Some other people claimed the characteristics of Andragogy are
- Learners are called “participants” or “learners.”
- Independent learning style.
- Objectives are flexible.
- It is assumed that the learners have experience to contribute.
- Active training methods are used.
- Learners influence timing and pace.
- Participant involvement is vital.
- Learning is real-life problem-centered.
- Participants are seen as primary resources for ideas and examples.
Hypothetically, these characteristics MAY BE TRUE but practically, they are not TRUE ALL THE TIME. It all depends on teachers’ competence and how teachers carry out their teaching.
These characteristics should not be seen as a set divine principles. Teachers should not adopt the above characteristics blindly or rigidly when they conduct their teaching either with young learners and adult learners. In fact, teachers should be able to rationalize specific principles they use in their teaching rather than to follow the so-called “classification of pedagogy and andragogy”. In brief, andragogy can be categorized as a subset of pedagogy.
However, knowing some characteristics of adult learners would help teachers to adjust their approaches in teaching, and therefore, making their teaching more effective.
Knowles’ theory of andragogy can be stated with six assumptions related to motivation of adult learning:
1. Adults need to know the reason for learning something (Need to Know)
2. Experience (including error) provides the basis for learning activities (Foundation).
3. Adults need to be responsible for their decisions on education; involvement in the planning and evaluation of their instruction (Self-concept).
4. Adults are most interested in learning subjects having immediate relevance to their work and/or personal lives (Readiness).
5. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented (Orientation).
6. Adults respond better to internal versus external motivators (Motivation).
The term has been used by some to allow discussion of contrast between self-directed and ‘taught’ education
Another term that describes the unique of learners in the learning process is heutology, which is an expansion of andragogy.
“Heutagogy places specific emphasis on learning how to learn, double loop learning, universal learning opportunities, a non-linear process, and true learner self-direction.
So, for example, whereas andragogy focuses on the best ways for people to learn, heutagogy also requires that educational initiatives include the improvement of people’s actual learning skills themselves, learning how to learn as well as just learning a given subject itself.
Similarly, whereas andragogy focusses on structured education, in heutagogy all learning contexts, both formal and informal, are considered.” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heutagogy