Andro…WHAT?

book-2869_640Understandably, most people probably have not heard the term androgogy before. It’s not something we see every day. And yet, we do but don’t realize it. Much like the many common objects and concepts in our daily lives that have names but for which we don’t necessarily know or think about their names. For instance, the plastic tip on the end of a shoelace is called an “aglet.” Or this symbol: #, properly called, is not a hashmark or pound sign, but an “octothorpe.” Unsurprisingly then, the word angrogogy is probably in the same category for most people.

More people have probably heard of pedagogy. That’s just a fancy word that means “education.” If you went to a classically inclined university (like I did), you may have had a department of pedagogy rather than education… However, when we break down the word into its prefix “peda-” from the Greek pais, meaning child, and ago, meaning to lead. So the literal meaning is: “lead the child.” Now, while this term has indeed evolved into something far more generic than what the original Greek meaning might indicate, I don’t fancy the term when dealing with adult education.

Why not? Well, for starters, many would take issue with being treated the same way as children in an grade school classroom. For instance, by the time I got to university, we generally were not expected to raise our hand to ask the teacher permission to use the restroom. You simple did so, quietly and as inobtrusively as possible, and returned when you were finished. But far more significantly, and personal feelings aside, adults do tend to learn in different ways than children. It really is quite a different ballgame, and failure to adequately prepare for this would be a hard-taught lesson for the beginning instructor.

It therefore makes far more sense to replace pedagogy with andragogy to draw a stark distinction between child education and adult education. Of course, not all will agree on where and how the distinctions should be made, and quite honestly, that debate is well enough to leave to academics for critical dissection. My intention is far simpler.
The focus of my Blog is to look at various topics in adult education, which may be academic, such as what you might see in a university lecture hall, practical, as you would have at in a corporate environment, such as a company’s training session on health and saftey in the workplace, or experiential, which might entail an intern or apprentice learning the ropes from a senior in a given field.

I’ve started this Blog as much for my own, personal development and exploration as I have for others, and I would of course, like most Bloggers, welcome comments or questions, or even a guest article if someone should feel exceedingly ambitious.

That said, thank you for reading!

Atley Jonas

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