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PSY Adult Development and Life Assessment

My concern with the problem of adult learning is well-grounded, and I am deeply involved in it. Due to some reasons, I did not have an opportunity to enter an educational institution promptly because there were certain financial difficulties endured by my family. The necessity to work deprived me of the chance to enjoy my youth. Now when I am a financially independent person, I have decided to make up leeway and to obtain a degree in science. In this paper, I will consider some theories of adult development to prove that adult learning is quite effective. I will also analyze my life experience about theories on adult learning and development to argue that there are no age restrictions for knowledge acquisition.

Based on the above, there are false stereotypes created by people that adult learning has certain limits and difficulties connected with aging. However, the established boundaries are connected with the standards of adult education rather than with the process of adult learning itself.

As my family has certain financial problems, I had to start working quite early. I was employed by a small company as a courier and my task was to deliver letters and other important documentation to the right place at a right time. I was young enough to realize that this was a dead-end job that has no opportunities for promotion. As my graphic was not fixed, I did not have an opportunity to take some courses and to obtain a degree. Nevertheless, I tried to devote all my spare time to self-study and development which soon gave me some privileges. Now, when my working experience exceeds ten years, I have taken the course on human resources management to obtain a degree and, thus, to increase my chances for promotion.

When taking courses for adult learners I have started paying more attention to different theoretical frameworks focusing on the problem of adult development, particularly on the problem of identity. In this respect, I have recognized the author’s statement that “adults learn in a wide variety of settings – in the home, workplace, community…in this way, a more diverse range of activities can be said to come inside the boundaries” (Edwards et al., 1996, p 4). I definitely agree with these suggestions. When I was young, I did not have many obligations and responsibilities, and, therefore, I had fewer problems. Now when I am a grown-up, my responsibilities and obligations are connected with a wider range of issues, like family and work that surely influence my study in school.

When working and studying at the same time, I realized that a wide range of obligations and responsibilities negatively influenced some aspects of my learning process. I guess that it did not depend on the aging process because I can barely agree that it has a serious impact on intellectual development and knowledge acquisition. In this respect, I stick to the idea that it is reasonable to refer more to an ecological paradigm of adult development (Stevens-Long and Michaud, 2003). According to this concept, the aging process can be compared with a matrix presenting development across the entire lifespan. I believe that my life was also composed of “a series of patterns evolving and dissolving over time” (Stevens-Long and Michaud, 2003, p. 6). Combining work and study, I have subconsciously created my unique pattern of development that considerably differs from a traditional one. Taking into consideration that aging can influence the process of memorizing, I have just made some improvements to my studying techniques (Smith and DeFrates-Densch, 2009). But this does not mean that this pattern yields to it in terms of effectiveness.

The above paradigm leads me to the idea that adult education does not have serious boundaries. The point is that, apart from the employed setting, the process of learning provides more practice opportunities. Hence, the more I know about different techniques and strategies, the more chances I have to employ them immediately. In other words, I perceive my working environment as the place where I can find practical application of the acquired theoretical knowledge. I have learned about this approach when reading Merriam’s conceptions in her book called Adult Learning Theory for the Twenty-First Century that encourage me to consider my adult learning beneficial for my career (Merriam, 2003). It is necessary to recognize that that the process of learning covers much wider activities including emotional and mental processes. About this theory, I can also refer to my work as a learning process where practical knowledge and empirical experience can be converted into theoretical concepts. Hence, working as a courier, I have learned different types of documents, the basic concepts of business communication and conflict resolution. What is more important, I have gained profound knowledge of human psychology the theory of which I have further discovered in the course of my adult study.

As it has been indirectly mentioned, emotions play a significant role in the process of knowledge acquisition. The point is that I have been sure that emotion is the main taboo in the workplace. I agree with the idea that it is wrong to deny human nature, as an organizational process has always involved and provoked jokes, anger, curiosity, envy, etc (Bierema, 2008, p. 57). Besides, “[s]oul learning also means not taking sides when a conflict arises and expanding the heart and mind wide enough to embrace contradiction and paradox” (MacKeracher, 2004, p. 175). Therefore, emotions contribute to the cognitive process and make adult learning much more effective. Moreover, emotional focus considerably lessens the time of study and increases productivity at the same time.

In conclusion, the above presented information has made me shatter the existed stereotypes that adult learning and development are not so effective in comparison with youth learning. Those constraints are primarily determined by the standards of an adult educational system, but not by the process of the study itself. To prove this point of view I have skimmed through alternative paradigms and have defined other theories that relevantly explain these limits of adult development. About my personal background, I have researched the problem of personal identity and have found out that my job experience is of great use for my learning process because I understand clearly what disciplines I should study. In addition, I know how to meet halfway with my tutor to achieve mutual understanding and cooperation. Later, I have discovered other interesting theories like an ecological paradigm and the role of emotions in an academic process which considerably foster my comprehension of all peculiarities of adult learning. Finally, I have realized that there are no serious limits for adults to learn. As proof, I enjoy studying because knowledge exploration helps in handling my work. More importantly, the above theories help me develop my communicational skills.

Reference List

Bierem, L. L. (2008) Adult Learning in the Workplace: Emotion Work or Emotion Learning. New directions for adult and continuing education. 120, pp. 55-64.

Edwards, R., Hanson, A., and Raggatt, P. (1996). Boundaries of adult learning. NJ. Routledge.

MacKeracher, D. (2004). Making sense of adult learning. Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Merriam, S. B. (2008) Adult Learning Theory for the Twenty-First Century. New directions for adult and continuing education. 119, pp. 93-98.

Smith, M. C., and DeFrates-Densch, N. (2009) Handbook of research on adult learning and development. US: Taylor & Francis.

Stevens-Long, J, and Michaud, G. (2003) The new paradigm and the problem of direction. Handbook of adult development. US: Springer.


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