What is Andragogy and Why Does It Matter?
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You’ve heard of pedagogy, right? We often speak about pedagogy as relating to teaching in general and so, by extension, teaching English as a Foreign Language. But you might not realise that strictly speaking, pedagogy refers to the teaching of Young Learners. And while we need to be aware of issues relating to pedagogy because you might find yourself teaching English as a Foreign Language to Young Learners, we also actually need to familiarize ourselves with andragogy. So, what is andragogy and why does it matter?
Read more: Top Tips for Teaching Young Learners
So what is andragogy?
The term pedagogy includes the Greek word for child (paidi) which is why it refers to how children learn – i.e. teaching children – and the term andragogy includes the Greek word for man (andras). So andragogy refers to how adults learn, and correspondingly how to teach adults.
Why is andragogy important in TEFL?
As TEFL teachers this is important to us as it is likely you will teach adults at some point in your career. It is further important for us to consider as there are differences in adult and younger learners which means there are differences in how they learn, which in turn means there are differences in how we should teach them.
Adults and Young Learners differ in a number of ways, such as attention span, discipline, and cognitive capabilities. But, in essence, adult learners differ from younger learners in terms of their motivation and ability – two fundamental aspects of learning a language, or learning anything, for that matter.
Read more: 6 Differences Between Teaching Adults and Young Learners
What do you need to know about andragogy?
So let’s talk about andragogy so we can better understand how adults learn and how this can help us if we are in the classroom teaching English to adults.
Adults are individuals
Yes, children are individuals too but they are not totally aware of that yet. Adults, on the other hand, are. They know and understand their learning preferences, interests, and capabilities. In the classroom, this means we need to make sure we take those into account both when planning lessons and when managing your classrooms.
Make sure you get to know your learners, their backgrounds, interests, and personalities. Doing this will help you tailor your lessons to suit your learners. This will mean they will engage more with your lessons and the lessons will be more meaningful for them. If the lessons are more meaningful for learners, they will learn the language more easily.
Also bear in mind that if your students are not interested in your lessons, because they are adults, they can vote with their feet and simply not turn up for class – which is not the feedback you want!
Adults have experience
Because they have spent more years on this planet than our Young Learners, adults have a wealth of experience which they bring into the classroom – life experience, as well as learning experience. This means they are most definitely not blank slates and we need to build on the foundations they have to help them learn better.
To make sure you are catering to the needs of your students, make sure you take into account their backgrounds and experiences when planning your lessons. Make sure you relate the lesson materials to your learners’ lives outside the classroom through contextualisation and personalization. This personalization will help them connect the new language they are learning to the knowledge they already have.
Read more: 5 Ways to Make Language Learning Meaningful
Adults have opinions
Adults have opinions. They have their own thoughts and ideas on topics you may discuss in the classroom, and even on language learning itself. Their experience in life also informs their opinions, and these may or may not be the same as yours or the other students. This means you need to make sure your classroom activities do not become heated and that everyone’s viewpoints are taken into account.
This also means that adults are not going to blindly follow what you say if they disagree with you. This is in relation both to what you say and your ideas regarding language learning. In other words, if a student doesn’t agree with your method of teaching, they are likely to make this known. It is not uncommon for adult students to voice their unhappiness over classroom materials or lesson activities if they are not happy with them or if they feel they are not beneficial to them.
Adults are in control
Adults are able to take responsibility for their learning. Many Young Learners are learning English as a school subject or because their parents signed them up for lessons. Adults are often the ones who choose to sign themselves up for lessons, be it for their own personal development or pleasure, for their studies, or for their work.
Whatever the reason, they understand their need to be able to speak English and so they are likely to take responsibility for this – especially if they are paying for the lessons themselves. As teachers, we need to connect with our learners so they are motivated to do the work both in the classroom and outside the classroom in order for them to learn the language.
So while you may understand that you won’t sing nursery rhymes to your adult learners or talk politics with your Young Learners, it’s important to realise the fundamental differences in teaching Young Learners and adults. There are probably more TEFL teachers who teach adults than you realise, and there is a very good chance you will be one of them, so understanding this will make sure you are prepared for whatever your adult students are going to throw your way.
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- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.