Personal Philosophy Statement: Adult Learning

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For instructors facilitating adult learning, understanding, and exploring their personal philosophy and approach to teaching is essential for building valuable experiences and interactions with learners. Whether one is a novice or a seasoned expert, there is always opportunity for improvement and the establishment of positive practices that help to see eye to eye with learners, thus facilitating meaningful learning. This paper aims to provide a personal philosophy statement focusing on adult learning and considering such factors as the purpose of adult education, the role of the instructor in adult learning, the ways in which adults best learn, as well as what should be taught to them.

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The Purpose of Adult Education

While the traditional perspective on the purpose of adult education implies offering adults a second chance at acquiring valuable knowledge that can be used to sustain one’s living, the philosophical underpinnings of the issue go beyond such a simplistic interpretation. The philosophy of adult learning as related to the purpose of adult education, in general, begins with validation. Education for adults starts from the affirmation and validation of valuable experiences, knowledge, and insights of an individual. This helps create a foundation for education that can respect and honor a student while also recognizing his or her strengths that can be used for enabling active roles in their own learning. Adult learning is expected to facilitate personal growth with the help of self-reflection and critical thinking, and during this growth process, learners can change their perspectives and shift paradigms. Because of this, learners be offered opportunities to scrutinize and analyze their present ways of acting and thinking as well as recognize the processes that could spur emotions.

Instructor’s Role

The role of the instructor in the adult learning process is facilitating the process of learning by means of drawing from students’ experiences and build such experiences through acquiring new insights, skills, and knowledge. Therefore, the process of learning should be self-directed. A teacher can have a variety of great things present to his or her learners, but if the latter believe that the topic is not relevant or valuable to him or her, there will be a lack of engagement hindering the educational process. This point is especially relevant for teachers who are working outside their communities. Teachers should be able to conduct a thorough investigation of the situation and environment in which students are placed (Darling-Hammond et al., 2020). Teachers should be active listeners and have an honest interest in the needs of his or her students prior to developing any instruction for a lesson.

The role of a teacher is not limited by the development of lesson plans and delivering them to students. Instead, it is needed to take a cue from students and work with both groups and individuals to generate a setting in which learning is the responsibility of each person. Once such an environment is available, the teacher does not represent an expert that knows everything but rather plays the role of a facilitator and an assistant in learning, helping students understand the topics being studied. Only delivering answers to study questions is a massive mistake that a teacher can make in this setting since there is the need to establish a connection that is based on perspectives and experiences rather than facts. The environment created by teachers should welcome mistakes and enable learners to exercise their genuine interest in the acquisition of knowledge.

Best Way for Adults to Learn

A transformative and holistic approach toward instruction has the potential to facilitate a rewarding experience in adult learning. The ways in which adults learn the best are connected to positive learning environments that foster humility in both teachers and students. The majority of modern approaches to education are rigid and materialistic, and the sense of accomplishment is usually attributed to whether a student gained the knowledge and expertise that was claimed as a guarantee of learning. Another challenge of the expert-focus mindset is the dependency on having a concrete solution that can be applied to specific issues. This robs both teachers and learners from their ability to play central loves in their own lives as decision-makers for their communities.

Adult learners are expected to learn best when humility is at the center of the process, and education becomes transformation. When they are explained that they have an opportunity to change for the better, adults can unfold their individual capacity and develop with the help of valuable experiences. While learning for the sake of learning a positive practice, learning to facilitate change and improvement in society can make the acquisition of skills, insights, and knowledge both exciting and relevant. For adult learners, the holistic approach toward instruction allows learning to be closely connected with subsequent action that they will take in their future life. Such an approach is essential for infusing a sense meaning and purpose within the learning process, especially as learners can personally see their own progress.

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What Should be Taught

Adult learning should be balanced and methodical and aimed at the knowledge that can validate and employ various learning paradigms, such as those related to art and culture, science, and spirituality. The interplay between different areas and topics of learning is key in adult education. For instance, a system of education that places significant emphasis on science and diminishes the importance of arts is destructive and counter-productive to learners. As a result of the overt focus on one discipline, learners will have an imbalanced perspective on the world that can limit their views and skills required for overcoming complex challenges. An effective educational program that targets adults should strive toward addressing a wide variety of perspectives and needs of learners, especially within communities that have been subjected to inequality and marginalization. The overall wellness and healing of past negative experiences should be embedded in the process of learning as one of the key components of adults’ self-improvement.


Adult learning is expected to be a contributor to general community efforts to facilitate positive change. The job of an adult instructor is to become a learning facilitator while also help students to adopt a self-directed approach to the process that may draw from past knowledge and experiences. Significant attention should be given to the potential of learners and their sense of personal ownership as tools for successful learning. Besides, a positive environment is needed to ensure that learners can exercise their individual capacity and develop with the help of valuable experiences. Ultimately, the success of adult learning is associated with balancing the range of available teaching methods while also cultivating diverse capabilities of learners’ potential.


Darling-Hammond, L., Flook, L., Cook-Harvey, C., Barron, B., & Osher, D. (2020). Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development. Applied Developmental Science, 24(2), 97-140.

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"Personal Philosophy Statement: Adult Learning." ChalkyPapers, 12 Feb. 2022,


ChalkyPapers. (2022) 'Personal Philosophy Statement: Adult Learning'. 12 February.


ChalkyPapers. 2022. "Personal Philosophy Statement: Adult Learning." February 12, 2022.

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ChalkyPapers. "Personal Philosophy Statement: Adult Learning." February 12, 2022.