Adult Learning in Groups by Brid Connolly

By Brid Connolly

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The baby monkeys opted for contact with the cosy cloth monkey, rather than the food-providing one. This experiment would be too cruel for today's standards, but it did show that basic needs included love and closeness, and not just food. While the experiment focuses on baby monkeys, it illuminates the need for closeness and intimacy throughout life, and not just for babies. Rogers and Maslow are located within a humanistic philosophy, which is influential in groupwork and adult education. Humanistic group method and process is based on the foundations of humanism and democracy.

Conclusion This chapter drew together a number of disparate strands on the history of adult education, rooted in an optimistic view of people's development and their right to emancipation and liberty. It connected these with the need for fulfilment, in terms of personal actualization and the need for meaningful autonomy. It went on to consider the part that reflexivity WIDER CONTEXTS OF LEARNING AS ADULTS 47 plays in equipping people to counter hopelessness and oppression, both externally, for example from unemployment or poverty, or from within, regarding internalized assumptions about who is worthy and who may not be.

That is, traditional teaching reinforces the powerlessness of the children, just as traditional parenting did. Andragogy was useful in drawing our attention to these differences, but the word is cumbersome, individualistic and not entirely transparent. I don't use the terms pedagogy or andragogy, generally in this book, as I consider them archaic. I prefer to use 'teaching methods' or 'adult education methods' instead. However, Knowles was very important in developing the profile of adult education in the USA, which in turn led to the concept of perspective transformation, developed by Jack Mezirow, which he continued to develop (2000).

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