Archive for January 2014

Dr. Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences: A Repost   Leave a comment

I normally do not re-post but in this case I am making an exception. On January 22, 2012 I posted, “Dr. Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences” and as of today it has been viewed 46,742 times. I have had feedback from many and even told about a professor in California who asked his students to read this blog. Thank you all who have read and shared my paper.eyes26


Multiple Intelligence was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University. According to Howard Gardner (2003), there are at least nine intelligences that all individuals posses through which we learn in today’s society. “Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences requires teachers to adjust their instructional strategies in order to meet students’ individual needs.” (p.115).

It suggests that the traditional perception of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited in its results regarding students. “Howard Gardner has questioned the idea that intelligence is a single entity, that it results from a single factor, and that it can be measured simply via IQ tests.”(Smith, 2002, para. 3). Apparently, the intelligences rarely operate independently and they complement each other as an individual begins to develop their skills or problem solving capabilities. These multiple intelligence theories challenge traditional beliefs in the fields of education and cognitive science. The nine types of intelligence are: Naturalist Intelligence to be nature smart, Musical Intelligence which is musical smart, Logical-Mathematical Intelligence meaning number/reasoning smart, Existential Intelligence suggesting fundamental questioning and pondering of existence,  Interpersonal Intelligence to be people smart, Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence meaning body smart, Linguistic Intelligence suggesting word smart, Intra-personal Intelligence which is self smart and Visual/Spatial Intelligence meaning picture smart.

After reviewing numerous articles written on the subject I was able to distinguish my learning abilities relating to four of the intelligences that were prevalent in terms of how they explained my abilities to learn regarding how the intelligence theory applies to my learning abilities.

The first of Garner’s Intelligence that became apparent was the Intra-personal Learner. This is the ability to understand oneself, recognize fears and motivations while realizing one’s feelings. It is described as having a successful working model of oneself and being able to use such information to control one’s life. It suggests that I learn best when working alone, dealing with individualized projects and functioning with high productivity due to a self paced instruction. It suggests pursuing interests and focusing on understanding oneself. There is a tendency of focusing inward regarding one’s feelings and dreams. Following my instincts and striving towards goals and interests. Individuals with intra-personal intelligence are usually imaginative, original, patient, disciplined, motivated, and have a great deal of self-respect. Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directing one’s life. It involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident that I may be shy, very aware of my own feelings, considered a loner and self-motivated. As a child I have had strong intuitive feelings and a sense of inner wisdom.

The second Intelligence theory that describes my learning capability is the Naturalist learner. It is the ability to distinguish among living things such as animals and plants as well having the sensitivity to other aspects of the natural world. I have a genuine admiration of the aspects of nature and how they intertwine. This trait has been know to put the future of the world first and being concerned about how man could be destroying our planet for future generations. People with naturalistic intelligence often show expertise in the recognition and classification of plants and animals. As a child, I was unusually good at sorting and classifying rocks and shells which is an example of a naturalist characteristic. I would often benefit from learning outdoors, interacting with my surroundings and learning about how things work.

The third, Logical-Mathematical developed Intelligence became apparent to me as I read the descriptions in Garner’s articles. It is the capability to calculate, quantify, and carry out complete numerical operations. It symbolizes the ability to think logically, to recognize patterns as well as work with abstract concepts and to be a constant questioner. It enables me to distinguish relationships using sequential reasoning skills and inductive/deductive thinking patterns. As a young adult I was interested in patterns, mathematical relationships and fascinated with puzzles involving logic and reasoning abilities. As an adult, I am an author, an artist, accountant by trade and a numerologist on the side. Numerology is a hobby of mine, it entails studying the science of numbers.

The fourth Intelligence that I recognized as a developed learning ability is Visual/Spatial. Spatial intelligence is the capability to think in two and three dimensional ways. It includes external/internal imagery, artistic skills, and an active imagination. It enables me to perceive, to recreate, transform, or modify images to navigate oneself and objects through space in order to solve problems. People with spatial intelligence often are attracted to color and imagine the world differently. The role that spatial intelligence plays in the visual arts is evident since I am an artistically inclined in painting and sculpting. An artist’s style often depends on their ability to visualize and create from a blank canvas. Spatial thinkers “perceive the visual world accurately, to perform transformations and modifications upon one’s initial perceptions, and to be able to re-create aspects of one’s initial perceptions, even in the absence of relevant physical stimuli” (Gardner, 1983, p. 173).

Some characteristics that led me to believe that my learning includes Visual/Spatial intelligence are: I enjoy creating things, looking at photographs, visualizing and using my mind’s eye when it comes to colors and artwork. As a child, I would think in images and be able to locate missing objects due to visual recall. I would sketch and was fascinated by shapes, shadows, highlights and perspective drawing. I developed my learning in sensing changes, mastering puzzles/mazes and reading maps.

Howard Gardner’s Intelligence theory adds new depth to understanding the complicated and diverse dimensions of individual intelligence. This hypothesis has allowed me to view a new dimension of academic abilities on a deeper level with multiple perspectives. I have a heightened understanding of how I learn that will help me to improve my capabilities not only academically speaking, but also professionally in today’s complicated world.


Nolen, Jennifer L. (2003). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Education. Fall2003. Vol. 124 Issue 1. p115-119. 5p. Retrieved May 23,

Smith, M. K. (2002) Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences. Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Retrieved May 25, 2007,  from

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Observations From An Adult Learner: My Learning Reflection   Leave a comment

I, Danelle am an adult lifelong learner. I am like a tree whose roots are grounded deep in the earth as the sun light gives me the nutrients of knowledge and the rain provides my growth. My branches are extensions of myself as each limb symbolizes my past experiences. 

            As an adult learner I am a statistic. I am considered a nontraditional student due to my age of forty-eight. I am part of many adult educational participation groups within the formal learning environment such as, online students in distance education programs that totaled nearly 1.5 million as of 2006 (Kasworm, C., Rose, A. & Ross-Gordon, J.M., 2010, para. 25) and within the college institution of Empire State College in 2013, I am included in more than sixty percent of students who study part time and sixty-one percent who are white.”  (para. Empire State College, 2013).

            As I reflect on being an adult learner there are certain characteristics of the learning community which I possess. I utilize my past experiences as resources to build upon my new learning endeavors. Throughout my life I have acquired skills and knowledge outside of the formal education setting which has led to personal reflections and critical thinking. Coombs, Prosser, & Ahmed (1973) notes:

            In addition, Adult and Continuing Education occurs in a variety of settings, including formal (educational settings), nonformal (organized activities outside educational organizations, such as in businesses and industry, churches and professional    associations), and informal (learning in everyday settings contexts (Kasworm, Rose & Ross-Gordon, 2010, p. 5).

It is within these various realms that mistakes were made which resulted in my successful learning progress. 

            Furthermore, as an aging adult learner and a baby boomer I am associated with the changing demographics within our society since this generation has now become the largest in our country. I believe that due to today’s technology and medical research one theory comes to mind by Swain (1995), , “…our life expectances have increased throughout the last half of the 20th century and is believed to be higher than any increases from recorded history until 1900” (Crawford, 2004). 

            Changing demographics have a connection with continuous lifelong learning by adults, such as me. According to Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner (2007), “For the first time in our society, adults outnumber youth, there are more older adults, the population is better educated than ever before, and there is more cultural and ethnic diversity” (p.7). It is this group of learners that will find their educational needs increasing. It is reported that aging adults pace of learning may decrease with age, but the concentration of learning tends to increase as research by Knowles (1980) revealed that, “…the decline was that of speed of learning, not intellectual power and that even this was minimized by continual use of the intellect (Crawford, D.L., 2004). I have a desire to take control of my learning and to expand my knowledge in social change while participating in a formal learning setting. According to Newman (2005), “social action “occurs when people act collectively to bring about change” (Kasworm, Rose and Ross-Gordon, 2010, P. 7).

            I have been a formal learning adult student for the past twenty years at Empire State College and have confronted many barriers for instance, being a primary caretaker for my mother, which in turn, changed my family responsibilities and educational goals. I have encountered many of life’s transitions and have traveled down the old-fashioned path only to stop unexpectedly due to family medical issues. Johnston and Rivera (1965) acknowledged external barriers as, “…influences more or less external to the individual or at least beyond the individual’s control (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, p.66). Yet, I always return even as my goals were in a constant state of evolving and changing. My motivation has always been to better myself, my career and to be educationally well rounded while sharing my knowledge with others.

            I have a combination of preferred learning methods that are uniquely my own. First, I am strongly a kinesthetic learner by touching, feelings, moving my hands and using all my senses. For example, if I have to spell a word, I need to write it out on paper. Second, I am a visual learner as I learn through visual illustrations for instance, in seeing images, pictures and also I happen to be an avid note taker. Third, I am an auditory learner as I self-talk and acquire new information by reading it out loud. Lastly, I am a verbal learner. I enjoy writing and expressing myself, but I have always been challenged by the action of reading. In knowing my styles I will be able to study more efficiently hence, learn more effectively. In doing so, I will begin to understand other adult learner’s styles to help teach them on their own levels while examining their strengths and weaknesses.

            Presently, my goals are to teach, inspire, and guide other adult learners towards their own meaning of success. I want my knowledge to increase daily leading me to the comprehension of what it means to be an educator of adults in today’s contemporary world. I want to teach adult learners about the controversy regarding gender and the binary system within our society. I want to be the teacher who educates, learns from students, and is able to create change. My current educational priorities are based on learning and understanding how to create change in social welfare in order to serve the community. I want to learn how to build a learning environment that incorporates the different learning styles such as, providing sensory (hard evidences), visual (PowerPoint presentations), kinesthetic (field trips), auditory (lectures/discussions), and verbal (expressing through writing and learning through the written word) 

            My strengths as an adult learner begins with being a diverse individual based on my past and present experiences whether it is formal, informal, nonformal, community based, spiritual, indigenous and online learning. I am self-directed in my approach to how I learn and have acquired strong literacy/critical thinking skills throughout my life. I am an analyzer with a curious nature and have a passion for knowledge. I am confident in my time management skills and know that learning increases my confidence as an adult learner whereas; my weaknesses revolve around the act of reading information.

            There is one major factor that has had the most significant impact on my learning goals and experiences; it has been my marriage/divorce with Charles, a Female to Male transgender. Through this experience I found a need and passion to explore what is the meaning of gender. 

            I believe that the different theories provided by the theorists are sufficient information on adult learning and found nothing that was not applicable. The textbook descriptions fit me as well as others whom I interact with as adult learners by reporting diversity being the key, participation within the learning and intellectual commons and finally, we are all lifelong learners. We commit to continue learning because “the trouble with the future is that it usually arrives before we’re ready for it” (Arnold H. Glasow).


Arnold H. Glasow Quote: Retrieved September 10, 2013 from

Crawford, D. L. (2004).  The Role of Aging in Adult Learning: Implications for Instructors in Higher Education. Retrieved September 13, 2013, from

Image. (2013): Retrieved September 19, 2013, from

Empire State College. (2013). Students. Retrieved September 7, 2013, from

Kasworm, C., Rose, A. and Ross-Gordon, J.M. (2010). Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.

 Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S. & Baumgartner, L.M. (2007). Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide (3rd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Knowles’ Model of Andragogy and a Glance into Sexual Orientation: A Literature Review   Leave a comment

Knowles’ Model of Andragogy and a Glance into Sexual Orientation

A Literature Review


            This paper is a literature review of the adult learning theory, andragogy and its systematic development which began in the 19th century. A secondary analysis will discuss the connection of sexual orientation to the theory. Malcolm Knowles who is the father of andragogy describes it as, “…the art and science of helping adults learn” (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, p.84). It is a guided activity that produces change in the adult learner. Foundational questions arise such as, in the debate of the differences between learning of an adult compared to the learning of a child (pedagogy) and two, is it a theory? Knowles (1984) commented, “Andragogy now appears to be situation-specific and not unique to adults” (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, p.87). This philosophy can be explained through different assumptions, perceptions and beliefs. The research incorporated in this paper will focus on the dependency to self-directedness, viewing injustices related to the learning experience, and exploring different approaches to teaching adult learners.

Definition of an Adult Learner

            How is an adult learner identified? A researcher examines their social roles in society, their biological age, the time when self-concept and acknowledging responsibilities comes into place, and even takes note if one is married or driving. It is the social definition that Knowles (1978) discussed regarding andragogy and the adult learner

            Andragogy assumes that the point at which an individual achieves a self-concept of essential self-direction is the point at which psychologically becomes an adult…It is my   own observation that those students who have entered a professional school, or have a job have made a big step toward seeing themselves as essentially self-directing. (Tennant, 2011, p. 114).

Andragogy: A theory in waves


            In order to understand the theory behind the liberal humanism aspects it is important to explore the beginning or the history of the viewpoint. Alexander Kapp, a German high school teacher in 1833 examined the educational theory of the Greek philosopher Plato and coined the phrase andragogy during the enlightenment movement. Kapp based his opinions on the first values in human life including self-reflection and educating. He justifies andragogy and the education for adults. It was unfortunate or maybe fate that a German man, John Frederick Herbert, disapproved of the term which resulted in andragogy fading for almost a century, although adult learning continued, but without a name.  (Henschke, 2009, para. p. 2).

            The theory found a second life when it reappeared in 1921in a report by Rosenstock-Huessy, a leading force in the first theoretical, academic reflections on adult pedagogical issues in the 1920s in which he argued, “…‘adult education required special teachers, methods and philosophy, and he used the term andragogy to refer collectively to these special requirements (Henschke, 2009, para. p.1).

            In 1926, Lindeman, an American theorist reexamined the nature of andragogy. In addition, Anderson and Lindeman (1927) reiterated the concept as it was brought to the new land of America although no development was done on the theory, there was an emphasis on, “…a commitment to a self-directed, experiential, problem-solving approach to adult education” (Holmes, G. & Abington-Cooper, M., 2000, para. p. 1).

            Then there was a third wave of andragogy in the 1950’s and it wasn’t until 1968, a time of social and political movements when people were finding their voices that Malcolm Knowles, a theorist in adult education wrote about and reported on andragogy.  Sopher & Henschke (2011) noted, “The social movements which provide context of Knowles’ times included: the humanistic adult education movement, the human services movement, the group dynamics movement, and the human resource development movement” (p. 1).

            Also incorporated in the setting was the addition of creating a knowledge base “…the context in which two of the field’s most important theory-building efforts-andragogy and self-directed learning-emerged” (Merriam, 2001, p. 4). Knowles theory led to the popularizing of the term while creating disputes and controversy within the field.

Knowlesian assumptions of andragogy

            Knowles theory in adult learning was concerned with the theoretical and practical aspects and concluded that it also needed to be applied to the educator and even beyond (Sopher & Henschke, 2011, para p. 1). Within the work was a need to distinguish between adult and child learning. One underlying principle is revealed in examining the learning environments which are different between formal and informal learning in adult learning as Patterson & Pegg, (1999) noted, “Because adults regard education as a life-time activity, they are able to learn more effectively in a self-directed environment, which is quite different from the environment of traditional students” (Thompson, & Clayton, 2004, p. 108).

            There are six assumptions of the theory based on humanism, self-identity, and growth as Pratt (1993) reported, “…as an ideology, andragogy promotes individualism as a virtue and individual growth as the purpose of education and emphasizes self-fulfillment and private interests over public ends” (Sandlin, 2005, p. 26). The principles include: self-concept: going from having a dependent personality to a self-directing personality as one matures according to Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner (2007), “… self-directed learning is a natural part of adult life (p. 110), experience: the expectation that adult learners have a growing reservoir of experience which provides a “rich resource for learning”, readiness to learn: there is a connection between the readiness of an adult to learn and the developmental tasks of his or her social role, orientation to learn: adult learners are more problem-centered than subject-centered in learning, motivation to learn: the most critical learning comes from internal motivation and desire to learn rather than external motivation, need to know: adults need to know why they need to learn something before the process can begin (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, para. p.84).

Themes and patterns in andragogy

            There are two central themes, one of which is the definition of the role of the teacher as being a facilitator rather than just presenting information to the adult learner and second, with an emphasis on the adult learner within the process of going from dependent to self-directed and autonomous. Learning is a repetitive patterned process that creates changes in the adult leaner going from dependent on educators to taking responsibility for how and why they learn. According to Caffarella (1993), “the focus of learning is on the individual and self-development, with learners expected to assume primary responsibility for their own learning. The process of learning, which is centered on learner needs, is seen as more important than the content (Alfred, 2004, p. 1).

            From these attributes and assumptions, Knowles theory is linear in nature and moves through steps suggesting a program planning model for, “…designing, implementing, and evaluating educational experiences with adults (Merriam, 2001, p. 4). There are many other patterns that are perceived in andragogy such as, being learner centered, the perspective of the inner and outer self, being self-directed, learning occurring with or without educators, life experiences count resulting in reflection, and becoming self-actualized and autonomous.

Principles of Self-directed Learning & Autonomy

            The terms andragogy, self-direction, and independence are all intertwined and yet the goals may be different. Self-directed learning has three goals: (1) which is grounded in humanistic philosophy, posits personal growth and to enhance learners to be self-directed, (2) to foster transformational learning as central to self-directed learning, and (3) promoting emancipatory learning and social action (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, para.p. 107-108). To define autonomy is say that it combines adult learners with their inner will to do or not do with the freedom to act and be independent leading to reflection as one takes control of their learning. It is about being proactive in learning and growing while relying on oneself and not an educator. According to Knowles (1975, 1980) who explained that context plays an important role in autonomy, “…people move toward self-directedness at differing rates and not necessarily in all dimensions of life, and that in some situations adults may need to be at least ‘temporarily dependent’ in learning situations” (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, p.123).

            There are four assumptions influencing autonomous behavior for instance, an adult learners personal sense of their capabilities (role as a learner), the adult learners understanding and knowledge of a subject matter, at any time in an adult learners life there is revealed a commitment and a desire to learn, and the adult learners learning process is related to their technical skills (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, para. p.123). An adult learner goes through stages to reach a level of self-direction. Knowles staged self-directed learning model starts with stage one, being dependent followed by becoming interested then involved resulting in being self-directed. Benson & Voller (1997) reported on Knowles five step model of self-directed learning term autonomy has come to be used in at least five ways: (1) for situations in which learners study entirely on their own; (2) for a set of skills which can be learned and applied in self-directed learning; (3) for an inborn capacity which is suppressed by institutional education; (4) for the exercise of learners’ responsibility for their own learning; (5) for the right of learners to determine the direction of their own learning. (Thanasoulas, 2000, p. 1).

            After reviewing the assumptions, stages, and principles of andragogy, there is a fire that sparks the value system through three features of individualism as Tennant (2011) stated, “…the dignity of the person, autonomy and self-direction (Tennant, 2011, p. 120). Does autonomy mean freedom from an educator? It appears that the bottom line regarding independent and dependent learners is that they need to be both when exercising their autonomy (Zoghi & Dehghan, 2012, para. p. 23).

Connection between Andragogy and Sexual Orientation

            Knowles views of adult learning are humanistic. According to Sarapin & Vorvoreanu (2000), “Although Knowles’ definition of andragogy focuses on the teacher’s role, his andragogical theory is based on characteristics of the adult learner” (p. 1). Is there a connection between andragogy and the sexual orientation of an adult learner? Certain stages and assumptions come to light for instance the third goal of self-directed learning which states, to help free social restraints. Second, when adult learners reach a developmental stage of readiness to learn adults are prepared to learn specific knowledge in order to act, think, and cope in today’s contemporary world in real life situations. What Knowles does not incorporate in his theory is the socio-cultural characteristics, the spiritual, the sexual orientation, or gender which affects the autonomous learner as Grace (1996b) noted, “He chose the mechanistic  over the meaningful” (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, p. 88).

            Social inequities (and sexual-minority oppression) is found in educational settings and stem from power-based relationships (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, para. p.249). Within the social context of a learning environment educators and adult learners unite and with them follows the hierarchies from the outside world, including sexual orientation, race, gender, class and disability…. enacting the facilitation role will reproduce the power structures that privilege some, silence some, and deny the existence of other learners (Johnson-Bailey, & Cervero, 1997, para. p. 1).

            Ignoring context is a critique. How is autonomy to be reached if there are missing pieces to the puzzle? As Sandra Kerka (2002) noted

            The emphasis on autonomy and self-direction is criticized for ignoring context. Adults in higher education can be marginalized and deprived of voice and power…Power         differences based on race, gender, class, sexual orientation,      and disability can limit adults’ autonomy and ability to be self-directed (Johnson-Bailey and Cervero 1997; Leach 2001; Sheared and Sissel 2001, as cited in Kerka, 2002, p.1).

Viewing Injustices and Oppression

            Throughout history bias and prejudice behavior against lesbians, bisexuals and gay men have found its way into the learning environment creating an inner fear in the adult learner. There has always been a stigma against non-heterosexual individuals, those who do not conform. Within formal and informal education there are forms of privilege and oppression that are reinforced because the logic that maintains those structures becomes a commonsense lens through which people view and interpret their everyday experiences (Tisdell, 1998, as cited in Merriam 2001, para. p.55). It’s the yearning of the oppressed for freedom and justice as Friere (1993) remarked, “…to recover their lost humanity” (Freire, 1993, p. 44). It is here that Knowles’s third goal of self-direction can be utilized in respect to supporting social action and making a positive change with the readiness to learn.

Teaching methods for adult learners

            Knowles’s informal learning theory focuses on a community based environment for instance, online learning where adult learners are self-directed. He concluded that teaching adults is to teach them to be lifelong learners. It is up to the educator to connect with adult learners on their level, to build a curriculum in which it is relatable to their experiences, opening discussions, resulting in reflection, confronting differences and bringing together theory and practice (Caffarella, 1992; Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995, as cited in Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, para. p.319).

            In order to break down the wall and open up discourse certain learning methods could be utilized in order to educate others about sexual orientation and reduce the fear factor while creating a safe environment. Films could be watched followed by an open discussion for example, with coming out themes, papers could be written giving critical reflection, speakers from organizations of the LGBTQQ community, and reading literature giving the topic new lenses to view sexual orientation. It is through learning that positive social action takes place and where change is possible.

            In summation, linking theory to practice can be seen in today’s contemporary world. Knowles believed in online learning, lifelong learning and human resource development. These are major facets in an adult learner’s personal, professional and private life, but where does autonomy fall for the adult learner. It appears that at one end of the spectrum there is dependency and at the other is self-directed. The autonomous adult learner falls in the middle. The philosophy of andragogy has been debated in the past and the present in the field of education and will continue far into the future to cause controversy and debates.

            …if we know why we are learning and if the reason fits our needs as we perceive them,     we will learn quickly and deeply… Malcolm Knowles


Alfred, M.V. (2000). `The Politics of Knowledge and Theory Construction in Adult Education:A Critical Analysis from an Afrocentric Feminist Perspective.’ Proceedings of the 41th Adult Education Research Conference. Retrieved from,

Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Rev. 30th Anniversary ed. New York: Continuum.Retrieved from,

Henschke, J. A. (2009). Beginnings of The History and Philosophy of Andragogy 1833-2000.  In Integrating Adult Learning and Technology for Effective Education: Strategic Approaches, 1-40.  Retrieved from,

Holmes, G. & Abington-Cooper, M. (2000, Summer). Pedagogy vs. Andragogy: A False Dichotomy?. The Journal of Technological Studies, 26 (2), 1. Retrieved from,

Johnson-Bailey, J. & Cervero, R. M. (1997). Beyond facilitation in adult education: power dynamics in teaching and learning practices: Crossing borders, breaking boundaries: Research in the education of adults. 27th Annual SCUTREA conference proceedings, 1. Retrieved from,

Kerka, S. (2002). Teaching Adults: Is It Different?. Myths and Realities, 21, 1. Retrieved from,

Merriam, S. B. (2001, Spring). Andragogy and Self-Directed Learning: Pillars of Adult Learning Theory. New Directions OF Adult And Continuing Education, 8 (9), 3-96. Retrieved from,

Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S. & Baumgartner, L.M. (2007). Learning in Adulthood: AComprehensive Guide (3rd Ed.). SanFrancisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Sandlin, J. A. (2005). Andragogy and Its Discontents: An Analysis of Andragogy from Three      Critical Perspectives. Pace Journal of Lifelong Learning, 14, 24-42. Retrieved from,

Sarapin, M. I.  & Vorvoreanu, M. (2000). Journal of Technology Studies, 26 (2), 1. Retrieved       from,

Sopher, M. & Henschke, J. (2011, Sept.). The Four Forces Behind Knowles’ Andragogy.Midwest Research-To Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Community and Extension Education, 1-5. Retrieved from,

Tennant, M. (2011). An evaluation of Knowles’ theory of adult learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 5 (2), 113-122.

Thanasoulas, D. (2000). What is Learner Autonomy and How Can It Be Fostered?. The Internet   TESL Journal, 6 (11), 1. Retrieved from,

Thompson, M. A. & Clayton, M. D. (2004). Andragogy For Adult Learners In Higher Education. Allied Academies International Conference: Proceedings of the Academy of Accounting    and Financial Studies, 9 (1), 108-112. Retrieved from,

Zoghi, M. & Dehghan, H. N. (2012). Reflections on the What of Learner Autonomy.  International Journal of English Linguistics. 2 (3), 22-26. Retrieved from,            75611421BF669/15?accountid=8067


Malcolm Knowles quote:

Significance Of Storytelling In Leadership   Leave a comment

The story becomes more significant for Burns and Martin (2010) in, “Examination Of The Effectiveness Of Male And Female Educational Leaders Who Made Use Of The Invitational Leadership Style Of Leadership” by making a connection through communicating and invitational messaging to a follower. It is here that beliefs and personal values are shared in order to achieve a vision or goal set by the leader. According to Purkey and Siegel, “…attempted to blend leadership qualities, values, and principles when they developed the invitational leadership theory and model for inviting success from all interested stakeholders. (Burns and Martin, 2010, 31). Similarly, Dove and Freeley expressed, “Through the use of these leadership strategies, school administrators enabled teachers to implement the Model and share their vision for learning-styles instruction” (29).

Storytelling is significant in relation to leadership and is a social activity in which communication can teach/learn, share knowledge, discuss dilemmas/crises and solve problems as Medina commented, “Wenger extends this idea in saying that leadership is essentially a social activity and can best be learnt in “a community of practice”, where “engagement in social practice is the fundamental process by which we learn and so become who we are” (75).

Are lessons learned by leadership stories? Stories are made up from experiences and the past. Thompson, Thach, and Morelli discussed the ways the story becomes more apparent in relation to leadership by examining the past events and reported, “Each guideline is formed as the result of business scandals, public perception of ethical behavior, and overall historical events. Examples of these laws include the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, the Anti-Corruption Convention of 1997, and the 1991 United States Organizational Sentencing Guidelines (Berenbeim, 2006). Legal compliance directs leaders with principles designed to promote a healthy culture and encourage ethical and legal conduct (110). It is this text that most obviously makes the link to a story where lessons can be learned from the past.

hand_rightWork cited

Burns, Gwen, and Barbara N. Martin. “Examination Of The Effectiveness Of Male And Female Educational Leaders Who Made Use Of The Invitational Leadership Style Of Leadership.” Journal Of Invitational Theory & Practice 16.(2010): 29-55. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Sept. 2012.

Dove, Maria G., and Mary Ellen Freeley. “The Effects Of Leadership On Innovative Program Implementation.” Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin 77.3 (2011): 25-32. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Sept. 2012.

Medina, Marc. “Leadership And The Process Of Becoming.” Existential Analysis: Journal Of The Society For Existential Analysis 22.1 (2011): 70-82. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Sept. 2012.

Thompson, Karen J., Elizabeth C. Thach, and Melissa Morelli. “Implementing Ethical Leadership: Current Challenges And Solutions.” Insights To A Changing World Journal 4 (2010): 107-130. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.


Important Parts Of The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, And Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling Plus The Narratives In Relation To Leadership   Leave a comment

Effective Communication

Stories are valuable tools in the art of communication and persuasion and a leader’s power of a good story can influence others.  One of the important parts of Simmons book for a course on Stories and Creative Leadership is in discussing the effective communication channels. Communication is not only words but, tone, facial expressions, body language, gestures, listening, and timing. It is both verbal and nonverbal as Simmons noted, “When you tell a story, your body and your voice become the stage, actors, costumes, music and props” (85). A good storyteller speaks from their heart. It is not only why a story is told but how. It is up to a leader to connect with others through story which incorporates sensory perception and personal experiences whether their own or someone else’s. Storytelling opens the door to expressing similar experiences that others can relate. In chapter 10, “The life of a storyteller” the description of techniques such as, patterns, consequences, lessons, utility, vulnerability, future experiences, and story recollections are the bridges to story sharing (para 235).

The Psychology

A second important part is in the exploring the psychology aspect of a story’s influence. The connection begins sharing knowledge with a human touch to the heart resulting in the freedom of expression for all. According to Simmons in chapter 5, “The Psychology of Story’s influence,” “When you tell a story that touches me, you give me the gift of human attention – the kind that connects me to you, that touches m heart and makes me feel more alive” (111). It isn’t facts and charts that keep a listeners attention, but the emotional foundation that is laid. A story can evoke many emotions happiness, sadness, or a feeling of empowerment.  A creative leader has the potential to tell stories that affect our behavior, thoughts and feelings. What are our dreams and hopes, our beliefs and values, our outlook, and fears influenced by? The story.

Types of Stories

The third important part is reviewing the types of stories and knowing which kind of story to tell. Each story will have a different impact on the listener just as creative leadership has various disciplines to choose from. What does it depend on? The situation. For example, in dealing with jealousy over injustice Simmons commented, “If you are dealing with a genuine injustice such as nepotism or racism, acknowledging and setting the inequity right is your best strategy for influence (172).

Additional light is shed through Kantor’s essay on the importance of narrative in relation to leadership. A leader must have knowledge of the deeper meaning of narratives, the different elements it consists of and choosing which patterns connect to a specific situation. Clinton was able to talk to the audience, not at them. They understood him, his words and therefore, created trust. He took a story and made it a new story as Jodi Kantor described, Mr. Clinton decided to write the book, an aide said, after he campaigned in the midterm elections and met voters who thanked him for explaining the administration’s policies in a way they had never understood before. He was able to take facts and figures and used communication in which others could appreciate and recognize. Having watched Clinton speak, have you recognized other communication tools that were used? I noticed repetition and confidence.

Simmons helped me shape my short story by looking for patterns in my life. I have always been a questioner regardless of the topic of conversation. My audience is narrow as I speak to parents (even though I have no children), I speak to teachers and those who want to learn.

As a parent, it is important to instill independence and simple problem solving values. I can remember as a child lying on the living room floor working on homework while the air filled with that night’s dinner surprise. I would be writing and then suddenly stop. “How do you spell   public?” I shouted out to my mother who was in the kitchen. “I don’t know, maybe you should look it up in the dictionary” she said. I knew she knew and she knew she knew how to spell the word. At first I was frustrated and angry and had a hissy fit right there on the floor. “How can I look up a word I don’t know how to spell? I cried. Her response to me was, “Sound it out.” First the tears, then raising of the voice and then stomping off to my room. When it happened again, I needed to spell camera and my mother led me to the dictionary. Again I responded as I child who did not get what they wanted and off I went teary eyed to my room. The third time was different, something happened as I was reading I came across a word I didn’t know. I immediately pulled out the dictionary. I slowly became confident in resolving my own problems. The lessons she taught me to think for myself, become independent in my thinking and to take action when needed would be crucial as I reached adulthood.

What I found most interesting was Simmons take on exaggerated tones and gestures while speaking. It is childlike and it wants to make her “crawl under a chair and hide in embarrassment for the one using it” (204). Does it make leader sound like they are talking to children or is it a way of communicating to a person and connecting to an earlier experience they might have had? Once again, I believe that the situation helps to make a leaders decision on how to make their approach. A few pages later Simmons describes a story teller that utilizes the same features that were negative, but put a positive spin on it, “His adolescent glee in grossing everyone out made the story more interesting and added sensory and emotional stimulation that better glued the story to our memory” (212).

hand_rightWork Cited

Kantor, Jodi. 2011 “With a Book, the Last Democrat in the White House Tries to Help the Current One.” New York Times 4 Nov 2011. <;

Simmons, Annette. The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling. Cambridge: Basic Books, 2006.


Storytelling, Myths, And Folk Tales in Propp’s Morphology, Ageless Wisdom & The Hero’s Journey, And Annette Simmons The Story Factor   Leave a comment

According to Propp, “Five categories of elements define not only the construction of a tale, but the tale as a whole.” Propp’s Narratemes are based on Russian folk tales and the stories that are passed down. How does Propp approach folk tales? Propp’s theory does not incorporate emotion or mood that is in a story, but just skims the surface superficially. Research focused on the form that a story takes and the similar experiences shared in each story. The five key elements of a story can be seen as in an arc within a story itself.  The first discusses the initial situation revealing the function of the characters such as a protagonist, a setting and plot, what makes up the story? The second explores conflict to solve or as Propp commented, “…announcement of misfortune.” Motivation follows beginning with a need or desire to overcome the impossible.  It is here that a tale explains why characters act the way they do. The fourth is what Propp’s called, “Forms of appearance of dramatis personae” or the types and overall presence of characters incorporated in each tale. And last, Propp’s reported, “Attributive elements or accessories” or the recurring of items with symbolic meanings tying the story together. These elements are seen in most stories although, not all tales are clear regarding the definition of characters, who is the villain and who is the hero. The story structure described by Propp is considered a formalized linear sequence of causality, an event happens because of an occurrence takes place in a chronological order. Can you think of a tale that incorporates Propp morphology? I just thought of the tale that utilized these elements, “Beauty and the Beast.”  Do you agree?

            The key elements of story in “Ageless Wisdom” are incorporated in the twelve steps of the Hero’s Journey as outlined by Vogler. It is the elements that shape the plot. Vogler’s description of the story plot is based on the main character’s arc of the story and an external journey of the hero. First, the point of view is through a character/ hero who are introduced in the “ordinary world” and in the setting of a time and location. Next is inciting an incident as the plot unfolds which results in a request or need that must be fulfilled called, “The call to adventure.” This is where a hero must leave their comfort zone and enter into a journey into the unknown which creates a difficult decision and at first refuses the quest displaying fear and doubt, but being guided and inspired by a mentor helps persuade the hero to continue. Is a mentor necessary for a story to be successful? Can a symbolic item take the place of a mentor based on a hero’s belief system? As the hero begins the journey conflict arises creating a crisis resulting in a commitment of the hero. The hero’s obstacles consist of tests and confronting enemies. In the end, the hero has resolution and travels back to the ordinary world stronger than before and is transformed to benefit the world. This is where suspense is shown in a story. When a character is resurrected it is the climax of the story as they change becoming an important element to a story. The story structure is based on plot points changing to describe an internal journey as well as an external adventure for a character.

            “The Story Factor” utilizes many key elements of story for example, characters protagonist/antagonist, point of view, emotional content, body language, setting, plot, themes or messages, conflict, resolution, causality, foreshadowing, suspense, conflict, background information, clarity, maybe humor, crisis, and resolution. A story is also about connecting through our senses as Simmons reported, “Since your goal is to help them experience, the use of smells and tastes help draw your listener’s bodies into experiencing your story at a visceral level” (95).Without these elements in story, where would the power of the human connection be to inspire and persuade others? The story structure is flexible as everyone has a story to tell. If anyone of these elements fails, the connection with the audience risks being lost. There is always a chance of giving too much or too little, but a balance can be found when a story is told right.

hand_rightWorks Cited

Ageless Wisdom & The Hero’s Journey in Story and Myth.<;.

Propp’s Morphology of the Folk Tale. 2012.<;.

Simmons, Annette. The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling. Cambridge: Basic Books, 2006.


Concepts of Leadership and Learning   Leave a comment

One issue that was reinforced had been the need for leadership to change within the educational system as Caldwell described, “However, while there was a progression towards advanced leadership opportunities for individuals within the current study, the experiences of these leaders still took place within the broader context of disability oppression. In other words, advanced leadership opportunities within the US are an ongoing struggle, where there were often few opportunities available, tenuous positions and inadequate supports” (1011).  It is important to note that the role of leaders within this environment has changed throughout time and therefore crucial for leaders to begin looking outside the box in order to prepare young leaders. Burns, Gwen, and Barbara N. Martin reinforced this concept by asserting, “Since the current literature firmly supports the need for a change in leadership in order to adequately meet the needs of current educational institutions (Bolman & Deal, 2002; Day, Harris, & Hadfield, 2001; Kouzes & Posner, 2003), the need to examine a new leadership model is essential” (30).

The job of a leader is to care about their followers. Ethical behavior is reported by Burns, Gwen, and Barbara N. Martin, “The necessity for a change in leadership is further warranted based on the need for an “ethic of caring” (Grogan, 2003, p. 25). Consequently, Halpin (2003, p. 84) concluded, “Invitational leadership contributes to school effectiveness by the way in which it cares for and supports the efforts of others. Since Invitational leadership is comprehensive in nature, consisting of many positive and essentially sound educational components (Day, Harris & Hadfield, 2001; Purkey & Siegel, 2003; Stillion & Siegel, 2005), it may well serve as a model of leadership that will positively impact the diverse and changing needs of today’s educational organizations” (30). Also, it increases social capital as Terroin commented concluded that because a management leadership program provided opportunity for informal interaction and the development of relationships that foster learning, it did indeed help build SC.” (Van de Valk and , 83). This leadership is incorporated and supported by Huizing, “Throughout church history, various underlying presuppositions of the Sermon on the Mount have led to four distinct perspectives on the sermon’s relationship to discipleship: (a) commands to be followed in order to do God’s will, (b) what doing God’s will results in, (c) a best-case  perspective that no follower can be expected to fully enjoy, or (d) examples of ethical behaviour to open the eyes of disciples to right living. All our views can be held in tension with each other rather than trying to identify the one best view” (335).

It has been affirmed that a leader needs to communicate clearly and act effectively in order to reduce any anxieties a follower may have while reinforcing their vision. According to Nielson et al., “Significant correlations have been found between transformational leadership and psychosocial work dimensions of well-being, meaningful work, role clarity, skills development opportunities influence and involvement (Malloy and Penprase, 2010, 717).  Clarity is a combination of trust, intention and authenticity which intertwine to guide a follower creating a positive culture. According to Siegel, “Stillion and Siegel (2005, p. 15) defined intention as “knowing what we intend to bring about as well as how we intend it to happen gives clarity and direction to our work.” (Burns, Gwen, and Barbara N. Martin, 2010, 31). Furthermore, Krause remarked, “Once a safety culture is defined, it must be understood by those within an organization Words used to define a safety culture must be understood by everyone so that management and employees can communicate clearly about what the safety culture means and what activities may take place to initiate or grow that culture. (Dunlap,2011, 44).

A leader who shares responsibility is creating a positive environment. Dove and Freeley commented, “Principals as facilitators foster innovation by working collaboratively with other school leaders, faculty, and staff to develop learning communities, which confer, oversee, and support the change process. In a study that examined the effectiveness of principals in promoting change, Cruz (2009) noted that when a principal collaborates and shares authority, school members have an increased interest in and responsibility for obtaining mutually agreed-upon objectives” (26). Is it possible that a leader who shares authority the more influence they will have over the followers? Dunlap reported that, “Geller (2000) approaches employee involvement from a behavioral perspective by communicating the need to give workers control over their environment. By giving employees control over certain things that affect their work, their behavior will change to accommodate the freedom provided. Rather than employees reporting to work and having each aspect of their work planned for them, employees should be given choices and control in matters of workplace safety. This will result in true engagement instead of automated responses to the environment” (43). The concept was challenged by Thompson, Thach, and Morelli, “This may be of particular relevance to school contexts: while distributed leadership implies that students should be included in the decision-making process, efforts to elicit student voice may backfire if they discover that, having been given responsibility and having taken pains to gather opinions and form plans, they have no real authority to institute changes” (420).

Is a follower supposed to replicate a leader? Two articles challenged this question. According to Huizing, “Irrespective of these differences, the Anabaptist tradition sought to emphasize an imitation of Christ that was of such a nature that to look at the believer was to look at an incarnation of the work and ministry of Christ himself. (339). Although, Grint commented, “…by the time any of these lists of character traits is complete the only plausible owner of such a skill base is ‘god’ and it is therefore usually impossible to name any leaders who have all these traits and thus we are left in the paradoxical position of thinking we need omniscient leaders when they do not actually exist” (Medina, 2011, 72).

Good leadership skills can be learned as their experiences are applied. Medina challenges whether leadership can be taught, “Furthermore, as Doh reminds us “even if we can learn to lead that does not mean that leadership can be taught: it is possible that the process of learning is simply too complex, unconscious or non–replicable to teach” (74). Whereas, Caldwell explained, “Leaders learned many skills from the movement, such as networking, developing bylaws, forming and organizing a non-profit board, conducting meetings, and collaborating with other organizations. Involvement also helped leaders develop skills and comfort in public speaking…” (1009).

In conclusion, the readings in this section reinforced and challenged the concepts of leadership from the readings in M01D1. Once again it comes down to one thing perspective of leadership.

hand_rightWorks cited

Burns, Gwen, and Barbara N. Martin. “Examination Of The Effectiveness Of Male And Female Educational Leaders Who Made Use Of The Invitational Leadership Style Of Leadership.” Journal Of Invitational Theory & Practice 16. (2010): 29-55. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Sept. 2012.

Caldwell, J. “Leadership Development Of Individuals With Developmental Disabilities In The Self-Advocacy Movement.” Journal Of Intellectual Disability Research 54.11 (2010): 1004-1014. CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.

Dove, Maria G., and Mary Ellen Freeley. “The Effects Of Leadership On Innovative Program Implementation.” Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin 77.3 (2011): 25-32. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Sept. 2012.

Dunlap, 2011. “Safety Leadership.” Professional Safety 56.9 (2011): 42-49. Academic Search Complete. Web.  16 Sept. 2012.

Huizing, Russell L. “Leaders From Disciples: The Church’s Contribution To Leadership Development.” Evangelical Review Of Theology 35.4 (2011): 333-344. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.

Malloy, Terry, and Barbara Penprase. “Nursing Leadership Style And Psychosocial Work Environment.” Journal Of Nursing Management 18.6 (2010): 715-725. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.

Medina, Marc. “Leadership And The Process Of Becoming.” Existential Analysis: Journal Of The Society For Existential Analysis 22.1 (2011): 70-82. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Sept. 2012.

Thompson, Karen J., Elizabeth C. Thach, and Melissa Morelli. “Implementing Ethical Leadership: Current Challenges And Solutions.” Insights To A Changing World Journal 4 (2010): 107-130. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.

Van De Valk, Lawrence J., and Mark A. Constas. “A Methodological Review Of Research On Leadership Development And Social Capital: Is There A Cause And Effect Relationship?.” Adult Education Quarterly 61.1 (2011): 73-90. Education Research Complete. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.