Inclusive Adult Learning Environments Essay
I've just changed completely from when I first (entered school). I used to take this little African body and force it into this European square peg. And you know, it didn't work. I kept trying to do it and trying to change who I was and tried to fit in. . . . When I finally decided to be the person that I am, I started feeling more comfortable. (Taylor 1995, p. 84).
Ever since Malcolm Knowles (1970) introduced the concept of learning climate, adult educators have been aware of how the environment affects learning. As reflected in the words of the returning woman student quoted here, however, adults may still find some learning environments to be inhospitable. Rather than learners trying to …show more content…
Developing Inclusive Learning Environments
How can inclusive learning environments be created? Tisdell (1995) suggests that a learning environment needs to attend to inclusivity at three levels. A truly inclusive learning environment should "(1) reflect the diversity of those present in the learning activity itself in the curriculum and pedagogical/andragogical style; (2) attend to the wider and immediate institutional contexts in which the participants work and live; and (3) in some way reflect the changing needs of an increasingly diverse society" (p. 4). Because learners "do not live in a vacuum" (ibid.), addressing institutional and societal levels is important, but the most significant level is the selection of appropriate materials and methods that address the characteristics of learning group members.
Addressing the diversity of learners by selecting