Impact of Diversity in Adult Education Research Paper

by Jason Shaw
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Introduction

It is important that approaches are established that optimize their overall outcome when engaging in adult education. Teachers seek to ensure that the current gaps are used to ensure the correct transfer of information. The distinctions are defined as diversity.

Diversity includes a learning process in which people appreciate such differences in age, culture, social status and current mechanisms of learning.

The richness of diversity and how it could go a long way in developing their general learning concepts are commonly overlooked by learners. Depending on the framework of the instructor, teaching philosophies differ in nature. There needs to be a teaching method in which and student feels interested. Nature at which these frameworks are integrated into a single classroom is what is attributed to improved learning. Diversity exists in two scenarios; they may involve the nature of teaching and the student’s lifestyle. 

Impact of Diversity in Adult Education Research Paper

The study will relate these diversities to adult learning and decide how they are used by educators to provide a well-organized learning environment. Centered on a controlled experiment in a real classroom scenario, an analysis will be carried out. A conclusion will be based on the finding of the experiment. Its interpretation will depend majorly on real-life scenarios. The research will seek to develop the student’s diversity perspective and provide teachers with feedback on how to deal with diversity.

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Literature Review 

Students’ progress in the field of adult education depends on their diversity. Diversity refers to social class, cultural distinctions, chronological age, style of learning, race and nationality distinctions.

Gaff (1989), a multicultural connection to every adult facility’s learning process. He called for collaborative ways in which learners are exposed to and linked to Western and other world cultures in an exciting community. The learning process is enhanced by teaching different philosophies and conducting a comparison. The essence of students being exposed to world encounters extends their understanding of a given notion. There must be a nature of acceptance where current cultures reinforce and improve the deficiency of a given culture. Students succeed in ethnic diversity by benefiting from social and economic capital (Powell& Kalina, 2009). The end result is students’ enhanced thought skills. They are able to evaluate a concept objectively and to think beyond their cocoons. They become self-aware of their surroundings and be able to differentiate core- values and acquire skills to differentiate behaviours from habits (Powell& Kalina, 2009). The cautious nature of the students develops around his knowledge of both cultural and social differences. The ability to critically think and compare is brought about by the student’s exposure to various cultures and social diversity. Cognitive development by students is enhanced by cross-culture and multicultural experiences while at the learning institutions (Ozer, 2004).

The different styles of teaching also contribute to improved thinking capability. The pedagogy of any given teacher is drawn from a variety of available modes. It should include a planning stage and implementation. At the implementation stage, their diversity exists in its formulation. The existing variety is drawn from the learning backgrounds of the students. The differences in students background enable the teacher to develop a harmonized teaching plan. The mode is drawn from the social- constructivism theory of Vygotsky that provides for the collaborative nature of the teacher. The involvement of diversity enhances understanding and improves the quality of the study curriculum (Hill, 1991). The need to involve different styles in the teaching procedure by the teacher reduces the biases associated with conflicting cultures. The gap that nature provides between the minority and majority in society is bridged by the nature in which the teacher provides in his educational plan. According to Hill (1991), there needs to be a cross-cultural aspect while initiating pedagogy. He concludes that the integration of different culture by stating that the process improves on the student-teacher relationship. A positive attitude is what an educational environment requires. The distinctive nature in which Vygotsky described a classroom is the same way diversity offers the adult learners (Ozer, 2004). 

Methodology

While ascertaining the impact of diversity in adult education, an experiment was done on adult students. This involved dividing students into various groups. The search involved 250 students divided into five groups. The first group involved students of the same cultural and background and all group members where males, the second group involved students of the same culture and background but of both male and female genders. The third group involved different students from different cultural backgrounds and beliefs. The fourth group involved students from different countries with different educational background and style. The final group involved a mixed group of different genders, cultures, background and where driven from different parts of the world. The group was selected from adult learners and experiment done during classroom hours to avoid a special attention scenario. The grouping was aimed at representing a classroom environment rather than offering an individual set up. 

Questioners were used to identify the grading criteria, in that each student was required to state his background and life experiences. The self-identification process was identified as the most effective mode of grading students. The method was also time conscious and improved the result of the research. Students were given time to fill the questioners with little assistance as a means of ensuring credibility and reduce the chances of outside interference. A specified time period was given and the questioners collected upon the expiry f the time given. Gender was considered during the process, and an equal representation was targeted. More students were involved in the process before a sorting process was done. The 250 qualified students were shortlisted for the research. 

The shortlisted candidates were notified, and the process began. The five groups were involved in the study process. Two modes of learning where provided for the students. The first involved a traditional curriculum which was previously designed by the school’s administration. The experiment saw every group was subjected to the same mode of teaching, and the curriculum was followed to the latter. This included testing the model of service delivery and the period at which each student was required to study. During the research, each student was to attend a given lecture and later on given an opportunity to head back to their groups upon which the students were handed a group test. The assessment was done, but the result was remained confidential.

The second process was where the teacher integrated his mode of teaching with current matters and philosophies. The teacher subjected the students to a consultative nature of study where they remained in their group. The teacher involved the students in his teaching method. He directed them to consult amongst themselves in case of a difficult concept. The teacher used different cultural examples while elaborating a given point. Upon the end of the lesson, a group test was offered. As was in the first scenario, the results were not released. The final method was a group discussion where a certain topic was handed to the students. The topic was similar, and all students were required to join their groups and discuss the topic in details. Learning materials where prohibited and critical thinking was the preferred mode of engagement. The students debated on given concepts, and after the discussion, a test was handed to them. The assessment was based on the topic provided before. The results were kept a secret. The tests were marked by two different sets of teachers who randomly picked the papers. The results were realized and arranged according to the groups. An average was done depending on the three. The final procedure involved each student writing a report explaining their experience while at their respective groups. The same test was repeated on group one which contained students from the same background, gender and culture also on group four which involved a mixture of students from different background, culture and ethnicity. But this time the groups had interchanged members. 

Results

After the controlled experiment, it was time to assess the result from the group tests. The first to be assessed was group one whereupon the traditional method of teaching they scored highly as compared to group five, four and three. They showed an understanding of the concept taught. The second test which was tested after a change in the mode of teaching indicted a drop in result in that they scored dismally as compared to the first test. They were the lowest among these groups. The final test, which was as a result of a group discussion saw the group scoring the lowest point compared to the other four groups. Averagely they scored the lowest points in the test conducted.

The second group to be assessed was group two; the group contained students from the same background and culture but different genders. The first test saw them scoring highly as it entailed the traditional mode of teaching. The other two tests saw the scoring lower points and showed the same trend as a group one. They both scored lower points and showed an understanding of a single concept and indicated a similar mind concept in the group tests. The third group which involved different students of different cultural backgrounds and beliefs showed an improved result in the final two tests as compared to group one and two. They scored averagely one the first test which involved the traditional pedagogy one the change of mode of teaching they showed a massive improvement.

The fourth group scored the lowest in the first test. The group involved students from different countries with different educational background and style. The group showed a lack of understanding in the mode of delivery by the lecturer. The second and the third test showed them scoring a higher point as compared to group one, two and three. Averagely they were the second-best according to points accumulated in the two tests. The fifth group, which involved a mixed group of different genders, cultures, background and where driven from different parts of the world, scored highly in each test. They accumulated more points compared to the other groups. The first test seemed a challenge, but they managed more points than group two and three. The group test saw them scoring the highest points averagely they accumulated more points to warrant them position one. 

The final test, which was a repeated test on groups five and one indicated a massive improvement. For group five, they showed an improved scoring in test one compared to their previous tests. The first group improved on their last two tests to increase their average points. They scored the same final average scores. This was a massive improved from their previous tests. The report provided by the students saw the first group showing more dissatisfactory comments with much-preferring change of groups. Same was for group two and three. Groups four and five had the largest number of positive comments. Comments were aimed at giving out the student’s perspective of diversity while the test handing was to by the teacher to show the effect of diversity and identify the areas that need improvement. Throughout the experiment, students showed corporation, which was the contributing factor to the successful outcome.

Discussion

From the result, it is evident on how students behave differently in a given setup. The factors that affect their outcome mainly originate from their immediate environment. According to social- constructivism theory of Vygotsky (1969), collaborating is the most effective nature of bridging gaps between students and teachers while learning. From our findings, it is evident that these gaps are not filled by our cultural or gender similarities but are filled by our diverse nature. The fourth group which contained a mixed group of different genders, cultures, background and where driven from different parts of the world, demonstrated the diversity and indicated improved results as compared to other groups which shared similarities. The way a student grasps a given concept depends on how he interacts with the environment, including other students. Their wider knowledge goes a long way in determining their academic excellence and results. The cross-cultural aspect exhibited in the fourth group after the merger showed how a single concept could be used to change and determine the final results of learning concepts. Adult learning involves more of life aspects than theory and diversity ha prove to provide all these experiences under a single classroom. 

Gaff (1989) called for collaboration while arranging a study schedule; he indicates that the involvement of the student by the teacher will improve performs. The fact is echoed by the second mode of teaching the teacher employed while delivering service. He changed his traditional mode to a method where students collaborate with him and asked questions. The third mode of discussion was also a means of students’ collaboration with the teacher and fellow students. Depending on the group, the students were able to identify their cognitive abilities evident in their final report at the end of the experiment. They determined whether the groups they were assigned were beneficial or rather added less value to their academic progress (Ozer, 2004). Upon the deployment of the two collaborative methods students acquired more skills and knowledge, for the final experimental stage, the first groups saw improvement after merger with the fifth group.

The integration of a curriculum is what determines the final output. For instance, the adjustment in service delivery by the teacher saw students improve in their results. Hill (1991) indicates the need for flexibility in order to accommodate various students from different backgrounds. The integration eliminates discrimination and intimidation and hence ends up providing equal opportunities to students. Students who engage each other tend to perform better as compared to students who depend on the teachers’ program. The group test saw all students scoring commendably. The fifth group combines all aspects of cultural, ethnic, nationality, gender, socio-economic and religious diversity which went a long way in demonstrating their successful experimental result. Adult learners need to identify their weakness and use the diversity they are exposed to while in class to improve on them. The social- constructivism theory indicates the nature at which individual at their initial stages tends to recognize their weakness. An individual’s background may contribute to these weaknesses, but one can only improve on them by diversifying. Ozer (2004) indicates how a change in environment will influence a student’s ability to learn; this is evident when group two and five saw some of its interchanged. They influenced the overall result of their respective group. After the first group was exposed to diversity, they appreciated the fact and ended up affecting them positively.

Recommendation

In a bid to ensure a successful and productive learning environment, a teacher needs to study the student’s environment before initiating each plan. The composition of adult learners should determine the processes and plans of the teacher. A student’s background should not affect his academic outcome. In an environment where the students are from different background and culture, the teacher ought to use this as their advantage while executing his mandate. The students should be taught to use their diversity to enhance their knowledge. The teacher should be the guide of the cross-cultural aspect and ensure the students enhance their cognitive skills. The ability to determine environmental changes should also ensure a student transit from their traditional cocoons and embrace diversity. 

The teacher also should collaborate with students and provide variety while teaching. A change is a style while teaching the adult learners will expose them to various nature in which the education system provides. Diversity in class calls for all stakeholders to be part of the change. The classroom should engage differently in ensuring a successful learning environment. The teacher needs to encourage ideas from students and should do so without discrimination or intimidation. What an adult learner acquires while in class should be more than the theoretical aspect of learning. One should learn various modes of interactions with the world and use cultural parity to enhance their knowledge and learning skills. Both the teachers and the students should design a framework in which their interaction with one another does not jeopardize the main agenda of learning and should avoid conflicting interest. They should work as a unit and reach a consensus in the mode of service delivery. Each party should feel satisfied.

Conclusion

It is evident how diversity brings about a learning experience for both the adult learners and the students. The existence of different forms of diversity assists the two parties in ensuring that they adjust to various learning means. Adult learners are mostly interested in life experiences and practical concepts. The diversity in the classroom provides for that rare opportunity. Observation is what will determine the nature in which diversity is appreciated forcing an individual to adapt to a given culture or religion may be impossible but making them appreciate the diversity stills remains the most effective method. An adult learner needs to be combatable in any given learning environment by doing so, the student will be able to grasp any given concept.

Communication remains a key concept while appreciating diversity, by encouraging adult learners to consult amongst themselves, the teacher will have the opportunity to identify and discover the gap that exists between the students’ cultures. The teacher needs to be the one who bridges these gaps and interact with the students without interfering with their way of life. Making the students identify their weakness is the key point of diversity in an adult learning environment. The adult learners still remain his own benchmark and should use his own perspective to gauge his knowledge and determine his interaction with the immediate environment. On the teachers perspective, it always acts as the most effective model and also provides a wide range of learning scenarios. The interdependence of the students while studying reduces the workload available for the teacher to handle. It is important to note that diversity should be used as a positive means of teaching and learning. The students should ensure that when seeking or inquiring does not offend other parties and teachers should ensure the learning process does not intimidate others.

Reference,
  • Gaff, J. G. (1992). Beyond politics: The educational issues inherent in multicultural education. Change, vol.24 issue1, pp.30-35. 
  • Hill, P. J. (1991). Multi culturalism: The crucial philosophical and organizational issues. Change, issue vol.23 issue4, 38-47. 
  • Ozer, O. (2004). Constructivism in Piaget and Vygotsky. Fountain issue 48 retrieved <http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/CONSTRUCTIVISM-in-Piaget-and-Vygotsky>
  • Powell, C., & Kalina, J.(2009) cognitive and social constructivism: developing tools for an effective classroom. Education winter, Vol. 130 Issue 2, p241-250. 10p

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