Chapter 4

Adult and Teacher Development Within the School Context

Stages of Adult Learning

Are there differences in learning between adults and children?

Does the ability to learn decrease with age?


Let's start by introducing the two types of intelligence as defined by Horn and Catell (page 50) Fluid and Crystallized

Fluid-The ability to solve new problems, use logic in new situations, and identify patterns.

Crystallized-The ability to use the knowledge you have gained.

Intelligence Theories

Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences


Supervisors can determine a teacher's learning strengths just as we do for children in the classroom and use these to help teachers improve their instruction.

"Teach With Your Strengths" By:Gregria Higgs

Sternberg Triarchic Theory of Intelligence

1.) Componential-Cognitive Processing


2.) Experiential-The level of experience a person has such as in their work experience.


3.) Contextual-Intelligence that comes from adjusting to one's environment and can adapt if needed.

4.) Wisdom-The ability to balance individual interests with interests of others all while balancing the affect of environmental factors.

intelligence triarchic theory of intelligence

Theories of Adult Learning

Andragogy (Malcolm Knowles)-The theory that adults have a desire to be self-directed and want to learn what is going to help them in their present situations.


  • Adult learning is focused on trying to solve real-life problems.
  • Adults have experiences that can help them in a learning situation.

  • Adults want to apply what they have learned right away.
  • Adult learning is different from that of children because children learn based on a curriculum and adults learn from the need that is present.

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Self-Directed Learning

Learning that adults do as part of their everyday life without the need for an instructor. The learning varies with the person's background knowledge and their level of confidence.

Transformational Learning (Jack Mezirow)

  • Theory emerged out of research of women going back to pursue higher education.
  • Can occur after a major life event or a life crisis.
  • Adults make their own interpretations instead of basing decisions based on what others think
  • Leads to autonomous thinking and can be promoted by keeping a reflective journal, analyze the effectiveness of lessons and getting feedback from students.

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Situated Cognition

  • Learners need to engage in the activity as opposed to just getting information from a book or instructor.
  • Hands-on learning.
  • Learning from other teachers in a PLC.

Informal Learning

Self-directed learning, networking, receiving mentoring and coaching

Incidental Learning

  • Learning from a situation that arises.
  • Decision has to be planned out.
  • Evaluate outcome of the decision.
  • Results in a lesson being learned.
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Holistic Adult Learning

Considers other components of learning such as:


  • embedded knowledge-Learning that comes from daily routines.
  • narrative learning-Planning out a personal course of action.
  • spiritual learning-
  • somatic learning-Kinesthetic and emotions. Use journals particularly for first year teachers to reflect on experiences.
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Teachers as Adult Learners

  • New ways to teach must be linked to teacher's past experience.
  • Teachers must be given ample time to implement changes.
  • Teacher learning should be more individualized such as for new teachers and more experienced teachers.

Administrators should:


  1. Encourage teachers to partner with fellow teachers on various teams.
  2. Provide opportunities for teachers to serve on leadership roles.
  3. Encourage use of journals to reflect on teaching experiences and have dialogue with colleagues.
  4. Engage in mentoring activities.
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Cognitive Development (Piaget)

  • Progressing towards higher levels of thinking as it relates to teachers.
  • Encourage teachers to take on the role of facilitating learning for students as opposed to only imparting knowledge to them. This way the students become responsible for their own learning.

Moral Development (Kohlberg and Kramer)

  • Preconventional-Decision made based on individual interests.
  • Conventional-Decision made based on doing the right thing based on social norms.
  • Postconventional-Decisions made with the interests of other people's rights in mind.
Heinz Dilemma Kohlberg's stages of Moral Development Interactive Animation

Life Cycle of a Teacher

  • New, young teachers can become bored easily because of the lack of variety, opportunity to advance.
  • Older teachers are often treated the same and may feel like their seniority and experience is not valued.
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Transition Events

Staff Development-Provide teachers with training of how to get through major life events while juggling the responsibilities of the classroom.


Role Development-School systems and supervisors need to be more supportive and sensitive to the impact that family roles and responsibilities affect the professional lives of teachers.

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