are the pillars of the Seed to Supper program?” Based upon their experience, the group worked by consensus to create a profile of a typical program participant. With this typical participant in mind, we then worked with the instructors to identify the basic information that our typical participant would need in order to grow a successful vegetable garden. Designing successful educational programming for adults requires an understanding of the ways in which adults learn. Effective approaches to adult education will differ from approaches designed for children, even when learners are equally unfamiliar with the topic. Adult education expert Malcolm Knowles (1980) went so far as to propose the word “andragogy” to differentiate the art and science of teaching adults from “pedagogy,” the art and science of teaching children. Adult learners are motivated to find practical solutions to real-world problems, and frequently approach learning opportunities with specific goals that are shaped by lived experience. Knowles suggests that learning opportunities designed for adults should offer transparent, step-by-step lessons or activities that provide practical approaches to learners’ specific objectives (1984).
Although adult education scholars have not reached consensus on a guiding theoretical framework, some suggest that theories “grounded in the critical perspective focused on power, ethics, lived experience, and emancipation” should inform the development and delivery of adult education programs (Franz, 2007). Influenced by the educational philosophy of Paolo Freire (1970), educator Jack Mezirow proposes that “transformative learning for emancipation education is the business of all adult education” (1990, p. 357). Mezirow’s transformative learning theory engages students in the critical examination of their
The journal of the University of Oregon Environmental Studies Program