Adult Teaching Methods
Teaching people to learn and absorb topics of any size or scope may seem basic to many. However, the matter can be quite complex depending on what is being taught and who it is being taught to. The subject matters because some topics are easy and benign while others are complex and/or controversial. Who is being taught matters as well and there are a number of dimensions by which learning methods would matter and these include the generation in which the person is born, how old they are, where they live, how they were raised and even their cultural or ethnic background. Teaching of adults in particular is known as pedagogy and there is a whole school of thought and research that is dedicated to that subject along. This particular assignment asks the author to explain the methods and tactics that would or could be used to teach volunteers how to conduct training classes of their own. While teaching subjects like this is not overly complex and impossible, there are different methods that need to be picked between and wielded properly so as to convey and instill the values and tactics necessary to thus allow the students to become the teachers.
The commonly perceived good thing about healthcare, especially when speaking of volunteers that are not working for a salary, is that the people involved are in the field to impart healing, compassion and care to patients and their families. Even so, the field is still complex and wide-ranging due to the intricacies and iterations that are prevalent in the field including what best practices really are, how to deal with religious differences and variances, how to deal with generational differences and variances and so on. Even so, there are still some commonly accepted ways to teach adults including those adults that will themselves be teaching others in turn. As it relates to teaching people about healthcare, there is a mindset and train of thought that dictates that people in the field have both cultural literacy as well as healthcare literacy. The commonly cited reason for this is because of health disparities that blatantly exist among racial and/or cultural lines. The downside to this approach is that some bristle at the mention of anything the least bit racial or controversial. This is countered vigorously by those that say that the disparities exist and that simply ignoring that fact does not change anything. The upside to recognizing and using this approach is that treating people of all religions and ethnic backgrounds the same with no variation is less than wise and is actually probably worse that getting too racial in some respects. For example, having a chaplain on hand for religious patients is a good idea but it is not something that should be foisted or forced on the patients. However, it is something that is good to have in mind for those patients that do want it. When speaking of racial minorities, very commonsense accommodations and preparations should include having bilingual nurses and other staffers. Another suggestion is to have people on hand that know and understand how to provide effective service and advice to those that are economically disadvantaged, which is something much more common with racial minorities than with non-minorities. The above naturally extends to what could and should be done when teaching volunteers to teach others. Where the people are teaching, the economic strata of those people and the real-world issues that those people face should all be taken into account when determining what is taught, how it is taught and why it is taught (Lie, Carter-Pokras, Braun & Coleman, 2012).
Another tactic that should be embraced, but with caution, is the idea that modern learners need to be approached in different and unique ways. The downside to this approach is that the people being taught through the prism of pedagogy are very wide-ranging. For example, people in their 20’s have grown up around technology and actively desire to have it used in their teaching and learning while older learners may not prefer or may even shun newer technology such as tablets, the Internet and social media. However, the teaching of yesteryear and at all levels was fairly mundane and restrictive as it often came down to repetition and practice above all else. Chalkboards and pencils have since fallen away to digital technologies like tablets and computers. These upgrades in technology made things much more interactive and engaging. This is an important factor because some learners will disappear into the ether of a classroom if they are not an active part of the learning process. As such, these healthcare training sessions should engage all learners rather than allowing only certain people (if anyone) that are being taught to be involved directly with the facilitator. Also, a good way to have people cooperate on their own desired level is to offer the technological methods as a way to enhance the experience for those that wish to (e.g. how to use social media to do the learning) but it can also be explained how to reach and teach people that are not as technologically advanced or inclined. What will really drive this one way or another is the overall age and cultural demographics of the people doing the teaching and the people being taught. The older and the poorer will have less technology and technological knowledge while the younger and more affluent will tend to be the opposite. However, assuming this to be true in all cases is also less than wise (Taylor, 2014).
Another lucrative way to impart teaching and to teach others to do the same is through what is known as a pedagogy of hope. While the potential downside of this approach is that some people are turned off by the ostensibly lack of reason and reality that might pervade this approach. However, if done correctly, a pedagogy of hope imparts the idea that hope and reality can coexist and that hope is a way to weather the storm of a personal chronic medical condition or that of a family member. In terms of healthcare, the pedagogy of hope can be a way to help people teach each other how to support, uplift and assist people in need of healthcare or even just encouragement. There has to be a positive and empowering mood to the conversation and training and this thus allows people to help fight the good fight. Good moods and vibes can be contagious just as much as negative ones. The catalyst to drive people in the good direction rather than the bad is to admit that there will be struggle and suffering but that there are ways to combat those negative events as well as ways to prevent them in the first place. For example, educating about obesity can teach people (and to teach others) how to both combat things like heart disease and diabetes as well as how to prevent them in the first place (Webb, 2013).
To crystalize and encapsulate what was discussed above as well as the recommendations that were scattered throughout the report, the following should be taken to heart. First off, modern learning for adults has to be embraced and utilized but it should not be done in a singular and constant form as the range of pedagogy would stretch from people in their 20’s to people in their 60’s and beyond. As such, the way to wield and use this method would be to take into account the age and technological preference of the people involved and teach accordingly. The upside to modern teaching methods is that they are more interactive and easy to wield but the downside is that not everyone is on the “modern” bandwagon when it comes to technology and…