“adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.”(p.53)
This quote has opened my eyes to the fact that adult learners are motivated to learn with different goals in mind then children learners. They are driven by a goal, a need for knowledge to apply to an immediate problem.
What caught my attention from this quote was how I can directly relate it to my classroom. How my students on a daily basis ask me “do dentist really use this type of material? Or how am I going to use facial anatomy in a dental office? We want a direct application for our new knowledge learned to help us solidify our learning. I am now starting to understand the process behind the questioning, the learning the students are doing and how they need to have a greater understanding of the outcome for their knowledge to be able to complete their learning.
I realized that by being a Clinical instructor, in the CDA department, at Okanagan College, I am already implementing problem-centered learning. My students get an opportunity to immediately apply new knowledge learned, to hands on skills in the clinic. They can really get an understanding for the reasoning behind a dental dam, (to prevent a filling from getting saliva in it), when they place dental dams on each other and see how much saliva they really have. By learning in a course designed like ours, we teach around goals or skills, students complete steps from classroom theory to clinical skills, these steps helps to solidify the classroom learning with hands on clinical application.
This quote is me, I am an adult educator and an adult learner. I can relate to this quote on a number of different levels. I see how my students are trying to process new knowledge through problem-centered learning, needing to know the whys and the hows behind new skills, to help them retain their learning. After reading this quote I see myself doing the same thing, I am constantly looking for ways to relate new knowledge to my current instructor position. I want to know how each exercise and skill learned can be directly relate to my classroom. Realizing how different subject-centered and problem-centered learning varies has opened my eyes to my students, to the questions they constantly ask.
It’s hard to say how much growth we can really achieve from a few words in a quote. What the quote has done is drawn me in, into wanting more, to reading over a few pages in my text book for more knowledge, for a great understanding of problem-centered learning. With more insight on what triggers us to learn and expand our knowledge base as an adult, we can develop learning strategies to help us engage adult learners through problem-centered learning. We all need something to get us motivate to do something new, to want growth in life and in knowledge. I can now see how the layout in our CDA program, with one theory day followed by one clinic day, really helps students to get the opportunity to immediately apply knowledge with practice and hands on skills. They can now see how to use facial anatomy as landmarks in taking x-rays and applying topical anesthetic. This important process might be missed if students were just told they need to know this with no really understanding of the relevance behind it. Being a hands on learner I think doing a skill in clinic is the best way for students to really solidify their learning. I know this is what attracts me to being a clinical instructor, I get to see students show their skills, use their knowledge and have their ‘Aha!” moments. That moment when all their learning and knowledge is finally all tied together and the solution to their problem is clear.