Everyone needs an exit strategy: a plan. When we wake up to a new day we have no choice except to progress through it filled with expectations, responsibilities, goals, and if we’re lucky, time to reflect. Regardless of what the day brings, it comes to an end, and is followed by the next day: the eventual do-over! An exit strategy allows me to feel control over what I have to, and what I want to accomplish during my waking hours.
I’ve just completed Foundations of Adult Education 3100, the first of eight courses in the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma Program at Vancouver Community College. The final assignment involved an Exit Interview. I was not asked to write an educational philosophy: I simply had to think about what my educational philosophy might be, and be able to verbally share my thoughts with my instructor on how adults learn. The one recurring theme was adapting to continuous change and the ability to be a lifelong learner. In Freedom to Learn (1969), psychologist Carl Rogers said it best,
“An educated person is one who has learned how to learn … how to adapt and change”
In the Exit Interview, I also had to talk about which adult teaching philosophy I most align with. In my opinion, an educator needs to decide if a traditional approach (Behaviouristic) or a more interactive method (Humanistic) is needed in a lesson. But most importantly, one needs to remember that you are teaching adults, so a positive and mutually respectful environment is first and foremost.
In addition, an adult educator provides a service. It doesn’t matter if you are instructing in a classroom, as a practitioner in the workplace, or giving a tour in a museum; there is a responsibility on the part of the teacher/facilitator to meet the needs and expectations of the students. The service that I provide on any given day is a reflection on me, and luckily, if I’ve failed to articulate or demonstrate what the day’s planned outcomes are, there is always another chance to learn how to do it better the next day.
The photograph above was taken on my husband’s cell phone in December at Big White ski resort in Kelowna, British Columbia. Sunset: the ultimate exit plan that provides proof that the sun will also rise tomorrow, and that I’ll have another opportunity to learn, change and grow.