Self-Directed Learning in the Eyes and Hands of Teachers of Adults - A Quantitative Approach
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Self-directed learning is viewed by many specialists as one of the main aspects of Adult Education, due to the autonomous nature of adults. Such autonomy presents a challenge to teachers, who must share with their adult students at least part of the responsibility for the various aspects of their learning process. Indeed, educational methodologies can be divided into student-centered and teacher-centered methods. This quantitative study aims to explore how teachers of adults share responsibility with their students, and how these teachers view their primary role as adult educators, based on aspects of Adult Education and Self-directed Learning theories. Data was collected through a self-administered web questionnaire, made available to teachers of adults who act in a variety of professional settings. The findings from this study indicate that, in general, Adult Education is teachercentered, and that the level of students' self-direction allowed in Adult Education practice varies according to the type of education, institutional rules and guidelines, students' educational level, and teachers' age. Teachers do not view themselves as the absolute authority in the classroom, but rather as motivators, guides, or subject experts. This perception is influenced by teachers' professional experience with both adults and children.