My Training Philosophy

Teaching philosophy for trainers

First, let me say this is MY training or teaching philosophy for adult learning. Several others exist and you should find out which aligns with who you are as a trainer and how you want your learners to experience you. A training or teaching philosophy is important because it will be something of a lighthouse that keeps you going in the right direction as a training facilitator. It ensures you’re always true to yourself and what you believe about the adults in your workshops or training sessions. It provides the foundation for why you do things a certain way (Galbraith 1999). I haven’t found many conversations on a teaching philosophy for trainers, so I thought I’d create one or at least share mine.

A teaching philosophy is the conceptual principles of practice and the rationale for how you approach teaching, training, or facilitation. The four teaching philosophies for adult education are Behaviorist, Radical, Liberal, Humanistic, and Progressive.

I like the way this paper breaks them down and explains them: https://www.jae-online.org/attachments/article/368/43-03-37.pdf. But, you can find information on the teaching philosophies for adult education in a variety of places.

You know, I can be trained to deliver any curriculum. Regardless of the subject, my teaching philosophy will not change. My approach remains the same.

teaching philosophy for a trainer

My strongest educational philosophy is Humanistic and my second is Progressive. This matches my personality as an ENFP (or True Colors perfectly!

Each encompasses my personal ideology of valuing the humanity of every single person along with the experiences, previous knowledge, and perspectives they bring to the training environment (Price, 1999). In my summation, facilitators ought to plan opportunities for learners to share previous knowledge about the content – even if that knowledge is minimal. It is a starting place and establishes an inclusive ambiance. In a similar thought, a family of four would never invest in a two-seater automobile because they want to have room for everyone. Comparably, facilitators should make ‘room’ for every learner’s involvement in the education process. My teaching philosophy for trainers is rooted in this same theory of making sure everyone has a stake in the training environment.

Motivating Learners to Share and Learn

Several factors influence adults’ desire or motivation to learn. For one, it helps to create a climate or atmosphere in which learners know they are valuable to the training or workshop. With this awareness, they will be more inclined to engage and participate in the process.

Even if they choose not to, they will have ample opportunity available. Secondly, facilitators must be sensitive to the trepidation some learners may initially feel about actively engaging in the training. This means consistently doing what is necessary to build a connection with all learners from the moment they enter the session and maintain it throughout.  (Sisco, 1991).

An Inclusive Atmosphere for Cooperation

Cooperative learning is a solid way to engage hesitant learners and build a sense of community among the entire group.  In the intellectual exchange, learners can bond as they exchange ideas, challenge, question, and immerse in the learning content.  I feel this type of engagement is an antidote for boredom and disengagement because it provides stimulation and a learning journey with another person. 

This can cultivate a synergism and a positive interdependence that can enrich learning (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 2009).  As they partake in this “journey”, they will be able to “reconstruct and transform prior knowledge” into something fresh and new. (Littles & Anderson p. 204). I think this augments the experience for everyone.

teaching philosophy trainers and facilitators

Constructivism is associated with the Humanistic philosophy. (Gogus, 2012) The ability and freedom to construct one’s own knowledge is the height of autonomy, power, and volition over one’s learning. The liberty to associate what is understood and grapple with it to create a new entity of understanding is almost mystical to me. Something remarkable happens when people have a chance to be unreservedly creative. Autonomy can inspire a positive attitude and a sense of self-efficacy because it empowers learners (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 2009).  

Conclusive thoughts about learning philosophy

Your teaching philosophy is important so you clearly understand how you approach teaching adults in your workshops. You can take the Philosophy of Adult Education Inventory yourself here: http://www.labr.net/paei/paei.html or if you prefer a paper version you can print, here you go: https://pbea.agron.iastate.edu/files/Philosophy%20of%20Adult%20Education%20Inventory%20%281%29.pdf

What is your teaching philosophy

PHILOSOPHY OF ADULT EDUCATION INVENTORY RESOURCES I’VE USED…

Galbraith, M. W. (2000). Philosophy and the Instructional Process. Adult Learning, 11(2), 11–13. doi:10.1177/104515959901100204

Gogus A. (2012) Constructivist Learning. In: Seel N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_142

Wlodkowski, R. J. & Ginsberg, M.B. (2017). Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn. (4th ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Littles-Spigner D. & Anderson, Chalon E. (1999). Constructivism: A Paradigm for Older Learners. Educational Gerontology, 25:3, 203-209. DOI: 10.1080/036012799267828

Price, D. W. (1999). Philosophy and the Adult Educator. Adult Learning, 11(2), 3-5. doi:10.1177/104515959901100202

Sisco, B. & Hiemstra, R. (1991). Setting the Climate for Successful Teaching and Learning. Adult Learning, 3(6), 26–26. doi:10.1177/104515959200300612

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