Steutel (2006) defines education as the process of passing on knowledge to learners. Education is mostly a voluntary act and requires that the active participation of learners in the learning process by being willing to learn. Irrespective of different educational systems across the globe, they all have the same goals, which include enhancing understanding, nurturing self-realization and individual growth, promoting imagination, creating knowledge and knowledgeable learners, and encouraging upright moral thinking (Kersten et al., 2007). These are the principal goals that stakeholders in the education process aim to accomplish; stakeholders in the education process include learners, teachers, parents and guardians, and the larger community (Bridges, 1998). This paper identifies and discusses key education concepts and behaviors. The focus of the paper is to provide a synopsis of key education concepts and examine these concepts and behaviors and nursing education from the viewpoint of the nurse educator.
Part 1: Overview of Education Concepts
Education concepts refer to the main processes and terms incorporated to facilitate in an education system. There are numerous education concepts that define the learning process in an education system. In addition, education itself can be perceived as a concept in the learning process, which implies that the education system used in a country is instrumental in the definition of the concept of education (Pashler et al., 2008). An enhancing education system deploys strategies that guarantee the achievement of goals of the learning process, which is unlike the case of a suffocating education system. The principal education concepts identified in this paper include special needs, learning styles, adult learning theory, diversity, and child rearing and teaching methods (Rusell, 2006).
According to Rusell (2006), special needs education is an education concept that aims at ensuring that the education system caters for the needs of different learners. Special needs education has the primary objective of ensuring that individual needs are differences are addressed. This process entails the use of adapted learning materials and equipment, reachable settings and individually planned teaching and instructional procedures (Pashler et al., 2008). In addition, special needs education entails the use of specialized interventions to aid students with special needs attain high degrees of individual self-sufficiency and academic achievement both in school and community. Special needs differ according to the learning group; for instance, adults, teenagers and children have varied needs. Further, students having mental and physical disabilities are classified as special students. Bridges (1998) affirms that it is essential to assess the needs of each learning group in order to ensure that special learners benefit from the education process. For instance, teenagers are mostly rebellious and should be handled cautiously, whereas adults are experienced and goal-oriented, and self assessors; therefore, the educator should have knowledge of these learning needs and come up with appropriate strategies to ensure successful knowledge transfer. In addition, students with physical and mental disabilities require the accessibility in their learning environments (Rusell, 2006). With regard to special needs, educators must evaluate special needs prior to handling any learning group; this ensures that the educator selects an appropriate teaching method that addresses the needs of all learners. Similarly, nurse educators should be knowledgeable of the needs of the learners to ensure successful content delivery and knowledge transfer (Yang, 2004).
Learning styles is an important concept in education that entails knowledge transfer between individuals. There are three primary learning styles that the learner can use; they include tactile, visual and auditory learning styles (Yang, 2004). The effectiveness of the learning styles varies depending on the learning contexts and can be mixed to ensure optimal learning. Visual learning style is suitable for learners who best understand information when portrayed to them visually. Visual presentation of information can take the form of pictures, notes and graphics. These learners prefer the use chalkboard notes (Rusell, 2006). Visual learning styles are the most prevalent learning style for all learners except those that are visually impaired. Auditory learning style is suitable for students who learn best when information is conveyed to them in audio format such as lectures, class discussions and audio tapes. Auditory learning style is suitable for several learners and is most effective for visually impaired learners. Tactile learning style entails learning through feeling and touching. This learning style is appropriate for learners who best apprehend information through experiential learning through handling and touching processes. Tactile learning is most effective in practical learning situations like the laboratory, which requires students to handle items for effective learning. Therefore, learners can be classified as tactical, visual or auditory in accordance to the environment that they use these learning styles. Students select their educators, lectures, majors and careers that are appealing to their distinctive style of learning. On the other hand, educators select learners that are appropriate for the various learning styles. For instance, all the three learning styles are valuable for nurse educators because effective learning entails seeing, touching and hearing. For the case of teachers, auditory and visual learning styles are appropriate because they give notes and lecture the students (Bridges, 1998).
The third education concept is the adult learning theory, which entails the incorporation of older people in the learning process. Adult learning can also entail the aspect of young people individuals learning from older learners. Adult learning is meaningful because of the level of experience associated with older people. Experience provides an avenue for practical learning and incorporating adults in the education system enhances the learning process because of their experiences. In addition, adult learning is vital in providing younger learners with mentors, which is helpful in ensuring effective and meaningful learning. This is because mentors offer a practical experience base for students who learn more effectively through practical living than when they lack the experience completely (Pashler et al, 2008). As a result, a mentor can be perceived as a reinforcement of learning for the young learners. It is evident that people have a tendency of learning through experiences of other people. In addition, learning from an experienced individual offers support network and a valuable learning forum. Students use the successes and failures of their mentors to enhance their knowledge base. Therefore, adult learning offers valuable experiences to the learner, which is a solid foundation needed for learning. Adult learning is of ultimate significance to the teacher because the learner has some experiences, which places the educator in a better position to transfer knowledge because the learner has a knowledge base concerning the topic at hand. For instance, a nurse educator benefits significantly if learners have prior information on first aid needs; this places the nurse educators to administer meaningful transfer of knowledge.
Diversity is a pertinent education concept, which aims at ensuring that the education system is devoid of discriminations associated with race, religion and cultures. It is evident that discriminating learners basing on their background impose negative consequences on their academic achievements and experiences with the education system. In addition, discrimination also affects educators in various ways including their abilities to transfer knowledge to learners effectively. There is the likelihood that learners facing discrimination will not participate actively in the learning process (Rusell, 2006). It is essential for nurse educators to be knowledgeable of the background of their learners in order to ensure effective content delivery. For instance, nurse educators should take into account the implications that culture impose on the teaching and learning process.
Teaching methods is an education concept wherein the educator selects an appropriate teaching method in accordance with the learning group, the learning environment and their respective environment. Therefore, the educator should select an appropriate method that facilitates learning and information retention. Some of the learning methods include modeling, collaborating, questioning, use of demonstration, explaining and questioning. Explaining is a teaching method that involves the logical clarification of information using examples, vivid illustrations and experiences. Collaborating is a teaching method that entails teamwork participation among learners. Collaboration ensures that there is a mutual responsibility among students; as a result, the teacher will find it relatively easy to teach students in groups because unclear concepts are discussed within the group. Similarly, nurse educators can benefit significantly when they teach students in groups (Rusell, 2006). Questioning is a teaching method wherein learners ask questions regarding the clarification of concepts and enhancing their understanding. In addition, questioning plays an integral role in enhancing the cognitive abilities of learners. Integrating these teaching methods play an integral role in promoting effective learning and teaching; therefore, both learners and educators benefit significantly from the teaching methods (Bridges, 1998).
Part 2: Examination of Key Educational Concepts and Behaviors
The aforementioned education concepts are vital for teachers and nurse educators because of their respective implications. For the case of teachers, being knowledgeable about learners ensures that the learning process is effective through knowledge acquisition and retention. For example, the choice of the teaching method is a significant factor in ensuring that learners understand the information being taught (Meacham et al., 2003). Nurse educators have a primary role of enlightening patients, families, fellow nurses, and the large community concerning the issues affecting them. Therefore, teaching methods are valuable and comes in handy as a tool for effective teaching because the effectiveness of learning depends on the choice of the teaching method. Questioning and demonstrating is suitable for the nurse educators since learners can benefit significantly through seeing and then asking questions for elaboration of concepts.
Cultural diversity is an essential aspect that the nurse educator must take into consideration when administering his or her duties. This requires the nurse educator to have knowledge pertaining to the cultural values and beliefs that dictate the ethical conduct and behavior in a society. The assessment of special needs is essential for the nurse educator because of the need to cater for the different needs of patients and families. Assessing these needs places the nurse educator in an outstanding position to ensure that their teaching methods address the demands of each group in the community (Steutel, 2006).
There are a number of assumptions and beliefs concerning the various educational concepts that affect the role of a nurse educator; they include learning entails relating information to a prior understanding, learning is stepwise, learning is mostly goal-oriented, and that learning entails the organization of information. For instance, the predisposition that learning entails relating information to prior knowledge imposes significant impacts on the role of a nurse educator. This is because learners’ thinking is shaped by the misconceptions and misrepresentation of facts in the real world. For instance, student nurses may hold the view that nursing is an extremely disgusting career, which could be because of their initial experiences with the manner in which nurses handle patients suffering from various diseases (Yang, 2004). This is a significant impediment for the nurse when attempting to explain to the student nurses concerning the realm of nursing. Further, the learning process will take a considerable length of time because of the difficulties associated with discarding prior understanding (Rusell, 2006).
The existing clinical and educational method affected by these concepts and concerns is the demonstration method. Demonstration is only meaningful when all learners do not suffer from visual impairments. Learners who are visually challenged cannot benefit from learning through demonstration. Learning from prior experience is also affected because students lacking prior knowledge will not benefit from this teaching method. A potential improvement to the teaching methods is that educators should embark on experiential learning instead of using the conventional lecture teaching method. Experiential learning enhances more knowledge acquisition and retention than the conventional teaching methods (Bridges, 1998).
The education concepts outlined in the paper include special needs, learning styles, adult learning theory, diversity, and child rearing and teaching methods. The three primary learning styles that the learner can use include tactile, visual and auditory learning styles. The learning methods include modeling, collaborating, questioning, use of demonstration, explaining and questioning. Adult learning is meaningful because of the level of experience associated with older people. Diversity has the goal of ensuring that the education system is devoid of discriminations associated with race, religion and cultures. The assumptions that affect the function of nurse educators include learning entails relating information to a prior understanding, learning is stepwise, learning is mostly goal-oriented, and that learning entails the organization of information.
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