THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF TEACHERS AT A LIFELONG LEARNING INSTITUTE: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY

Open Access
Author:
Choi, Ilseon
Graduate Program:
Adult Education
Degree:
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
December 18, 2006
Committee Members:
  • Fred Michael Schied, Committee Chair
  • Ian E Baptiste, Committee Member
  • Alison Alene Carr Chellman, Committee Member
  • Sherry Lynn Willis, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • adult education
  • gerontology
  • phenomenology
  • peer teaching
  • older adult volunteerism
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to investigate how older adults described their peer teaching experiences at a Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI), thereby providing a holistic view of the peer teaching experiences of older adults. To complete this study, I used a phenomenological research method, which is a systematic attempt to uncover and describe the internal meaning structures of lived experience. Eight LLI teachers participated in this study. They were teaching courses in Jazz, Architecture, Line Dancing, Tai Chi, Life Story Writing, WWI, Ethnic Cooking, and Knitting. I collected data primarily by semi-structured interviews, observations, and documents. I analyzed data according to procedures of phenomenological data analysis and phenomenological methods of reflection and writing. I found three facets composed older adults’ peer teaching experience at LLI: peer-to-peer teaching, volunteer teaching, and explorative teaching. The facet of peer-to-peer teaching focused on the inconsistency between teachers’ ideal practice and their actual practice. I argued that this facet emerged from the notion of peer teaching itself and the myth of the humanistic teacher. For the facet of volunteer teaching, I suggested busy ethic as an alternative explanation for older adults’ volunteerism instead of the conventional explanation of altruism or egoism. For the final facet of explorative teaching, I searched for the explorative nature of older adults’ teaching and discussed it in relation to experiential learning theories, particularly expansive learning perspective.