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5 Books All Adult + Higher Ed Teachers Should Add to Their List

5 Books All Adult + Higher Ed Teachers Should Add to Their List

Adult and higher education teachers are always looking for new ways to enhance their teaching practice and to find new ways to engage with this special population. While there are many books written about the adult learning experience, educators need books based on research, theory, and best practices in order to implement these practices into their teaching. Here are five books that satisfy this need and that every adult and higher ed teacher should add to his or her list.

1. Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice by Sharan B. Merriam and Laura L. Bierema

Solidly grounded in theory and research but concise and practice-oriented, Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice is perfect for master’s-level students and practitioners alike. Sharan Merriam and Laura Bierema have infused each chapter with practical applications for instruction that will help readers personally relate to the material.

2. Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning: A Comprehensive Analysis of Principles and Effective Practices by Stephen D. Brookfield

The first book to receive both the Imogene Okes Award and the Cyril O. Houle World Award for Literature in Adult Education presented by the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning analyzes current approaches to adult learning and presents a comprehensive review of the research on how adults learn.

3. The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development by Malcolm S. Knowles Ph.D., Richard A. Swanson Ph.D., and Elwood F. Holton III Ed.D.

Readers learn to develop meaningful programs and use new techniques for effectively teaching adults. After examining the various theories of learning, the book presents the reasons why teaching adults is so different than teaching children. This book gives an overview of brain dominance technology and whole-brain thinking.

4. Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide by Sharan B. Merriam, Rosemary S. Caffarella, Lisa M. Baumgartner

Learning in Adulthood addresses a wide range of topics, including: Who are adult learners? How do adults learn? Why are adults involved in learning activities? How does the social context shape the learning that adults are engaged in? How does aging affect learning ability?

5. Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults by Stephen D. Brookfield

In this practical manual, full of tested exercises, methods, and activities, Brookfield explains how teaching critical thinking, using discussion, and fostering self-directed learning can create the conditions for student empowerment and how teachers can democratize their classrooms. He reveals why adults often resist teaching that encourages them to challenge dominant power and describes how teachers can set a tone to help students push back against ideological manipulation. Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults explores the connections between emotion, intuition, and power and reviews different ways for instructors to survive the emotional demands of powerful teaching.

Looking for more ways to reach adult and higher ed students? Check out these five ways to engage adult learners!