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Problem-Solving as a Pillar in Adult Education

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Problem-SolvingThe importance of giving adult students the opportunity to apply what they have learned is one of the assumptions of current andragogy. If we agree that adults learn in order to solve problems, then it seems reasonable to not only teach them biblical principles, to not only convince them that the principle will benefit them, but to also give them a chance to practice the principle before they head back to work on Monday.

Below are some examples of opportunities I gave a class to practice the truths they learned in a study on Colossians.

In Colossians 1:23 and 28, Paul tells his listeners that he is working hard to ground them in the Word so that they will remain faithful to the end. Pick one of the following activities to help ground yourself further in the verses we’ve studied today, so that your faith in Jesus may grow even stronger.

a)  Compose a song or a “rap” or figure out actions to help your family commit Colossians 1:16,17 to memory.
b)  Work the truths of Colossians 1:18 into a motto that would fit on a T-shirt for a church youth event.
c)  Your pastor has had a difficult few months of ministry. Compose an email to encourage him, using the thoughts of Colossians 1:28,29 as a guide.
d)  Write a Facebook profile page for Jesus or for the apostle Paul based on Colossians 1:15-29.
e)  Colossians 1:15-29 speaks about how our salvation depends on Christ alone. Use the words and the concepts you find there to create an additional verse to the hymn “In Christ Alone.”

One of these learning tasks brought out the hidden poet in one of my Bible class students, who composed a great verse for “In Christ Alone” and was happy to share it out loud. Others in class who were too shy to answer questions were more than happy to design a T-shirt logo. You might not be a poet or an artist, but others are. . . so don’t hesitate to include learning tasks that wouldn’t necessarily interest you. Educator Tom Sappington wrote: “In good learning, we set the table well, with succulent, nutritious, and visually delightful morsels. Then we let the learners select, taste, and digest [learning tasks] for themselves.”1

1Jane Vella, On Teaching and Learning (San Francisco: Jossey- Bass, 2008), 105.