Valuing the Minds of Adult Learners

In the year of 2018, month of January, I had the privilege to start a journey of learning a new language to be able to share the good news from the Bible to foreigners living in the Philippines. It is now 2019 and I still feel very thankful to Jehovah God for giving me a chance to be able to join a family of adult learners- a family of individuals that unite despite difference circumstances and backgrounds.


Both in the learning environment of University of the Philippines Open University and in this foreign language learning family, I have been able to appreciate what an adult learner really is. In these learning environment wherein age differences are common, I have come to observe what dedication and perseverance really means despite having some personal responsibilities such as having secular work and caring for families.

In this blog post, I would like to combine lessons from Module 2 and Module 4 specifically on the concept of intelligence. For the first part of this blog post I would like to feature Raymond Bernard Cattell’s mention of the two types of intelligence: fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.


Above is a visual graphic that describes the two types of intelligence: fluid and crystallized. Fluid intelligence is about abilities of memory span, spatial perception and adapatation to new situations whereas crystallized intelligence talks more about capacities of judgement, knowledge and experience. Cattell mentions that differences in aging is also related with levels of fluid and crystallized intelligence: the greater the age comes decline in fluid intelligence and increase in crystallized intelligence.

Relating this in our foreign language learning experience together with other adult learners comprising of ages 16-60, I have observed that younger learners in the ages 16 until 20+ are faster in activities relating to fluid intelligence such as memorizing Gurmukhi of the Punjabi language and also basic language phrases. What I have mentioned in this regard is that younger learners are FASTER in activities for fluid intelligence nevertheless the other adult learners with increasing ages of 30-60 are able to catch up in the preceding months on activities of fluid intelligence because they are able to combine this with their level of crystallized intelligence of experience. Compared to us younger learners who are good at taking in big chunks of information to memorize yet suffering the consequence of brain drain, what I appreciate with the older adult learners in our class is that they are able to apply crystallized intelligence in their learning by what considering concepts of reasonableness and being practical.

According to Schaie and Parr (1981) “different stages of life actually call for different learning abilities.” This means that the methods done by young learners to acquire knowledge should be adjusted on the part of adult learners as age increases because of the consideration of phases of life encountered.  Long terms memory that requires fluid intelligence is indeed possible for adult learners on conditions such as when a material is learned well. This case is indeed true because one of my classmates in the foreign language learning class who is in her 50s shared that she is able to retain better what she studies from the lessons in our class when she studies during the night after finishing household chores and she is also able to study at times in the mornings especially when she takes opportunity of the home being quiet and no distraction because her husband is at work and her grandchildren are out in school. Another condition that can help adult learner increase memory span is when new information learned is integrated and related with previous knowledge.

Problems on the lack of motivation on the part of older adult learners springs when they feel like the information they acquire is complex, meaningless and fast paced. To be able to address these challenges, the teachers in our foreign language learning make sure to set aside time to bring us encouragement to continue in this challenging yet exciting learning experience. Last June 2018, days before graduating from our class, a letter was read to us containing 15 lessons and the lessons listed are the following:

1. Strengthen your spirituality so as not to weaken in foreign language field!

I really appreciate this first lesson because it traces back to not neglect what matters the most which is spirituality containing moral values and practical wisdom for life which is more important than what books in secular education can offer.

2. Read Punjabi everyday for 15-30 minutes

The constant yet shorter time for learning, the lesser the chances of percentages of brain drain! 🙂

3. Recall Bible principles

4. Add vocabulary words

5. Be involved in activities

6. Participate in meetings

7. Answer even in simple Punjabi sentences

8. Think about how you have already progressed

9. Build friendships

10. Learn the culture

11. Stay focused in sharing the good news 

12. Keep your motives pure- never forget that your motive for learning a new language is love for Jehovah God and love for the people

13. Do not take yourself too seriously, have a sense of humor and laugh at your mistakes

14. Be patient with yourself and with others

15. Always be conscious of your spiritual needs- read the Bible both in your mother language and foreign language.

In this letter, what I appreciated is the blend of fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence as it values concepts such patience for slow growth, right motivation, humor, friendships and association, participation and involvement. At the end of the letter, I also remembered that our teacher mentioned that TEAMWORK is important because with close association in the class comes opportunities to share what has been learned.


Going back to the times when I was in a learning environment where pedagogy prevailed, all I thought was that fluid intelligence is the most important considering that honors are determined with scores of IQ tests and perfecting quizzes about memorizing factual information from books. In my almost 4 years of being in learning environment where andragogy is the main principle that is featured in activities to be able to cater to the needs of my adult learner classmates, I have come to appreciate crystallized intelligence even more without compromising the importance of fluid intelligence.

In learning how to appreciate crystallized intelligence, I have been able to observe from my fellow adult learners in the foreign language learning class that finishing the education in here is more than gaining a medal, or even just passing grades for the sake getting out of school and be able to enjoy vacation but it stems from a deeper motivation. I really appreciate how my fellow adult learners sacrificed a lot of things to finish this class. Despite a lot of pressures of family responsibilities, what motivates my fellow learners to finish the class and even continue to progress in learning the foreign language is love for Jehovah God and love for people which moved them to put forth the effort in this volunteering service to share good news and practical moral values from the Bible to foreigners in the community.

Success in adult education indeed means creating a special value on how fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence blend in with each other. I hope that this lesson is not only applied in adult education but also in other types of education such as traditional classroom education. If this happens, I can’t help but imagine just how much of the students will be even more encouraged to embrace the real essence of learning- learning that can help them change into better individuals in life.


Image about Cattell’s two type of intelligences derived from:

Cross, P.K. (1981). Patterns of adult learning and development. In Adults as learners: Increasing participation and facilitating learning, Chapter 7, pp. 161-164. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.


What is the Key to an Adult Learner’s Success?

In the year 2018, I have had the opportunity to stumble upon a Youtube channel named Unreported World which dives into the various social issues around the world. One of their published videos is entitled “Tackling America’s illiteracy problem” has been one of the first documentary from this channel that I really had an impact on me which then led me to choose it as a connection for what I have learned from my Module 1 readings about adult learners.

The statistics in this 2016 documentary also mentioned the statistics of one out of five adults that cannot read and so the host in here, Kiki King explores the illiteracy crisis issue in America which can be a hindrance to progress.

With the main issue investigated in the city of Detroit in the state of Michigan wherein 93% of its teenagers cannot read, the first part of the documentary interviews Mr. Khali Sweeney. Sweeney is the founder of the institution named Downtown Boxing Gym in the year 2007 wherein one of the principles is to be able to help young learners of Detroit who are left behind because of various pressures in life to love education with enthusiasm by means of using unique strategies such as books first (be able to learn how to read books first which is a form of developing literacy) before boxing (which is a form of sport for the young learners.)


In this documentary what really moved me is the backstory of founder Khali Sweeney. Sweeney’s past is filled with dark memories such as being stuck in a life of violence such as being in the gangs up until the climactic point of wherein everyone he knew are either dead or in jail. Khali Sweeney as an adult learners thus had the deep intrinsic motivation that education is the only thing that can bring him hope to be able to change his course and have a better life which could then help him to also help others gain hope.

The next part of the documentary travels to the city of Kalamazoo in Michigan wherein the host meets Jerry, another adult learner who perseveres to finish his education at 56 years of age. Jerry’s backstory as to why he is coming back to a learning journey as an adult traces back when he dropped out school at age 16. Due to financial difficulties, he was already pulled in by the pressure to work and despite lacking literacy, he has been able to enter in factories with many low-skilled jobs and with low skilled jobs it means it doesn’t require much of the qualification of illiteracy.

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As an adult however, Jerry came to the realization of having the desire to continue his learning. This has built up the drive to be able to finish it and also fuel up the intrinsic motivation of being able to be a positive role model for his family, especially his grandchild who has also been featured in the documentary. In the video, it has also been inspirational to see Jerry receive an award for his dedication to learn how to read. More than the tangible certificate of appreciation is the intangible satisfying feeling for Jerry that as an adult learner, he has been able to overcome all of his fears to come back to school to learn how to read.

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The director of this literacy program for adult learners named Michael Evans also shared this statement in the documentary:

“What we are trying to do is to raise awareness that it’s okay to continue your learning because all of us are lifelong learners anyway.”

Many adults fear continuing learning as they consider that this is only an activity for the younger generation. Nevertheless, I really appreciated what the director Michael Evans shared about raising awareness on adult education because all of us are lifelong learners. All of us seek to change through education and the knowledge that we receive from it, so what is the point of discriminating adults who come back to school to learn?

In the last part of the documentary, it has been long-awaited on whether or not Jerry would show his reading skills by reading a bedtime story to his granddaughter. Despite Jerry’s hesitation and nervousness of not being able to comprehend the letters in the book to be stated out loud in words, he took the leap of faith to see his progress as an adult learner. In the frames above, it truly has been heartwarming to see Jerry finish reading the bedtime story book to his granddaughter. The little one has truly been proud of her grandfather adult learner and we viewers also share in the happiness on cheering out for other adult learners out there who continue their journey of learning.

Going back to the question of this blogpost What is the Key to An Adult Learner’s Success?,  I have to say that this question can be brought back for adult learners to ask themselves:

What is the Key to my Success?

The key to success is indeed having a deep intrinsic motivation just like what we have observed with the drive that moves the adult learners in the documentary I have shared to be able to continue their journey of learning. As adult learners who have deep intrinsic motivations to learn, adult educators should then never forget to always instill in the hearts of their students encouragement for their progress to be learners who are pro-active and life-long and always help them have a viewpoint on important lessons on education that can bring forth continuous growth as individuals which will then move them to think more that investment of time in learning is indeed worth it.


Unreported World. (2017, September 20). Tackling America’s illiteracy problem

[Video file]. Retrieved from

Cyr, A.V. (1999, September 30). Overview of Theories and Principles Relating to Characteristics of Adult Learners: 1970s-1999 [PDF File]. Retrieved from


EDS 133 Blog # 2: Perspectives on Prayer

Surah 1. The Opening

  1. In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
  2. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;
  3. Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
  4. Master of the Day of Judgment.
  5. Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.
  6. Show us the straight way,
  7. The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.

The words above that can be seen above is derived from the first chapter of the book of Qur’an specifically from Surah 1:1-7. The opening prayer above is also the one uttered by Muslim individuals around the world for the obligatory five daily prayers.

In this blog, I will be discussing about the parallel and also the distinction of the Surah opening prayer above with that of mine as one of the Jehovah Witnesses. Similar with the Surah opening prayer, I also begin my prayer to Jehovah God by means of also uttering praise to him and specifically mentioning his magnificent qualities such as love, undeserved kindness, mercy, humility, and brilliance shown through creations in nature. The Surah prayer’s 5th and 6th line also presents the indication of offering oneself to God by means of seeking and worshipping Him. This part is also what I can say as similar to what I utter to Jehovah God and in addition to this, I also include in my prayer the request for His holy spirit to be able to guide me and also put in my heart Jehovah God thinking of what is right and what is wrong through Bible principles.

In the part of the distinction however, I have seen that the Sunah prayer are verses to be exactly uttered by Muslims compared to my prayer wherein I can openly say my feelings to my God. However, even though my prayer is freely expressed, a format is also followed based on the model prayer given by Jesus Christ and this is also similar with the Sunah prayer wherein it begins with the giving praises to God, thanking Him for everything that He has done and also asking for repentance for sins that have been committed. In conclusion to this blog, I as a Jehovah’s Witnesses have truly developed awareness and respect for fellow humans from the Islamic community. Through the Sunah prayer, I have truly been reminded to always give praises to the Most High God because this is what He truly deserves. –Revelation 4:11


Surah 1: The Opening. Retrieved from:

EDS 133 Blog # 1: Islam and the Islamic World View

  1. Reflect on the major worldviews of Islam. How are they alike or different from your personal worldview/s?

For this question, the major worldview of Islam that I would like to focus on is one of the pillars of Islam which is about the Shahadat answering to the call of the prophets, especially of Prophet Muhammed to worship God alone. Shahadat as one of the pillars of Islam also is composed of the phrases: “I bear witness there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammed is Messenger of Allah.” primarily uttered by the ones embracing Islam. The utterance of these phrases of Shahadat is an everyday must for Muslims. Utterance of the Shahadat is for the Muslims should also be done with sincerity and that the saying of these words also means their responsibility to fulfill their vows as ones embracing Islam.

I chose to reflect on this major worldview of Islam on the Shahadat because this also has a similarity with my beliefs and principles practiced as one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. As one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I am worship my God, Jehovah and just like the Muslims putting in mind the not only the utterance but also the practice of the Shahadat, I make sure in my whole life to also follow the greatest commandment from the Bible recorded in Matthew 22: 37, 38 which says: …“‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment.” Although it is not mandatory as one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to utter this commandment compared to Muslims’ practice of the pillar of Shahadat wherein the phrases should be uttered every day, the putting in mind and heart of worshipping of God alone is the similarity that I can observe between Islam and that of the religion that I have vowed to follow in my life.

  1. Go to the website: Choose a name you would like as your pseudonym or pen name for this course. You may want to explain why you decided on your particular pseudonym.

For this subject, I really enjoyed this activity of choosing a Muslim pen name because I have been able to explore the beauty of names and delve into the realization that every name presents a precious identity of a person. Based on the initials of my first names, T and N, I chose 2 Muslim names and the pseudonym that I have formulated is Thufailah Nahid.

An explanation of my pseudonym, Thufailah Nahid:

Thufailah– This name that I have chosen means “elegant with good respect for her elders”. When I have read this from the list, I felt something special from this name as this is close to my heart because of my upbringing to have deep respect for the elders. This upbringing is based from a special guide in my life, the Bible wherein one scripture states from Proverbs 16:31 about gray-headedness being a crown of beauty because it is based on righteousness. From my upbringing, I was also taught to have elegance that is not based from the outside like having ladylike poses, but from the inside by means of being humble and treating others with deep respect.

Nahid- The name Nahid means “Persian name for the planet Venus”. I have decided to put this in my pseudonym as my second name because it really interested me as my mother’s name is Venus. By means of choosing the name Nahid, I feel like I have more of a connection with my mother, the beautiful individual who has truly brought a wonderful impact in my life.


Cooke, Bradley J. (ed.), (2010) Classical Foundations of Islamic Educational Thought,

Utah: Brigham Young University Press

Irving etal (2004). The Qur’an: Basic Teachings. Leicester: The Islamic Foundation

Muslim Names. Retrieved from

Matthew 22: 37, 38. New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

Teach Awesome! # 2- Effectively Use Positive Reinforcement

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What makes positive reinforcement special and very important to be used inside the classroom? Based on many teaching experiences, positive reinforcement is related to “timely encouragement” because with this technique there is “encouragement that follows good behavior.” This kind of reinforcement is also “done in order to emphasize the positivity of the action.”

Positive reinforcement is very effective to be used by teachers because this technique is hassle-free to execute, therefore leading the pathway to good behavior and positivity of action and performance on the part of the students. Compared to other types of techniques like the use of harsh words to discipline a student, positive reinforcement can truly be an effective way to raise great students inside the classroom because not only does it makes them aware of their strengths, but it also helps improve them even more for a long standing time.

This article connected to the field of learning in the subject of behavioral theories present tips that can be useful to teachers on how the technique of positive reinforcement can be effectively used inside the classroom.

  1. Act it and say it out loud

Government Assistance Programs Aid Underprivileged Communities In New York State

Positive reinforcement used inside the classroom can even be more effective when this is in the form of verbal praise through phrases like “Good job”, “Well done””, and “Nice work”. The saying out loud of the positive reinforcement can also mean how the good words directly come from the teacher. Listening to these words can even more push and drive the students towards the accomplishment of a positive action. Despite the different setting of being in distance learning, I can really feel encouragement from my online professors when I see remarks or feedback that indicate how well I have done with regards to a specific task that has been assigned. Reading these kinds of positive feedback truly reminds me of the good result of the hard work that I have done leading me to do more for my next performance.

The technique of positive reinforcement does not only come in the form of verbal praise, but this also comes in gestures such as smile, nod, thumbs up, or high-five. With the use of body language through these types of actions, the sincerity of the teacher with his/her sharing of positive reinforcement will truly be seen and genuinely felt by the students inside the classroom. With my experiences as a learner in the traditional classroom, I really am encouraged when the teacher smiles after I have recited something. Through this encouragement,  I do not only feel the drive to participate more in the next discussions, but I also feel that the teacher takes a genuine interest with me as an individual.

2. Vary its forms

To enjoy a meal experience in a buffet, not only one type of food is served as there are several other choices of courses to choose from. Same with the experience of enjoying the essence of learning, the use of positive reinforcement inside the classroom can prove to be effective when teachers also take the time and initiative to vary its forms.

Positive reinforcement is not only in the form of praise and gestures just like what has been mentioned in the first tip, but with the creativity of a teacher, he/she can think of creative ways of using tangibles. Teachers can use tangibles ranging from different choices such as stickers, new pencils, stamp, or buttons that show positive remarks just like what is seen in the figure above.

A teacher’s sincerity with his/her giving of positive reinforcement can also be shown by taking time and effort to write the student a personal letter or note of how he/she did well with his/her performance or positive action. If this is done by the teacher, the losing of the value of praise will be avoided as the note will be personally addressed for the specific student. For this technique to be effective, the teacher should also make sure that these appreciative comments immediately follow any good deed to strengthen the encouragement for the student to repeat the positive action.

3. Base it on students’ individual needs

For positive reinforcement to be effective, a teacher should also take in mind that classrooms and student groups also have their own culture to consider. The tips presented in here may be commonly applied for pre-school and elementary students (on the use of tangibles) but it is also notable to consider what can be effective on the part of high school students. Children from the age group of the level might want the kind of positive reinforcement to be heard by everybody in the class, but this might not be the case for high school students.

With another shift in age and culture, positive reinforcement used in pre-school and elementary students might not be effective on the part of high school students. Some high school students might feel that verbal praise heard by the rest of the class is a negative one.  High school students may prefer quiet positive feedback through forms like signs, gestures, or notes. With the important consideration of the culture of each class, the more effective the technique of positive reinforcement can be with regards to the blossoming of students inside the classroom.

4. Share it with the families of students

The growth of a child can also be contributed by the strengthened link of school and home. According to Laura Merrick, a school psychologist, who has been in the educational field for the past 10 years, she has seen how one of the most effective uses of positive reinforcement includes that of  the sending of a positive note or a positive phone call to the home of a student. Merrick states that the child’s behavior is not only being reinforced but the parents are reinforced as well. On the part of the parents, it really is refreshing to hear something positive about their children, therefore connecting the missing link between school and home.

5. Give it with tact

Students may receive positive reinforcement but be unsure of how to accommodate this because of their rejection of praise caused by low self-esteem and doubt whether they really deserve the praise or not.

An effective positive reinforcement can be given when blended with tact. A tactful positive reinforcement means that this is directed strategically towards the provision of information to the students about their competence or the attribution towards success to effort and ability. Examples of statements that show tactful positive reinforcement include:

  • “That was a wonderful paragraph you wrote because …”
  • “That was a kind thing to do when you helped Ms. Fisher carry those bags. I know it made her feel more welcome in our school.”
  • “Your studying really paid off. That’s a good mark on your math test. It shows you really nailed problem solving.”

To help students learn the acceptance of positive reinforcement in this regard, a teacher may also use the tactful technique of “drop praise”. “Drop praise” is done when a teacher walks by and quickly “drops” a praise in the midst of a student demonstrating a positive action. “Drop praise” will also require the teacher to walk away at once before the students are given the chance to deny or argue with the praise given to them.

By means of tactful positive reinforcement, the encouragement of the doing of positive action will be strengthened even more and will truly benefit the inside of the hearts of the students not only for their growth inside the classroom but also in the real world.


Bain, K. (2007, July). Key Element 6: Positive Reinforcement. Retrieved from:

n.a. (2015, March 16). Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom. Retrieved from:

Charlie, S. (2016, September 16). How to Effectively Use Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom. Retrieved from:

Merrick, L. (2016, February 5). Learning to Use Positive Reinforcement. Retrieved from:



IQ vs. EQ- Weighing in What’s Important


This article seeks to investigate the two terms of IQ (Intelligence quotient) and EQ (Emotional quotient) and see how both of them can contribute to the benefit of an individual.

The Definition of IQ and EQ

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Investigating the competency of IQ

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Is IQ enough to guarantee success? – This question often arises because of the system in majority of schools wherein the factors of intelligence and achievement are commonly based on the score in standardized assessment tests.

One of the advantages of people with high IQ include the ability to handle work easily than others. Nevertheless, in real world situations such as that of being in a workplace, high IQ may not be enough, as EQ is also essential with regards to team work. A criticism of having high IQ and low EQ, especially on the part of teenagers include that of deceiving parents and other adults that they already a mature person whereas the inside reality reveals that they are still emotionally fragile. With this lack of emotional stability also comes the unpreparedness for adult responsibilities.

The Carnegie Institute of Technology conducted a research study wherein it shows that “85% of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering”, personality, and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Surprisingly technical knowledge only accounts for 15%.” The skills in “human engineering” is referred to by emotional quotient represented by skills that are personally driven such as empathy, leadership, communication, and etiquette and the technical knowledge is referred to by the intelligence quotient marked by hard skills learned such as reading, writing and mathematics. The study mentioned shows that both of the factors of IQ and EQ are crucial to success but EQ tends to have the contribution of a higher percentage.

Observing the Importance of EQ

Based on the definition of emotional quotient in the first part of this article, it can be seen that an individual who is highly emotionally intelligent are more self and socially aware, organized with managing their lives, and are in relationships that are healthy. These actions are brought forth because emotional intelligence enables one to touch his/her own emotions and that of others.

As we humans are created with both the rational and emotional mind, not only IQ is important but also EQ is because this factor guides us to control our emotional mind to make the right choices and avoid the negative consequences. Intellectual maturity should therefore come with emotional maturity as it is very crucial to going through the most important decision makings in life ranging from situations such as handling relationships, conflicts, criticisms, praise, and discipline.

Screenshot 2017-07-14 09.41.36

Remove the “vs.” Between IQ and EQ

In my opinion, saying that IQ is more important than EQ and EQ is more important than IQ does not really help with regards to determining what is more important. To achieve success in life, both of these factors share their part of contribution and so both also have their unique significance to consider. Modern neuro-learning research such as that from Mary Helen Immordino Yang and other cognitive neuroscientists reveal that thinking and emotion WORK TOGETHER.

In conclusion, we should not debate whether IQ or EQ is more important as the truth from modern research reveals that the formula of both of these are crucial for the success of an individual. Today’s education may focus the most on IQ but the change that should probably have is to also pay attention to the important of the nurturing of the EQ of students.

EQ IQ Success


n.a. (2015, November 19). IQ vs. EQ: which is more important in career success?
Retrieved from:

Business Woman Media. (2016, January 13). Is EQ more important than IQ for your career?. Retrieved from:

Macpherson, E. (2013, November 15). 10 Ways to Inspire a Love of Learning in Your ClassroomRetrieved from:

Chancellor, J. (2016, October 17). EQ vs. IQ. Retrieved from:

Elmore, T. (2010, April 7). EQ and IQ in StudentsRetrieved from:


Quintessential Management Solutions. (2015, June 24). EQ IQ Success [Photograph]. Retrieved from