Andrology is the study of male fertility and the laboratorial aspects of infertility diagnosis and treatments. Men are exposed to fertility problems due mainly to their lifestyles. Given that fertility mainly becomes a crucial issue at an advanced age, providing solutions to these problems becomes a challenge. Much of the information on how to handle infertility in men have been limited to medical practitioners. As a result, the need for the incorporation of andrology as a part of adult education becomes important. There needs to be a proper model of education adopted to facilitate adult learning on fertility.
Andrology and Models of Adult Education
Education on andrology is justified on the basis of necessity. In a normal setup, human beings tend to specialize in specific fields. One of the fields of specialization is education. Indeed, we have persons that have studied and specialized as sexologists and other reproductive health related professions. However, education on andrology is a matter of necessity to men, as it is what will affect their lives directly or indirectly. As such, men may not require comprehensive knowledge of the issue, but enough to enable them to avoid reproductive health complications.
According to Professor Ana Krajnc, education is only relevant once it solves the existent societal challenges. In this regard, Krajnc and Sponznanja (2011) acknowledge that the issue of fertility is becoming a veritable concern. With the advent of genetically modified foods together with other consumption factors, education on fertility, and especially that of men, becomes critical. In this case, the need to train men in reproductive health and fertility becomes important. However, the efficacy of any training or education on men could only be guaranteed if the right model is used in the process.
Adult education can only be successful where there is total conviction in the need for it. In the case of andrology, education becomes even more complex. Mira (2009) argues that efficiency in teaching and learning in andrology is only achieved where the minds of adult students have total confidence in the teacher. In this regard, efficiency would only be achieved through the application of psychologically-based approaches. Men’s egos, in many instances, do not allow them to accept their inability to biologically father a child. As a result, it takes a lot of effort for them to confide in a person about the status of their reproductive health. The best way of handling infertility in men is through facilitating workshops and training programs that will bring out a number of men who would be willing not only to listen, but also to learn through sharing.
Pawlak and Bergquist (2009) rate adult education on andrology as task-conscious or acquisition learning. In this regard, the efficiency of the learning program is not based on the acquisition of theory alone, but practicing whatever has been learnt. From this perspective, we are able to appreciate that andrology is confined to an activity. This comes to the mind of the adult learner both consciously and unconsciously. In this regard, Pawlak and Bergquist (2009) argue that there are four models of adult education: andragogic education, transformative education, appreciative education, and the pedagogy education.
Pedagogy education assumes that the learner has absolutely no information on whatever subject they are being taught. In this regard, the tutor or instructor is seen to be knowledgeable and the student having no information on the topic at hand. Andrology education holds that adult learning can only take place in an environment that provides for more flexible and engaging interaction. On the other hand, transformative education assumes that adult learning takes place to the extent of facilitating transformations and which may take a linear or curvilinear form. Appreciative education holds that the learner is at the same level with the teacher on the topic of discussion: the only difference is that the teacher has both practical and theoretical knowledge while the learner knows only the practical side.
There are a number of issues that come up in andrology. According to Mira (2009), andrology mainly deals with reproductive health issues in men. These issues include: the nature of the male body, erectile problems, low testosterone, male infertility and prostate problems. All these issues sum up the major issues that concern male reproductive health. From this perspective, it is necessary to note that all these issues affect men physically and emotionally (Mira, 2009). It comes physically in the sense that reproductive problems might result in pain. On the other hand, it may result in psychological problems.
Appreciative education can be a highly efficient model in carrying out education on andrology. Indeed, this model aids in instilling confidence in participants and arousing their zeal in learning more. In the case of appreciative education, men’s ego would be accommodated by them, accepting that they do have the practical bit although they may not have the theoretical bit. In essence, where men have some form of reproductive problem, e.g. erectile problem, they will receive instructions on what to do about it. To the instructor, the student knows that he indeed cannot sustain an erection and that what is required is an explanation of why he cannot do so (Krajnc & Sponznanja, 2011). It is from this perspective that advice on how to go about it can be given. This model will facilitate more openness from the adult student.
Pedagogy education is probably the most inefficient model that can be applied in adult education on andrology. Adults may not accept that they have no knowledge about a given topic. The same applies to andrology. For an adult, the teacher must acknowledge the probability that he is sexually active. In this regard, even if he may not have the theoretical bit, he has the experience that would enable him to define some issues in reproductive health (Krajnc & Sponznanja 2011). A teacher who assumes that the adult student has absolutely no information on his reproductive health may end up killing the chances of the student engaging in constructive discourse. It may even lead up to the student disregarding the instructor’s information.
Transformative education may also provide a suitable alternative for adult education on andrology. Indeed, the issue of andrology becomes relevant when dealing with a multitude of reproductive health issues. The intention of educating men, and in some cases women, on these issues is to engender positive change in order to have better reproductive health. Andrology would be useless if students are not able to comprehend and put whatever they have learnt into practice (Mira, 2009). If anything, much of adult education in andrology is not meant to prepare students to be professionals, but to help transform their reproductive health.
Indeed, adult education requires different approaches and models of learning as compared to the ordinary learning arrangement. Andrology, as a field in medicine, receives special attention due to the effects that it has on reproductive health. While men may be ready to listen to better ways of safeguarding their reproductive health, the path taken could either encourage or discourage their participation. Transformative education would provide the best opportunity for adults to be educated on andrology.
Krajnc, Brian and Sponznanja, Miller. Andrology and Its Education. Masuline Press, New York. 2012.
Mira, James. Why Andrology Needs More Discussion. Chicago Burn Book, Chicago. 2013.
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