Cyril Houle’sThe Inquiring Mind, 1961• Examined 22 cases of men and women who engaged incontinuing learning• Wanted to find out• Why?• How they perceived themselves?• How they were perceived by others?
Commonalities• Perceived by others as “deeply engaged inlearning”• Perceived learning as important• All had goals to achieve• All found learning enjoyable / significant• All believed learning worthwhile for its own sake
Differences• Varied in major purpose or values of continuing educationGoalOrientedActivityOrientedLearningOriented
GoalOrientedEducation was a means ofaccomplishing clear-cut objectives Learning in episodes Always purpose-driven Not restricted to one institution orone method Expressed desire to “keep mindsactive” Reading focused on well-definedinterests
Found meaning in learning activityunrelated to content or statedpurpose• Course-takers in search of socialcontact Socially acceptable place for meetingothers/making friends Most not big readers Some escaping from personalproblems or unhappy relationshipsActivityOriented
Seek knowledge for its own sake asa constant activity• Preoccupied with lifelong learning -“driven” An “itch” to learn Avid readers since childhood Each educational experience has agoal, but the total pattern is one ofcontinuous participationLearningOriented
Others’ Perceptions• Effect of marriage /close relationships• 2/3 believed efforts were disparaged• Parents never a neutral influence• Effect of public libraries, teachers• Effects learners have on friends