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John F. Ohliger

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  • Category: Education

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Professor, administrator, sociologist, philosopher and political educator, John Funnell Ohliger; known as the “radical adult educator,” for his valuable contributions in establishing a fundamental change in the structuring of the society. The radical change he believed was only established through creating human rationality in the community and by fostering the source of freedom and independence to individual thinking. (Ohliger, 1979) His philosophy of adult education’s, first principle is based upon the fact that all humans are curious to learning since birth, and any acts of motivating them, kills their creativity level, who are almost equal in their intelligence level and thus, can resolve their own matters without external help.

He believed that radical change in the economic/political system was required to bring a fundamental change in the structuring of the society, brought through unilateral form of working living through free will and freedom. (Ohliger, 1969) Whereas education and learning are only brought through personal and social life experiences, only minimally helped through behavioral and conventional methods but work best when allowed to flow freely. He believed that the process of adult education was inductive, and is a dialogic form, and thus their education can only be brought through mutual assistance rather than forming a defined and labeled program to be followed.

No matter Ohliger agrees to the fact that, all his ideas and derivations, cannot be approved through any hypothetical way, which is neither through scientific approach nor through experimentation; but he negates this with the fact that they cannot be even disapproved, thus, it is better to implement them in life rather than out sourcing them completely.


Ohliger, J. F. (1979). Radical ideas in adult education. Radical Teacher.

Ohliger, John F. (1969). “Listening Groups: Mass Media in Adult Education.” An Exchange between John F. Ohliger and Leonard S. Stein on Ohliger’s Monograph. University of Michigan Press.


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