“I want to talk too!”—What do adult learners expect?
Adults Love to Learn Too!
–Written by Devan Ogburn
Teaching adults is a little different from teaching children, but they all want to learn! There are a few expectations that adults have when in a classroom. Here’s what you should remember:
Maintain a Structure
Adults aren’t like children, so they may not need the same type of games or activities to learn the content you are presenting. However, having a general order or structure to your lesson can keep you and them on track. Starting with a warm-up, then new information, including practice and a check for understanding, then finishing with an open activity is simple yet advanced enough for adult learners to follow. Sometimes games can make them feel childish, but an interactive activity to facilitate practice when speaking is still encouraged and enjoyed by adult learners.
Know your Lesson
Adult learners expect to be taught by an expert or has strong content knowledge, so make sure you know your lesson. Look at your content ahead of time and think of questions your adult students may have. Consider the level taught and what experiences an adult may have that you can incorporate into discussion. Asking about favorite school topics wouldn’t work in this group, so asking about their hobbies or activities outside of work may be a better option. If you know ahead of time what subject you will be discussing, you can plan out how to best guide and time your session with your students.
Keep it Light!
Show a lighter side. It’s good to create a welcoming space for your students to be vulnerable learn. Feel free to keep things light and fun. Leave room for your students to make mistakes and feel comfortable to grow. Having a laugh can ease the tension of learning with another or several other adults.
Those are some major points to keep in mind, but let’s hear from some adults themselves about what they expect in their sessions.
“I’m comfortable talking and have strong speaking skills, but I also like to be told if I’m doing well. Just because I am not struggling with reading doesn’t mean I don’t need feedback. I appreciate being challenged even if it’s just through discussion.”
“I want to talk too! Please make sure we all get a chance to speak or practice. There may be several of us, but there should be enough time for everyone to get their turn.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve been in a classroom, so a quick reminder of how things work is ok. Whether it’s respecting my fellow classmates when they speak, or staying focused during the lesson. I’m here to learn just like your younger students.”
“Connecting lessons to my everyday life is really helpful, so ask me questions that would help me use the language every day.”
“I am an adult but my proficiency is at a beginner, so speaking slowly is essential. I may need content explained more than once since I’ve been speaking my first language for so long and this is new. Just be patient and I’ll understand.”
What are some of your teaching experiences and opinions? Share them with us in the comments below!
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