Teaching is not a one-style-fits-all profession. Different learning populations have different wants, needs, and learning styles. As teachers, we have to determine which teaching materials are best suited for students’ needs and teaching adult learners poses its own set of challenges. These tips can help you reach adult learners at their level.
- Know Why. Teachers often work under the assumption that adult learners want to be there. That’s not always the case. Sometimes they have to be enrolled in your class for employment opportunities or to keep a certification current. Make sure you know why your lessons are important so students never feel they are wasting their time in your classroom.
- Understand Various Learning Styles. Modern teaching theories have come a long ways since the “sit-still-and-listen” teaching format most of today’s teachers were brought up with. We all have our own learning style:
You can use simple assessments at the beginning of the term to learn which modality is the best for each student. While most students like a combination of the three, understanding which modality works best for them can be a lifelong learning gift for students, and a valuable piece of information for you as their teacher.
- Encouragement. Remember that the adult learner has been out of the academic environment for some time. They may have ingrained beliefs about being “bad students” that can block their ability to learn. Maintaining a positive and encouraging atmosphere will keep them motivated and engaged.
Labyrinth Learning offers computer classroom textbooks for every type of adult learner.