Tips for Teaching Adult Students

Topics: Education, Rasmussen College, Classroom Pages: 3 (803 words) Published: July 30, 2013
Tips for Teaching Adult Students

With the number of non-traditional students growing, many educators have discovered that adult learners are fundamentally different than their younger counterparts in many ways. Yet, most instructors have been left to their own devices to figure out how best to reach these students who come to class with an entirely different set of challenges, demands and expectations, and generally at a much different level of maturity. How can instructors better accommodate and encourage adult student success in a classroom setting? Here are a number of ways to create a better environment for adult learners, no matter what the subject material. •Treat them like the adults they are. Adult learners are generally more sophisticated and experienced than their younger counterparts and they benefit from realistic examples of skills they can use in “real life.” “Adult learners will be empowered as they discover they have a great deal to teach their younger classmates, and the dynamic is mutually beneficial,” said Thomas Lisack, an instructor at Rasmussen College in Wausau, WI. Lisack recommends incorporating intergenerational discussions on issues that otherwise have a generational divide as appropriate for the subject matter to engage learners of all ages. •Be aware that their classroom skills may be “rusty.” Some adult learners have not been in a classroom for 30 years, so you may need to remind them of basic rules and etiquette, such as raising a hand if you have a question. At the same time, reassure them that, as the instructor, you will not be judgmental of their life experiences or their perspectives, and that they will be evaluated only on their mastery of the content. Be generous when it comes to formatting issues such as APA writing guidelines. Instead, focus on content. “I have found adult learners to be self-conscious, even apologetic, when it comes to being in the classroom,” Lisack noted. “They might even exhibit some shame...
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