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The Five (5) Adult Learning Principles

1.Make sure adults understand why something is important to know or do

When we step into adulthood many of us chose to take classes to meet personal and/or careers goals. Adults students are special because they step foot into a classroom with the desire to learn. They are there to learn something new or become certified in a particular field. This principle is not about why adults are sitting in your class looking to feed off of your knowledge, but rather why each component of the class you’re teaching is an important part of the learning process.

When we step into adulthood many of us chose to take classes to meet personal and/or careers goals. Adults students are special because they step foot into a classroom with the desire to learn. They are there to learn something new or become certified in a particular field. This principle is not about why adults are sitting in your class looking to feed off of your knowledge, but rather why each component of the class you’re teaching is an important part of the learning process.

2. Adults have the freedom to learn in their own way

Many adults can remember having only one type of learning style growing up; this is mainly determined by their teachers’ preferred method of instruction. However, as an adult you may learn that you prefer a different learning style, or a combination of all three.

3. Learning is experiential Experiential learning experiences can take multiple forms. Activities that get your students involved enhance your students’ learning experience. Example of activities includes small group discussions, experiments, role playing, skits, building something at their table or desk, or writing/drawing something specific. Activities also keep people energized, especially activities that involve stepping away from their desks. Honoring the life experiences your students bring to the classroom is another component of experiential learning. It’s important to tap into that wealth of wisdom of your classroom whenever it’s appropriate.

Experiential learning experiences can take multiple forms. Activities that get your students involved enhance your students’ learning experience. Example of activities includes small group discussions, experiments, role playing, skits, building something at their table or desk, or writing/drawing something specific. Activities also keep people energized, especially activities that involve stepping away from their desks. Honoring the life experiences your students bring to the classroom is another component of experiential learning. It’s important to tap into that wealth of wisdom of your classroom whenever it’s appropriate.

4.The time is right for them to learn No matter how hard a teacher tries, if a student isn’t ready to learn, they won’t. Luckily, adult students chose to be in your classroom, which means they have already determined that the time is right. As an instructor, listen carefully for teaching moments and take advantage of them. When a student says or does something that triggers a topic on your agenda, be flexible and teach it right then.

No matter how hard a teacher tries, if a student isn’t ready to learn, they won’t. Luckily, adult students chose to be in your classroom, which means they have already determined that the time is right. As an instructor, listen carefully for teaching moments and take advantage of them. When a student says or does something that triggers a topic on your agenda, be flexible and teach it right then.

5.The process is positive and encouraging For most adults, stepping back into the classroom can be intimidating, which is understandable if they haven’t taken a class in years. Students may be apprehensive about what the class will be like and how well they’ll do. As an instructor of adult students, it’s important to exude positivity, encouragement, and patience. Give your students time to respond when you ask a question. They may need a few moments to consider their answer. Recognize the contributions they make, even when small. Give your students words of encouragement whenever the opportunity arises. Most adults will rise to your expectations if you’re clear about them.

For most adults, stepping back into the classroom can be intimidating, which is understandable if they haven’t taken a class in years. Students may be apprehensive about what the class will be like and how well they’ll do. As an instructor of adult students, it’s important to exude positivity, encouragement, and patience. Give your students time to respond when you ask a question. They may need a few moments to consider their answer. Recognize the contributions they make, even when small. Give your students words of encouragement whenever the opportunity arises. Most adults will rise to your expectations if you’re clear about them.

Tags : Communication Arts
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