Understanding How Adult Students Learn
Jun 21, 2013 Adults 3682 Views
Many adults choose to start studying again later in life. Whether they want to up-skill, make a career jump or just fulfill a dream or passion that they haven't been able to yet, adult students find themselves in classrooms every year - some of them not sure what to expect.
One of the most important things teachers can understand are the differences between adult and younger students. Knowing how they learn and some of the reasons they might be back in the classroom is key to being an effective teacher.
Adult students have more responsibilities
Allowing as much flexibility as possible is crucial for adult learners who often have numerous responsibilities. Jobs, family and other obligations keep them from being completely dedicated to study and, while they might be just as invested in the subject as a full-time student, they may require some leniency when it comes to classes and assignments.
Adult students are more serious about learning
You'll often find adult students are more studious and committed to the course. They have far more specific goals and less time to spare - studying can be incredibly important to them. This means it's crucial that you make the most out of each lesson by giving them all of the information they need and being very direct with requirements and goals.
Adult students can be more self-conscious
Adult learners will often feel like they aren't keeping up with the rest of the class if they don't grasp a concept right away. You can ensure they feel comfortable in their learning environment by letting them know the standard they should be measuring themselves against. Some adult students can grow frustrated, in language courses especially, where they feel they might not be doing as well as they should be. Reassure them when they are making good progress - positive reinforcement is great for all ages.
Reach students through all sorts of technology
Allow access to online resources as much as possible. Adult students tend to benefit from being able to read course work at home and do extra in their own time when they are available. Make videos of lessons and distribute them, provide links to helpful websites and even consider opening a web forum where topics can be discussed outside of the classroom.
There might not be anything better for a teacher than adult who is committed to learning. Coming back to study after a break away from school can be difficult - the easier you can make it the more they will be able to achieve.