Adult Learners and Their Needs

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Do’s and Don’ts in Making Classes More Adult-Friendly


Here’s a simple (and yet difficult) truth: with adult learners, teachers face a unique set of challenges. Unlike with younger students, discipline and motivation are generally not a problem. For adult classes one of the major concerns is attendance.

You see, most adults will often have a lot of commitments; family and work demand the majority of their time and English classes are not always a priority. While you cannot demand that all your students attend class all the time, there are some things you can do to help maintain the flow of the course Or some will probably be more committed to their Amsterdam holiday, or to online shops like Lazada and Zalora, instead of your classes. So, the question is, how can you make classes more interesting for adults, interesting enough to make them invest in the classes?


How do you teach adults?


#1: Do remember to be punctual. Once you have met several times, you will have some idea of who might miss classes more often than others. Regardless of the size of your class, it is important to start on time so that other students do not feel like they are wasting their time. By starting on time you will also show latecomers that the class does not revolve around them.

#2: Don’t incentivize participation by turning it into something graded. Adult learners are less interested in their grade thus making participation a large percent of it will not encourage students to attend. For younger students grades are important because they affect things such as college applications and job opportunities but giving an adult student a low grade will not affect much besides his confidence and willingness to participate in activities.

#3: Don’t lecture. Telling students over and over again the importance of attending class is also not going to make a huge difference in attendance. Obviously students know they should attend lessons but repeatedly telling them that is unlikely to improve the situation and will only waste even more class time.

#4: Do extend effort to help them out. You should help students catch up after missing a class so that you will not have to review all the material you covered in the previous lesson. You can create study material by organizing notes for each lesson.