Monday, 17 September 2012

Teaching adult- quite an experience!!

Teaching adults or schoolchildren -  how does it differ?

The thought of standing and 'preaching' in front of adults learners, sometimes sent chills through some people's spine, especially for first-timers. But in reality, there is nothing to worry. As time goes by, adults who are pursuing their studies can actually make a good companion in class. Provided you know how to make use of their abundance classroom-related experience. And that, you just know how to tackle them!! How?? That's a good question. It's not easy - but- feasible.

I believe, teaching adult or schoolchildren, both claim a human touch from us, educators.

Ok let's start with one example.

Sometimes, we are faced with adult learners who act like schoolchildren hence test our patience.
We feel like preaching (like I used to do to my schoolchildren).
However, unlike 'preaching' schoolchildren, doing so for adult learners might be risky. Do you agree?

Here are some points to ponder:

1. When your students are about your age- we just couldn't preach them if they didn't hand in their assignments on time. We should use some 'psychological touch', or in other words - being diplomatic, that's it!

The reason? Well, most of them are parents, and in my case, they are teachers - who came to further studies and get their degree ... people say they are well-motivated (really?) so no need to nag.

Use well-guarded words to soothe their feelings - and make them feel that you are trying to help them and their future  (which is true!who didn't want a degree??). So, with a soft and motherly/sisterly voice, persuade them to hand in their assignments.

While writing this out, I just couldn't help reminiscing my old days as a uni student. I vividly remember, lecturers, without 'hatiperut', just nag and nag and nag for the whole hour-just to ensure you submit yr work on time. Otherwise, 'telor ayam' is ours!

So, try to compare this situation to a younger university students which we feel 'more authorise' to nag, in contrast to adult learners.

2. When  your adult students did not perform in their test/ exam,  could we scold them like we did to schoolchildren? No-no. We could also not fail them (can't we??arrghh)

We only can 'marah-marah sayang'-advise them nicely. Ask their problems - kids, spouse, financial, time..endless list for an adult learner....

Remember, orang tua belajar, banyak pantang larang.

3. When your students start yawning in class, that is a signal - they need a rest. Take a break. Andragogy - that's it!

According to research (need to fond the source, later!), adult cannot focus more than  15 minutes in class. (but so do schoolchildren in other studies) so what should teachers do?

Break in between teaching session? Do different activities? (yeah..every scholar says that. Does it work..yes..only that we are not creative enough to plan creatively, not much time, which is sad..).
From lecture (15 mins) then move on to discussion (an active one, of course) ask them to talk- you can just bring in any topic if the subject matter doesn't work. Like for example, 'this weekend nak pegi mana?' For sure they will respond..and you could hear  a lot of problems being poured out to you---a place to share. Example: Tak leh ke mana-mana weekend ni sbb nak siapkan assignment (can't go anywhere this weekend - need to finish up assignment). In the midst of this, you find yourself become a counselor, uncertified one!

But be careful, they can manipulate the situation  as well (sorry student, just from my experience). When you became so empathy, you didnt realise giving them extended deadline! Which in turn jeopardise the schedule- both yours and the students'.

 So- set the limit.

4. Plan an intersting teaching and learning activity.

They say it's a lecture. Means a one way comm. but I don't always agree. Do you have a heart to go on talking and talking while people are yawning before your eyes? Not, not me!

I will do anything to make they wake up.
I have quite a number of occassions when my students wrote in their reflection that they just couldn't fall asleep during my lecture- just because I kept on asking them questions (At least, they followed my lesson).

Most of the time, when the class is small, I like to use cooperative learning- will share these later in different posts.

It's late now. Need to rest for a fresh day start tomorrow.

Come on teachers. We are educators.

A happy teacher starts with a happy thinking!

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