How to Avoid Being a Stranger in Your Own Adult-Ed Classroom

Once, while giving a seminar talk on learner-centered teaching, I stated that “Connecting with your adult-ed students takes time, but being a stranger to them and vice-versa is as easy as ABC.” 

A participant asked me, “What do you mean by being a stranger to the students?” Great question!

Let me clarify. Connecting with students does not mean sharing your personal stuff (or connecting with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat). What does it mean, then?

It means doing more than just looking at them. Rather, it’s about really seeing them: noticing what’s happening with them (their changes, challenges, reactions, and struggles).  

A few examples for the adult-ed classroom 

In other words, connecting with adult-ed learners is  all about

  • Knowing your students’ interests, passions, and goals
  • Having casual conversations with them about life in general and current events in particular
  • Getting to know your students’ stories, fears, and aspirations
  • Sharing some of your stories and other things in your life students can relate to
  • Knowing each student’s academic profile, what he or she is capable of, and what the student needs to work on
  • Knowing the best ways to support each student
  • Not hiding behind teaching or the textbooks to avoid real conversations and interactions

What I am saying is, we can’t distance or isolate ourselves from the people we seek to change and transform. Tourists need insulation, but adult-ed teachers don’t.


If you need more resources for creating more interactions in your adult-ed classroom, check the titles below out! 

For ESL Teachers:

For ABE/GED/TASC/HiSET Teachers:

Now, go change your students for the best!

PS: A few blog posts that you might have missed:

  1. Real world-oriented learning facilitation guidelines  for adult-ed classroom
  2. The best way to help pre-literate adult ESL students
  3. Three  Must-Have tools for teachers of absolute adult ESL beginners
The coach

Teddy Edouard is a Learning Consultant & an Instructional Coach with a passion for Teaching, Learning, and Cognitive Science. He is on a mission to help institutions, teachers, and training professionals maximize the effectiveness of their instructional and non-instructional interventions. Teddy translates adult learning theories and other research into ready-to-use classroom teaching tips and strategies for the benefits of adult learners and instructors.

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