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:
- ESL Classroom Activities for Teens and Adults 2nd Edition by Shelley Ann Vernon
- ESL Games for the Classroom by Larry Pitts
- ESL Role Plays: 50 Engaging Role Plays for ESL and EFL Classes by Larry Pitts
For ABE/GED/TASC/HiSET Teachers:
- The Adult Learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development 8th Edition by Malcolm S. Knowles, Elwood F. Holton III, and Richard A. Swanson
- The Fun Teacher’s Tool kit: Hundreds of Ways to Create a Positive Classroom Environment & Make Learning Fun by Rob Plevin
- Connect With Your Students: How to Build Positive Teacher-Student Relationships by Rob Plevin
Now, go change your students for the best!