The coach

Author Archives: 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.

Why Some Adult-ed Professionals Should NOT Read this New Student Retention Book

You read this new student retention book at your own risk. Why, you may ask?

This new student book is like a mirror. Reading it might make you examine and think critically about the work you do and the way you do it. In other words, this book might cause you to see whether you are hiding or leading in adult education

Are you ready to face the truth? 

What this new student retention book does to folks who read it

If you decide to read this new student retention book, here’s what will happen to you. It will make you: 

1- Examine the stories you tell yourself about why learners are not staying in class

2- Think deeper about your calling in adult education — or why you are in the field

3- Examine if you are keeping your promises to the population you seek to serve

3- See if you are preparing learners for real world or meeting their real learning needs

4- Face the true reality of student retention and therefore see the issue through different eyes  

5- Examine your role in keeping learners coming back (to class ) for more

7- See whether you are reinforcing the status quo (compliance testing) or teaching for real change (salable skills and competencies that learners really need)

8- Reevaluate whatever excuses that prevent you from being the leader that your learners trust and want to follow to end of the earth

9- See If you are teaching average classes or average lessons for average learners

10- Understand your best work is for the learners you signed up to serve and lead 

11-Question and examine the quality of your interventions as an adult-ed professional

12- See why your learners desperately need your best work and count on you to get them closer to their dreams  

Like Brad Henry put it, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.”  In other words, good adult-ed teachers lead. 

Now, let me ask you this, "Are you leading?" Or "do you want to lead your learners to real change?"  If you do, feel free to get a copy of the new student retention book; otherwise, this book is not for you. 

One Good Thing That Hurts Student Retention in Adult Education

You can always improve learner retention in adult education. But you can't do it without the right strategies― or systems. 

Let me guess. You are reading this because you are curious to know what good thing I am referring to. Right?  There you have it: Goal setting!

Having attendance and learning goals might set specific attendance hours and achievement targets for your learners...but there's one major problem. What is it?

Goals alone won't lead to better attendance and learning. In fact, learners feel ashamed  and embarrassed when they can't meet the set goals. The outcome? They stop coming to class when the feeling of failure is too much for them to bear.  

Now, you may wonder, " What I can do in this situation?" This is a smart question! Let me share a quick insight with you. 

Use goals plus systems to improve learner retention in adult education 

To be successful your learners should learn to set goals and create systems that will help them reach the goals. Why? 

Reaching a goal is a one time event. Using a system is building habits that last. In other words, your students will be better off if they learn to build effective and efficient systems that help them attend classes and study regularly, manage their time, practice skills, fail well, learn fast and get things done quickly. 

See, a player’s success is almost always guaranteed under Coach Bill Belichick, head coach of The New England Patriots. He is known for his ability to transform average NFL players into Super Bowl champs. How? Season after season, he uses a system that almost always works.  

The question is: do you have a system that equips and empowers learners to build their own systems? Well, this is one of the best ways to improve learner retention in adult education. 

What else do you do to improve learner retention in adult education? Share in the comment below. 

Please do me a favor. Share these ideas with adult-ed professionals in your network. And go change your learners for the better!

PS: Have you heard about my student retention book? Don’t be left out. Feel free to check it out on Amazon.

15 Tools that Make the Adult-ed Math Class More Interesting and Engaging

You want to help your adult students to learner math. You want them to participate and try.... but it’s not happening. Rather, learners are reluctant to take risks. As a result, they dread your adult-ed math class. So, what I can do, you may ask?

See, your adult-ed math class does not have to be boring if you know what to do. Really? I am not kidding...

To quote Shakuntala Devi, “Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.”

Making your adult-ed math class interesting and engaging is the way to go. How? Let me explain.

The secret is to make the activities of your adult-ed math class practical, tangible and concrete. That way, the content and skills will be more attractive and accessible to your learners. But how do I do that?

I am glad you asked.  Start by using manipulatives that will make the math content come alive!  Before you ask what type of manipulatives, below is a list I’ve put together for you( and for your learners, of course)....You are welcome!

Tools to make an adult-ed math class engaging

1- Number lines to develop number sense

2- A double Sided X-Y Axis dry erase grid to practice with numbers

3- Wind-up tape measure 10 Meters/33 feet to practice using unit of measurements

4- Durable transparent 12 inch rulers shatterproof plastic to practice using unit of measurements

5- Graph Paper Notebook: 1 cm squares to practice calculating distance, perimeters and areas

6- Wiz dice random polyhedral dice in multiple colors to practice with numbers

7- Math addition, substraction, multiplication and division flashcards to practice and review the 4 operations

8- Activity cards for teaching place value

9- Flashcards for teaching currency and using numbers in context

10- A set of fake money to practice operations and the use of decimals in context

11- A bingo game to practice using Integers

12- Dry erase board to practice using basic place value and writing numbers:

13- A flip stand to practice using place value

14- Magnetic number lines to work on decimals and fractions

15- A poster with math keywords or a math word bank

Please do me a favor. Share these tools with adult-ed math teachers in your network. And go change your learners for the better!

PS: Have you heard about my student retention book? Don’t be left out. Feel free to check it out on Amazon.

5 Game-Changing Ideas Innovative Adult-ed programs Promote to Make Sure Their Learners Succeed

The true mission of adult education is to take learners closer to their dreams and  innovative adult-ed programs know how to get the job done. Really?

Yes, they do. How do they do that, you may ask?  

See, innovative adult-ed programs’ administrators know learners must develop soft and salable skills if they want to compete in the marketplace. Therefore, these programs offer students the learning opportunity to do just do.

What I am saying is leaders that run innovative adult-ed programs focus essentially on taking learners beyond compliance testing. They lead students to  true learning focusing the following game-changing ideas.

Let’s go over them one by one.

1- Self-control and emotional intelligence (EQ)

Why? EQ is one of the most important skills in the job market. People who can control their emotions almost always stand out from the crowd and are able to maintain a sharp focus―that leads to success.  

To quote Travis Bradberry: “EQ is so critical to success that it accounts for 58 percent of performance in all types of jobs. It’s the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.”

Recommended Resource: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

2- Systems work better that goals. 

Why? Reaching a goal is a one time event. Using a system is building habits that last. Therefore, students will be better off if they learn to build effective and efficient systems that help them attend classes and study regularly, fail well, learn fast and get things done quickly.  

“Losers have goals. Winners have systems.” ― Scott Adams

Recommended Resource: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams

3- Ego Is the Enemy. 

Why? This point is somehow related to the first one. Ego will hold learners back, preventing them from working well with and learning from other people, unless they know how put it under control. To be specific, with humility learners will remain grounded and therefore accomplish more.

“Ego is the enemy of what you want and of what you have: Of mastering a craft. Of real creative insight. Of working well with others. Of building loyalty and support. Of longevity. Of repeating and retaining your success. It repulses advantages and opportunities. It’s a magnet for enemies and errors. ” ― Ryan Holiday

Recommended Resource:  Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

4- Make obstacles the way. 

Why? Point # 4 is related to point 2. Adult students should learn how to build systems that enable them to face life challenges instead of running away or giving up on their dreams. In other words, they must develop mental toughness, resilience― and grit.

Like Marcus Aurelius put it: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Recommended Resource :The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday  

5- The difference between growth and fixed mindset

Why? Students who have a growth mindset know they can change their situation with hard work and persistence. Therefore, they are more likely to push through barriers― and use obstacles to fuel their desire to succeed.

“Many growth-minded people didn’t even plan to go to the top. They got there as a result of doing what they love. It’s ironic: The top is where the fixed-mindset people hunger to be, but it’s where many growth-minded people arrive as a by-product of their enthusiasm for what they do.”― Carol S. Dweck

Recommended Resource: Mindset:The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck  

Please do me a favor. Share these ideas with adult-ed professionals in your network. And go change your learners for the better!

PS: Have you heard about ​my student retention book? Don’t be left out. Feel free to check it out on Amazon.

18 Must-Have Graphic Organizers for TASC, GED, and HiSET Teachers

Responsible TASC, GED, and HiSET teachers care about their students’ learning. How about you? 

Maybe you are tired of promoting surface knowledge. Tired of facilitating rote knowledge. Tired of  hiding behind multiple-choice questions. In other words, you feel the desire to lead— taking students to deep learning.

Now you are thinking, “ Where should I start?” 

Well, you should focus on the use of cognitive tasks. Cognitive tasks are open-ended and force learners to think deeper about content. And one of the ways to get this done is to use graphic organizers to encourage learners to explore content and show their understanding.

This leads us to 18 graphic organizers that you should have in your teaching repertoire.

Graphics organizers for TASC, GED, and HiSET teachers

​​​​All the organizers are available in this document.  Below are 18 types of graphic organizers and the page number where they can be found.

  1. Big Question Map—  page 15
  2. Characteristics Map— page  19
  3. Circle Organizer— page  23
  4. Compare Map— page  27
  5. Discussion Map— page 39
  6. Divergent and Convergent Thinking Web— page 43
  7. Hierarchy Diagram — page 47
  8. K-W-H-L Chart — page 51
  9. Main Concepts Map— page 55
  10. Math Factors Organizer— page 59
  11. Multiple Meaning Map— page  63
  12. Multiple Timeline— page  67
  13. One and All Organizer— page 71
  14. Persuasion Map— page 79
  15. Pie Chart— page 83
  16. Problem-Solving Organizer— page 87
  17. V Map—  page 91
  18. Venn Diagram— page  95

Please do me a favor. Share these graphics organizers with your fellow TASC, GED, and HiSET teachers. Now, go change your learners for the better!

PS: Have you heard about ​my student retention book? Don’t be left out. Feel free to check it out on Amazon.

Two Shocking Insights on Student Retention in Adult Education

Maintaining above average student retention in adult education is hard. So, what's your best strategy?

Keep in mind learners are in search of “better.” Better skills, better connections, and better community. And they also have problems they want solved, so they need to learn skills they will use outside the classroom.  Does your best strategy address these needs?

What I am saying is, student retention in adult education is a serious business. We can't help students that don't want to stay in class. So, how do we get them to stay?

That leads us to two important ideas you need to focus on when working on your student retention strategies.

Let me tell you a story...

You can read more about strategies for better student retention in adult education in my book. It's on Amazon (Paperback: https://amzn.to/2VgKQra and Kindle version: https://amzn.to/2XiNP4l).

Could you share this post with other adult-ed teachers in your network. Thanks in advance for the favor. 

Why Having a Student Retention Plan is Necessary in Adult Education

Do you have a student retention plan? 

If you don't, let's go over 6 points why you need a good one.  

Ok, It's 5:06am for me here and I just ran out of coffee. Why don't we cut to the chase? 

Point # 1 I believe we adult educators have an obligation to inspire our learners to stick around so we can lead them to having better skills and knowledge, and help them solve their learning challenges.

 Point # 2—Learners don’t want classes. Rather, they are in search of “better.” Better skills, better connections, and better community

Point # 3— Adult students have problems they want solved, so they need to learn skills they will use outside the classroom. So we better get to the point fast and make a promise to help them get better day by day.

More Reasons to have a student retention plan

Point # 4— A good retention rate is a win-win situation. It keeps our programs in business.

Point # 5Learners expect us to lead them— closer to their dreams. We can’t keep this promise unless we motivate them to stick around. 

Point # 6— Adult learners don’t want what adult-ed teachers want. They don’t like what we like, either. What they want is what they want— getting better day by day. 

On a side note Like Ryan Holiday puts it, “Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing and wherever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well.”

You can read more about student retention in my book. It's on Amazon.  

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2VgKQra and Kindle version: https://amzn.to/2XiNP4l

Could you share this post with other adult-ed teachers in your network. Thanks in advance for the favor. 

Six Key Discussion Ideas from my Student Retention Book

My student retention book— How to Achieve Better Student Retention in Adult Education—  will be ready by March 10. Below are 6 discussion ideas that the student retention book addresses in details. Let's dive in.  

IDEA # 1- How do you stop the trend of losing learners once it starts? Unfortunately, there is no magic answer to that question. But the answer may lie in the view we hold of our job and the kind of  system we establish to get our adult learners eager for more.

IDEA # 2- If the bad news is that some learners don’t care, the good news is that there are lots of ways to make them care— to motivate and inspire them.

IDEA # 3- As adult ed teachers, we work hard. But our work will have little to no impact if we are unable to get learners to come back for more. In other words, we  won’t see the fruits of our labor unless we get learners to stay until they are changed for the better.

There's more in the student retention book...

IDEA # 4- According Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, adult-ed classes are not a basic need. This is my nice way of saying your adult classes are NOT indispensable. But they can become very important if you know what to do.

IDEA # 5- Adult-ed program leaders respect and cherish educators who can keep their learner retention high. These educators are assets no program director wants to lose.

IDEA # 6- What does all this mean? It means maintaining above-average student retention brings satisfaction to you, your learners, and your program. Everyone wins. But how can you actually make this happen?

That is exactly what my student retention book is all about. The book is ready on amazon:

Paperback: https://amzn.to/2VgKQra  and Kindle version: https://amzn.to/2XiNP4l

Could you share this post with other adult-ed teachers in your network. Thanks in advance for the favor. 

Top #1 Teaching Model for Adult-Ed Programs and Teachers (moving from good to great!)

Adult-ed programs and teachers are in the business of equipping learners for the real world.

What adult learners really need to succeed in the job market, based on the economic trends, is a degree coupled with proven 21st-century skills that are not measured by any tests. What does your adult-ed program do to promote 21st-century skills?

Let me rephrase the question: Does your adult-ed program have a system that guarantees the development of 21st-century skills? If it does, bravo! But if it doesn’t, it’s not too late to take actions.

See, with Coach Bill Belichick (The New England Patriots Head Coach), players’ success is almost always guaranteed. He is known for his ability to transform average NFL players into Super Bowl Champs. In order words, he has a system that almost always works season after season.  

That being said, you also need an effective system. And the most important element of your system should be a solid and effective teaching model or framework. Really? Yes, indeed. And to save you time and emotional labor, I have a recommendation for you.  

The 5E Instructional Model!

As a learning consultant, The 5E Instructional Model is my # 1 recommendation to adult-ed programs and teachers that want to move from good to great!

A quick summary for adult-ed programs and teachers

Developed by the  Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS), the model has 5 stages: Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend (or Elaborate), and Evaluate. And it’s an excellent tool for adult-ed programs and teachers that want to take advantage of the constructivist principles to maximize teaching and learning—for the benefits of the adult students they seek to serve.  

In a nutshell, let’s go over what happens at each stage.

ENGAGE: Teachers assess learners' background knowledge and pique their curiosity.

EXPLORE: Learners discuss and construct their understanding of the topic at hand.

EXPLAIN: Learners use key terminology to share what they understand so far and clarify their thoughts and learning.

EXTEND: Learners explore the implications of their new knowledge and make connections with the real world.

EVALUATE: Both teachers and learners examine the depth of their understanding of the topic at hand.

Now, go change your students for the best!

PS: You might want to take a look at this real world-oriented learning facilitation guidelines for the adult-ed classroom.  

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
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