{September 5, 2008}   Adult Learners

I believe adult language learners are like little babies who have to be looked after, fed and helped to learn.
Trying to engage them on their learning process, making them realize teachers are just helpers, is a very controversial issue.

But what can you do to keep them motivated in your classes?

I usually work with small groups of adult students so I try to adapt classes to their special needs. For example, one of my students works in a restaurant, so the units covering food will be exploited to the utmost with lots of extra activities that will provide her with the tools to use English at work.

Breaking routines is also helpful when you know your students come to class after a long day at work. If you generally start your classes with vocabulary work or grammar, perhaps you can introduce your class with a speaking game, with a song or a video, so they are not always “ready with their books.” The problem I have here is that some of my students can work with their English just during the class, so I have to use every single minute to provide them with 4 skills practice, grammar, vocabulary work and so on and so forth. However, the help I get from their participation in the activities I prepare is great and they have improved a lot. In 2 months time (3 hours a week course) they’ve lost their fear to talk and they can maintain a short conversation about their daily life with almost no problems

Do you have any special technique to work with adults?  Do you use technology with them? What other tools do you use with them?


Stephen says:

Adult learners are definitely a challenge. With intermediate and up classes, I use with today’s news.
I can copy a local news story that is important to my students, paste it into LessonWriter, and in just a few minutes have a comprehensive lesson and lesson plan. You can customize the lesson for students at different levels (about 5 more seconds) so it is good for mixed level groups, too.

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