Posted by Christy Williams on May 20th, 2016
As an adult educator you are responsible for creating a learning atmosphere that fosters success at many different levels for each student. Accomplishing this success comes through strategies such as differentiation, the use of graphic organizers, group work and use of music to make connections. These strategies, and many others, are effective with adults because they meet them where they are, highlight real world relevance and draw on prior knowledge and experiences.
Undoubtedly there will be students in your classroom at different levels. Differentiation is an effective teaching strategy because it allows you to reach students where they are.
For each lesson, prepare a beginner, intermediate and extended application opportunity. Use examples that reach each of these levels and extend their knowledge.
Differentiation can also be used with learning styles, not just levels. The differentiated approach ensures that all students are reached rather than teaching down the middle of the road where some students will be left behind or bored.
Differentiated instruction works well if more than one teacher is available in the classroom at a time. Teachers can work with individuals or groups for a more individualized approach.
Sometimes student success is driven through organization. Organization of workspace, learning material and study time is essential. Graphic organizers are a useful way to organize learning for students. They can visualize concepts and isolate important details for later use.
The most common graphic organizers include T-Charts, Venn Diagrams, story maps and information webs. Graphic organizers can be completed individually, in groups or class-wide. They can also be utilized across instructional disciplines.
Group work, or collaboration, is among the most sought after skills employers are looking for in potential hires. Incorporating opportunities for group work is also an effective teaching strategy. Students can work together to solve problems and deliver presentations. Through their conversations, various perspectives are exposed and critical thinking is strengthened. For adult learners, the dialogue is often enriched by their individual experiences.
Using Music to Make a Connection
Studies have shown that adult learners have a greater retention ability with content that they can connect with their own experiences or real life connections. Music can be used in your classroom to make connections between topics that you have recently discussed. Music can also be used to teach specific literary devices. Have students read or listen to lyrics and identify examples of the concept being displayed.
Your adult education classroom should be filled with engaging, effective opportunities for your students to learn. From winning hook through complete close, the learning experience should be set up for student success.
Strategies such as group work, use of music and differentiated instruction are among proven methods to reach your students. Drawing from their previous experiences and making connections to current skills with these various strategies are effective ways for ensuring that the information is retained.