Every Student Cares: How to Bring Out the Best in Your Adult Learners

Posted by on August 6th, 2018

When teaching, it’s easy to identify the students who are eager to succeed: Those who participate freely, ask questions often, and take on the challenges of regular assignments. The students who may be more difficult to identify are the ones who seem withdrawn, are frustrated by the work, and don’t come forward to ask questions. However, it’s crucial to remember these students care just as much as the others, they just need the teacher to reach them.

There are many reasons why students become frustrated. Adult learners enter the classroom with the baggage of their past. Many times the past was defined by failure. But, they’re here now and that decision to overcome the past must be validated.  

The teacher must identify the reasons these students seem reluctant and help them overcome insecurities related to learning and growing.

Here are some reasons learners may seem like they don’t care:

  • They haven’t put in enough effort to succeed.
  • They don’t have the time with the rest of their responsibilities.
  • They become frustrated when they struggle, reminding them of past obstacles to their education.  
  • They feel inadequate when other students earn higher grades.
  • They feel they aren’t smart enough to succeed.  

These are all valid anxieties for any learner. It’s up to the teacher to help identify what may be challenging the student to help them feel better about their abilities. Take time to validate students on successes, and help them see that getting a wrong answer or not understanding a concept is only a valuable part of the learning process.

All students care. Fears and frustrations often make it seem like they don’t.  Identify students’ obstacles and help them see it’s all part of the educational process. Help them realize they don’t have anything to fear when it comes to their education. There’s only opportunity to improve.

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