Posted by Christy Williams on October 27th, 2016
Managing an adult education classroom can sometimes feel like more of a trick than a treat. However, it is possible to keep your classroom sweet all year long with a few tricks of your own.
The tricks will yield a consistent atmosphere for both you and your students, thus making the classroom environment more welcoming and supportive. Some of the tips are specifically related to you while others are focused on your students. Organization, motivation and self-care are among the tricks to make your classroom feel like a treat.
- Get & Stay Organized – From time to time things get cluttered and jumbled within your classroom. Take time frequently to declutter and organize your learning environment. Not only will you appreciate the neat space, it will be easier for both you and your students to navigate. Spend a little time at the end of each session tidying your desk area in preparation for the next gathering. The cleared area will create a feeling of closure at the end of a long day while simulating a fresh start for the next meeting.
- Keep Your Students Motivated – Keeping your students motivated throughout the year can be a challenge. Choose a few times during the year to focus specifically on motivation. You may choose times that you notice students most often seem less motivated or make motivational activities a regularly scheduled practice. Your motivational practices should be geared for maximum impact with your students. Try a variety of motivators and add the most successful ones to your tool kit for future use.
- Create Conversation – Your classroom should be an open, safe space for conversation. Encouraging dialogue among your students and yourself will create a sense of community. Set aside time for informal conversation to encourage students to interact with each other. The open dialogue will allow them to build more confidence with each other. The confidence built through casual conversation can aide in encouraging students to work better collaboratively as well as foster a sense of safety for students who may otherwise be leery of speaking during an actual lesson.
- Encourage Exploration – Adult learners bring a wealth of background knowledge and previous experience to the classroom. Allow them to use their knowledge towards collaboration, problem solving and the exploration of various concepts. As you move from more lecture driven instruction to incorporate a variety of other learning methods and hands-on learning opportunities, students will begin to take more ownership of their individual progress.
- Practice Self-Care – Undoubtedly there will be times during the year where burn-out appears on the horizon. It is important that you make self-care a regular practice so that the difficult moments do not feel like impossible monuments. Develop a routine that allows you to de-stress and relax. Your students will appreciate their interactions with you when you are your best self. Because your students are likely juggling multiple responsibilities, encourage them to develop a practice of self-care for themselves also. Your overall interactions will be much more pleasant.
Using tricks like the creation of conversation and encouragement of exploration, will allow you to produce an atmosphere conducive to learning success. Treats like student motivation and self-care are also important components to incorporate throughout the year. Minor efforts done regularly can lead to a more enjoyable learning experience for you and your students alike.