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Characteristics Of Adult Learners Education Essay

The paper Teaching Adults is focused on the problem of adult learners. You will find talked about characteristics of adult learners, especially just how do adult learners change from young learners. Another area of the paper is devoted to drive of adult learners; you can find there the definition of drive, specific inspiration factors and observable indicators of motivation. Moreover, the paper introduces the role of the educator along the way of adult students teaching. There are reviewed the teaching strategies well suited for adult students, e. g. lectures and presentations, role - play, simulation and video games, job work etc. The primary aim of the paper is to clarify the dissimilarities in teaching individuals and children or adolescents.


Adult students in the process of ELT build the special group of people socially accepted as mature and who are in a learning process. Coaching men and women differs from instructing children in theoretical and sensible parts. The field of mature education was pioneered by Malcom Knowles who's one of the founders of andragogy. Andragogy is focused on adults while pedagogy can be involved on children. Unlike children and young people individuals have a great deal of life experience, which is shown in the class room. Probably the solitary most important concern for the educator of men and women is understanding of the diversity of adult learning key points. Men and women are self-directed and be prepared to take responsibility for decisions. We have to bear in mind that the instructions while coaching adults should get worried on the procedure of what is needed to be learnt. It's important to make use of strategies such as role learning, simulations, project work and discussions quite often because they are most useful for adult students who are functional, problem -centred and goal- focused. Teacher adopts a job of advisor rather than lecturer and helps shape the educational unit based on the current situation.

Furthermore, another aspect of adult education is motivation because only once students are motivated they can learn. The simplest way is to improve students reason behind learning. Instructors must plan their motivating strategy.

Finally, we don't need to forget another integral part of people learning which proper reviews is. We have to know when and have to give feedback because good responses is one of the essential rewards of learning.

Teaching British to adults is different from educating children and teens and involves a considerable amount of planning and skill to make it understandable and adaptable to all learners.

1. Characteristics of Adult Learners

Adults are people who have the status of maturity in their own and other peoples eyes, but in the teaching process they come in the subordinate position of the learners. It could be very difficult at the beginning, and it is determined by individuals how to deal with this situation. A lot of adults may become anxious from coming to school and fear so much their failure and may assume that they cannot learn.

According to Jenny Rogers, "The issue is the fact as people we curently have certain well-developed ideas about life along with this own system of ideas and beliefs. To admit that people need to learn something new is to say that there surely is something wrong with our present system. "

On the other hands, they have got an expectation about the training process and they're able to acknowledge responsibility for the training. They are really self - directed; they are not dependent on other folks for direction. Men and women as learners are goal-oriented and results-oriented. They know what they want to achieve, and they also have specific results in mind for education. They need to see a reason to learn something. Learning must be valuable to them; it ought to be related to their needs and finally fit to their work. In other words, men and women seek education which is suitable because of their current lives. These are sensible and are focused on the areas of the lessons; this means they want to understand how the lessons will be beneficial to them face to face. We must remember that parents have a whole lot of experience and a wealth of knowledge, and they be prepared to be treated accordingly. They might need learning that makes sense and it is connected to their knowledge and experience. They can be also critical of instructing methods.

Furthermore, we can get that adults are more disciplined that some children and teenagers and are able to sustain an even of motivation. People have more developed abstract thought than children; it means we must choose appropriate activities adapted to use their intellects to learn consciously.

To sum it up, there are a lot of specific features of adult learners which we have to remember in the process of teaching. In comparison to children and teens, parents have special needs and requirements as learners. Of course, these are generalizations, and there can seem some exceptions in each group of learners.

2. Learners Differences

Each student is different in intellectual capabilities, learning and pondering. These differences are related to different thinking styles and learning varieties of students. We are able to identify reflective thinkers, creative thinkers, sensible thinkers and conceptual thinkers. Reflective thinkers understand new information subjectively, relate it to previous experience and study their feelings about learning. On the other hand, creative thinkers take a look at the new information, very often ask "why?" and create their own alternatives. Practical thinkers need factual information and try to find the easiest and also productive way to do something. Quite simply, they want to apply their new skills with their job. The very last group involves conceptual thinkers who are thinking about how things work, not just in the ultimate final result. They like viewing pictures and wish to know the related ideas.

Equally important are learning styles. Students usually have a tendency to one learning style because they associate it with learning success. You will discover three general learning styles: aesthetic, auditory, and kinaesthetic. Aesthetic learners process new information when they can see it. They like images, illustrations, diagrams, pictures and presentations. Their motto is "Show me". Auditory learners rely on tones and voices; they bear in mind new information when it's spoken. They love lectures and discussions. Their motto is "Tell me". Kinaesthetic learners should do something to comprehend it. They want to touch the new information or change it. They favor written assignments, taking records and examination of things. Their motto is "I want to undertake it. "

3. Desire for Adult Learning

Motivation is everything what helps to awaken and keep someones interest to do something. Students come to education for most reasons. All reasons are satisfactory because any motivation is preferable to nothing. If learners aren't motivated, they are not able to learn. Most adult students are at the class room because they would like to be. A couple of called "want to" learners. A few of them is there because they want it for their job. They may be "have to" learners. We can distinguish intrinsic and extrinsic desire. Intrinsic desire is our internal need to do something. Extrinsic drive represents all the external factors in a roundabout way connected to the problem being learnt.

There are a lot of drive factors. A few of the most frequent are:

Promotion- will depend on passing an exam or performing a course.

Personal progression - people need to get higher status at the job.

Social interactions - people want to make new friends.

Escape/Excitement - people want to avoid boredom; learning can interrupt the daily routine at home or work.

External anticipations - people make an effort to fulfil the targets of someone with formal specialist.

More money - after moving a course or successful graduation you will probably enjoy better paychecks.

Social welfare - effort to improve potential to be beneficial to mankind and take part in community work.

Cognitive interest - folks who are enthusiastic about learning, they would like to receive new information and seek knowledge because of its own sake.

According to Raymond Wlodkowski, we can differentiate four concepts that motivate people to learn:

Inclusion means that learners respect one another; they haven't any fear of risk or humiliation. It is related to positive interpersonal climate.

Attitude is a blend of principles, information, and feelings. Attitude causes a powerful effect on individuals behavior and learning. (E. g. Negative learning experience make a difference peoples attitude, involvement and expectations. )

Meaning - making, understanding, and changing meaning is a simple aspect of adult education. Deep meaning causes that the knowledge or idea is connected to a important goal. Indicating sustains participation.

Competence is an work to effective connection with the globe. Adults have a strong innate disposition to be proficient. They would like to apply everything what they have discovered to the true.

"Competence allows students to feel comfortable when they know that they are adept at what they are learning. Self-assurance again helps and motivates more extensive learning. "

This can lead to a spiralling active of competence and self-assurance.

Teacher should increase, maintain and direct university student motivation. We have to organize the essential motivational conditions. If we want to establish inclusion, we have to develop a positive learning atmosphere, filled with respect to one another. Next task is to build up attitude, this means developing a favourable disposition to learning through personal relevance and choice. To enhance so this means is important to make challenging and thoughtful learning experience which include learners perspectives and values. Furthermore, we have to engender competence by creating an understanding of learner performance.

How do we know if learners are determined? There are a few observable indicators of intrinsic inspiration:

Learners do activities without resistance.

Learners spontaneously relate learning.

Learners ask questions.

Learners exceed required work.

Learners are proud of the learning and its consequences.

Adults have to balance a lot of duties which can lead to the barriers against participating in learning. The most common problems are lack of time, money, assurance, interest, insufficient information, arranging problem and issues with child treatment and vehicles. As educators of adults, we have to plan motivating strategies which show learners the bond between training and final promotion.

4. Supplying Feedback

"The old expressing that practice makes perfect is incorrect, but it holds true to say that it's practice the results which are known making perfect. "(F. C. Barlett)

Feedback, criticism, praising and commenting are extremely important in the coaching process. Teaching parents is complicated due to difficulty of criticising. There are two dangerous: supplying feedback in the wrong manner and not providing enough. Without proper responses, the learner performance cannot improve. If performance cannot improve, all learners quickly lose their interest. Good reviews is one of the basic rewards of learning and critical area of the learning cycle runs such as this:

In comparability with children and teenagers, adults find it harder to recognize they have made a blunder, and it is harder for them to unlearn it. The identical oversight can be repeated again, therefore is important to provide reviews immediately or at the earliest opportunity. The problem isn't only to correct mistakes made on the spot, but to find out some basic misunderstandings from days gone by, e. g. whenever we teach sentence structure, students sometimes do not know what parts of conversation are. Until all the misunderstanding from the past is identified, no improvement can be made. A lot of students seem to be it difficult to learn the guidelines of British spelling properly. It can be a combination of mechanised and internal reasons. It really is particularly hard to correct again repeated mistakes. The solution how to prevent it is prevention; it means ensure that on the first occasion of a fresh little bit of learning the adult has got the right answer - "right first-time".

It is well known that folks learn by causing mistakes. It is true but we should recognise when evaluating that prise make you feel assured, whereas negative criticism makes us self-doubting. Good feedback is given immediately, contains encouraging words, gives detailed touch upon each performance, praises the good points before criticizing the bed, is focused on criticizing the performance, not the person, is targeted on only a few mistakes at a time and it is clear.

Giving feedback requirements skills as well as tact. We have to create an agreeable atmosphere for constructive feedback. After giving opinions, we should be sure the learner has known the meaning by requesting open-ended questions. Avoid closed (yes, no) questions, e. g. Perhaps you have understood? It is better to start questions with "Tell me", "How", or "Why".

Finally, a lot of educators overestimate the amount of feedback they provide. To avoid it, try to find ways to offer every learner some feedback in every lessons. As teachers of adults we should minimise the foundation effect of criticism although there are a great number of alternatives for misunderstanding because without reviews students cannot learn and educators do not train.

5. Role of the Teacher

"Once the scholar is ready, the tutor shows up. " (A Buddhist proverb)

As we said in another of the previous chapter, a lot of adult students can feel troubled when they go back to college over time being from the class. Our job as a teacher of adult students is to be positive, friendly and motivating. Patients help too. It is sometimes important to know that aged students need more time to reply if we ask a question.

Encourage your students to utilize their own life experience in the learning process too. As educators we should minimise the reasonable of failing and the bad aftereffect of past learning experiences by offering activities which can be possible for our students and correspond to their level.

Not only students can have some worries. There can be a problem for some teachers and it is age. School professors are always over the age of their pupils and have the advantages of longer education. Not so teachers of men and women. They can be youthful than their students and could even be less wise. It is appropriate to have some worries about a new band of students, but both the problem and the solution are inside our own hands.

What makes a good professor? As Rogers says, effective teacher has these characteristics :

A warm personality - accepts all students and understand them, be helpful.

Social skill - ability to connect the group alongside one another without having to be dominate.

Organizing capability - administration is smoothly managed.

Skill in spotting and resolving learner problems.

Enthusiasm - a great deal of eye contact, varied words inflexion.

Not only can the personality of a teacher however the authority style lead to the success or failing of learning. We can distinguish three different types of control: authoritarian, where in fact the leader is stringent, bossy, stimulates competitiveness and makes all important decisions himself; laissez-faire where in fact the teacher does almost nothing unless he's straight asked a question; and democratic, where the learners make a decision what they'll do, and the professor is someone who can affect specific solutions of problems. In the group where in fact the instructor behaves authoritatively the learners are submissive and well behaved, but often mishear instructions, are competitive, mutually disparaging and show indicators of aggression and have a tendency to get away from work when the professor leaves the room. On the other hand, the laissez-faire group will almost nothing whether or not the teacher is present. Under democratic authority, the learners work well collectively without fare of one outdoing the other. There take place little stress or hostility and the momentary lack of the instructor make no changes in the amount of work the learners do.

It is clear that imagination is more inspired in groups where the teacher does not dominate. There can develop pleasant social romantic relationships; more students speak to each other and respect each other. Alternatively, prominent, aloof, authoritarian educators have a tendency to produce either very hostile or subdued group of learners who are individualists and don't want to co-operate.

6. Coaching Strategies

Any activity that gets students included is very useful and makes the learning experimental. This includes e. g. small group discussions, role play, writing or drawing something specific, skits etc. Activities that require waking up and moving about can also keep students energized. Make an effort to use a variety of coaching materials and methods, nor forget individual variations of your students. It is known that individual distinctions increase with age group. Take into account that your students have a great deal of life experience that they can bring to the class room, provide them as much opportunities for dialogue as possible and ask open-ended questions in order to use their knowledge and experience. Treat all questions and responses with respect. Inform your students the objectives of the teaching process and familiarize them with the syllabus, but don't be disappointed when they do not completely agree with your plan. You can discuss it together and make some changes in accordance with the needs of your students. They are able to help you to design the training process. Because mature students are problems centred, let them know how the newly received knowledge can be used in specific situations. Being a professor, you should balance between demonstration of new material, discussion and contribution among students and your course plan. Coaching strategies for parents are far better if it is learner-centred than instructor-centred.

6. 1. Lectures and Demonstrations

Lectures and presentations are the most frequent coaching methods in mature education. They are sometimes known as an economic way of coaching because they don't need nearly every technician or administrative support. As the teacher use these methods thoroughly. First, keep them brief. Lectures should take fifteen or twenty minutes and limit for demo is even shorter, five minutes. Second, your discussion should have a definite beginning, midsection and end; it means that it is clear to your students and if it is clear defined, it can benefit students to really know what the goals are before beginning. This system has a lot of alternatives how to be utilized. You can create short intensive presentation, which is followed by practicing. You may immediately decide if your students grasped your lecture. Adults learn best through participation and activity, so your lecture or demonstration can be interspersed with group dialogue, individual assignments, and audio-visual materials. Inside the lectures or presentations try to maintain simple details. A lot of adult students need to have a written support of a fresh piece of learning, but it is known that people do not take down notes very often. Making notes during presentation can be a diversion from understanding; therefore it is easier to instruct your students never to write only listen to you. Prepare well-designed paper handouts for the kids, not so long since it could discourage your students from reading it. It is best to deliver handouts after having a lecture than before; it is less distracting. If you're demonstrating, be certain that all learners are able to see from your viewpoint. If the demonstrations are seen from the front, the pupil must mentally reverse all the processes.

In standard, lectures and demonstrations are most likely best used in short sections, with repeated recourse to debate, individual practice, job work etc.

6. 2. Role - play, Simulation and Games

Simulation, role- play and games play the same or similar roles in language teaching. They help bridge the difference between the classroom and the true expression. These activities provide a variety of ways steps to make the training process more interesting, challenging and energetic. Even as said in earlier chapters, adults need to you shouldn't be told how to do something; they need to give it a try for themselves.

Role-playing identifies the changing of your respective behaviour to suppose a role. It is any speaking activity when you either create someone else (The Leader, a millionaire, a pop celebrity etc. ), or when you put yourself into an imaginary situation ('At the restaurant', 'Checking in at the air port' etc. )

"Role-playing is proposed as an ideal technique to coach language because it prepares learners for the unstable dynamics of real-life communication, educates appropriate terms use, and increases self-confidence. "

Learning takes place when activities are participating and memorable. It is always easier to bring situations to life and keep them real and relevant.

Some role learning is easy and doesn't need any special preparation. It is a standard extension of work done practising dialogues and drills; on the other hand, role play can be prepared in advanced when the instructor sets up the field. The materials must be relevant, quick and credible. Prior to starting the role play, introduce any new vocabulary expected in the topic. After finishing the task, spend time on evaluation. This technique should help learners to be happy with themselves, so be careful and don't analyse every miscalculation made while speaking. Students should believe that they may use their knowledge of the terminology for something useful. Ask your students thoughts and opinions about the role-play, e. g. : What performed you think of the way you managed X? How did it compare with how you deal with this in true to life? The goal is to discuss what has took place in the role and what they have discovered. Finally, do not forget to thank and reward the players for his or her efforts.

Example of role play:

We can play the video tutorial where the personas are doing something. The students watch it and then can replicate some dialogues. Then the teacher divides students into categories, plus they play the heroes from the movie truck, but increase the dialogues regarding with their own illusion. After correction and talk they play the same field again.

Simulation could be defined as possible of function in a simulated and structured environment. Simulation in ELT motivates learners because simulation activities can require them in terms use. Everyone can participate and practise the terminology by interaction, either verbal or non-verbal, in spoken or written form. The realistic atmosphere in the simulation is achieved through the careful prep of the stimulus materials. Students take assignments where they work as people in a wider variance situations which can be close to real life. Simulation encourages imagination although it commences with the info directed at learners. They have to be ingenious to create the idea and complete the simulation.

Example of simulation:

Title: To make a bid

5 members (each student is given a job card with some information in regards to a role and with direction what to do: Finance Director, Factory Director, Sales Manager, Office Director, and Director)

Situation: The company is making available 3000 euros for changing only one of the four departments. Each office leads a manager (as with the above). Each division can make a bid and explain the key reason why they need the amount of money. The Director will then declare the successful bidder.

Language functions: Explaining, justifying, defending, opposing.

Time: 1 hour lesson.

Students are divided in sets of 5. At the end of the lessons, the Director information on your choice for every group.


It can be thought that many men and women do not enjoy games, but it is not true at all. Adults almost like it if they know what the purpose of this game is. They need to know what are they practising (sentence structure, vocabulary, sentence structure etc. ), or what skill they can learn or improve utilizing the game. If students know and understand the reason why of the experience, they will be more active and enjoy the learning. Game titles are almost fun, and they can help to create the positive and supportive atmosphere in the school room. Using various games suit to all learning styles: auditory, visual and kinaesthetic. While doing offers students spend the lesson time by lively conversation in British.

There are some links to purchase a whole lot of video games for adult English learners:

www. teachingenglishgames. com

www. ELTgames. com

The important benefit of all above mentioned activities is they are entirely active ways of learning. Another benefit is that their real value is often in the public skills they educate.

6. 3. Job Work

"Give me and I forget. Show me and I recall. Involve me and I am aware. " (Chinese language proverb)

Project work is a means of communication and satisfaction based on the combination of theory and practice. A project is a piece of work where almost everything is made by the learners who work in categories to resolve an real problem. Learners can choose this issue and the activities leading to a challenge handling. Project work is suitable for all levels from rookie to advance. There can be included all learners mixed in ability, self confidence and experience. The assignments are very creative. The authors of the assignments gather information from a variety of resources, analyze and derive knowledge from it and then put everything collectively. It is predicated on students needs and hobbies. Professors can help their students as tutorials or advisors, they should not direct or control students work.

How to start out? Teach your students how to do project work. Start with concrete, small-scale activities. Determine the display form and the standards for its evaluation. Projects have to be seen or read so plan the previous project program as a display.

Types of jobs:

Production project

Performance project

Collection projects

Informational projects

Orientation projects

Social welfare assignments.

Each project must be evaluated. You are able to prepare some comments on content, design, dialect work and also the final presentation. It could be talked about with all students from the course or group.

Advantages of project work are:

It increases motivation because all learners are in my opinion involved.

All four skills - reading, writing, being attentive and speaking are included.

Learning end result - students have your final product.

Project can be an authentic task and then the language input is more authentic.

There are developed interpersonal relations through employed in an organization.

It is learner centred - contend and methodology can be decided between the learners and the teacher.

A break from routine.

6. 4. Discussion

Discussion is one of productive teaching methods which stimulates students to find out solutions and develop critical thinking capabilities. During discourse, all participants talk with one another, explore, exchange views, and learn from each other, students from instructor, professor from students. Dialogue is a situation where students and tutor can and do make an open, equal and personal reaction to a reserve, current cultural problem, fashion, movies, politics etc. which needs interpretation to use it beyond a factual statement. In a good discourse, most members of the group feel inclined able to speak when appropriate. Even in a group where every person contributes, you will see people who speak more than others. Dominant customers of groups tend to be able and energetic people, whose initiative can be utilized for other group associates, either in the ideas they donate to general debate, or in a few special projects, extra research or short lectures they can undertake. Silent member or people who speak seldom in a discourse can be silent as a means of displaying disapproval of what the rest of the group say or they can be timid, diffident or sluggish or because they like to hear other people rather than to speak themselves. Problems of over-dominant and too silent students can be solved by splitting the group into smaller groupings for some area of the class time. People who never speak in the top group can say a great deal in the smaller one.

Before conversation, you can encourage your learner to prepare for this. They can look at a theme, read some materials and write notes and comments. It really is normal that for the first couple of minutes, the discourse is poor and difficult to control, but if your students are ready for it therefore you create a friendly atmosphere, it can soon warm up. If your aim is a discourse which involves everyone, it's important to range recliners in a circle. It's the easiest way as people can easily see one another and speak along easily than in sitting lecture- style in in a straight line lines.


In conclusion, teaching adults should be different from teaching children and adolescents. Even as said, teachers of men and women should use another type of style of teaching which is dependant on the theory of andragogy which suggest that parents expect learner - centred configurations where they can determine their own goals and coordinate their learning corresponding to their present life needs. The teaching techniques should be chosen with regard to needs of all learners. We ought to consider what strategy and methods appear to be befitting our students. We must value our students' different learning styles; we ought to encourage them, encourage them and give them proper feedback. Once the students know that everything what they learn can be used in a functional way, they will perform better. An excellent teacher of men and women can respect many of these specific factors and use them for the benefit of students. This is your problem as a tutor of parents.

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