There is such an interesting term as andragogy, that is, the science of theoretical and practical problems of education french to english and upbringing of adults. Some believe that this is an independent discipline, others – that this is one of the branches of pedagogy. True, there are those who are sure that the very idea of ​​studying adult education as a separate subject does not make sense. I cannot agree with the latter.

One of the current trends in education is lifelong learning, which is understood as the need to study constantly, all your life, because, firstly, in order to be a specialist in your field, you need to learn a huge amount of information, and in Secondly, it is necessary to constantly monitor changes. As the famous sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler said, “in the 21st century, not those who cannot read and write will be considered illiterate, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Obviously, the need for adult learning is growing, which means that there will be various options to meet this need. Thus, the growing popularity of MOOCs reflects the need to continue learning beyond formal university education.

Group Of Mature Students Collaborating On Project In Library With Laptops Smiling

I have been a university English teacher for many years, most of my private students are adults or high school students. I decided to formulate, first of all for myself, the main features of working with adults, as well as illustrate them with examples from personal practice.

1. The student can take part in the planning of education, prioritization, determination of assessment criteria. And this is a very, very important point. So, before the start of classes, I always discuss with the students the learning objectives, the pace of the lesson, the need to complete homework, assessment methods, and so on. For example, if a student formulates his goals as “I don’t need to speak and listen, I just need to read texts in my specialty, and do it quickly, and not like now, hanging over each paragraph with a dictionary in an embrace for half an hour”, then, accordingly, we start working on such texts: we select the most interesting passages, compile a glossary, learn to use different types of reading (viewing, searching, introductory), write out and analyze grammatical constructions that cause difficulties.

2. The role of the teacher is changing. In fact, this is a general trend that is relevant not only when working with adults. Teacher and textbook are no longer the only sources of knowledge, thanks to the development of ICT (information and communication technology) we can get information from hundreds of sources in just a couple of clicks. Therefore, there is more and more talk about the need to abandon the teacher-centred learning model and more actively implement the learner-centred learning model, as well as competently combine both approaches.

The older the student, the more he is responsible for the result of his learning. Children are taught, adults are taught themselves. The role of the teacher is to help, guide, correct mistakes, but not to teach in all possible and impossible ways!

3. It is necessary to take into account the student’s past experience: where, how and what he previously studied. Adults have habits that have been formed over the years of schooling and university / college, many have negative experiences, as well as ideas about how education should be built. I will give a typical example. A student, the level is somewhere Elementary – Pre-Intermediate, he studied the language at school and at a little university, the teachers at the lesson spoke a lot in Russian (greetings, farewells, grammar explanations, instructions for assignments, and so on). When he gets to a class that is 95% in English, he falls into a complete stupor. Not because he can’t understand the greetings, farewells, and instructions spoken in the language, but simply because he’s not used to doing it that way.

4. Features of motivation. A child can be motivated, an adult motivates himself. With children, in fact, everything is easier here. They are happy to study for the company, or because they like the learning process itself. And, as Agnia Barto wisely wrote,

Everything I do for my mother:
I play scales for her
For her I go to the doctor,
I study mathematics.

Motivation “because mom said / dad said” and “to please mom / dad” for children is very important, often paramount.

It doesn’t work with adults. Either a person will force himself to do something, or no one can do it. All claims from the series “I quit, something became uninteresting to me” and “I worked out a little and stopped, I expected more” are often nothing more than excuses for my own laziness.

5. It can also be attributed to the peculiarities of motivation, but I will put it in a separate paragraph. Adult learners need to know exactly why they are learning – there must be a clearly defined goal, a clear understanding of the possible benefits. For example, if this is a situation from the series “I need English just in case, maybe someday I will go to work somewhere where I will need English”, then the fuse to learn the language, as a rule, disappears very quickly, even if there are free finances and time. But if the situation is such that “I was accepted for a trial period, with a language problem, after three months you need to be able to successfully communicate with the English-speaking authorities”, then the person will try his best, and study despite fatigue and lack of time – according to at night, in transport, at breakfast/lunch/dinner, lying with a grammar reference in the bathroom – because he really needs it.

6. Extensive opportunities for the use of mutual learning (peer instruction) and mutual assessment (peer assessment). Mutual learning is learning organized in such a way that not only the teacher teaches the group, but the students themselves teach each other, working in the classroom in pairs and groups, and possibly communicating using ICT outside the classroom, for example, leading discussions on the course forum , replying to comments on educational blogs, or curating content. Peer assessment is the evaluation of each other’s work by students, usually according to specified criteria. Peer assessment is the only possible option for mass online learning in projects like Coursera and FutureLearn, where the number of students in one course can reach tens of thousands of people. Its undoubted advantage for students is that students, as a rule, evaluate each other much more loyally than the teacher does, since by giving a good mark they hope that their work will be highly appreciated :).

A difficulty can arise here, which I mentioned in point 3: students may perceive such approaches negatively, believing, for example, that only a teacher can and should teach and evaluate. Accordingly, it may be necessary to explain why you use such approaches and what benefits they have for students.

7. This point is the most difficult, and it concerns not students, but teachers. It must be recognized that many traditional teaching methods do not work. For example, the system “listened to a lecture, came to pass the exam” absolutely does not work as it should. Don’t believe? Remember how many times you passed some kind of furious exam, and after a few months you forgot most of the material you studied during the preparation! But if we use the flipped classroom model, that is, a system in which students listen to lectures at home (at a comfortable pace, making the necessary pauses and repetitions), and discuss the studied material in class, then we get a completely different picture, much more conscious study of the subject. This applies more to theoretical subjects than to practical ones, such as learning foreign languages. But even in teaching languages, this approach is fully justified. For example, you can record a video for students explaining grammar material so that they don’t waste time on this in the lesson, and immediately proceed to practice it.

Do you do adult education? What features of working with adult students can you highlight?