What do adult students bring to teacher training? - Learning Leadership April 18 - May 2nd 2005

What do adult students bring to teacher training?

In the "Discussion of Learner Leadership" hosted on the Adult Literacy Professional Development Discussion List (formerly known as NIFL-AALPD), teachers listed several qualities that they felt students do or would bring to teacher professional development.

From Holly Dilatush:

Adult students bring:

  • a diverse wealth of life experience and coping skills
  • decision-making skills
  • a ground-level awareness of the realities and limitations of 'the system,' and... habits -- often entrenched habits -- (and are often unaware of those habits).
  • determination -- a resolve -- that may be tenuous or 'steel' -- open-minded or tunnel-focused.
  • enthusiasm and idealism -- energizers!

From Katrina Hinson:

I asked some of my students today, what they thought they could teach a teacher.

  • They could teach teachers to care for the student, as an individual and not a number.
  • Some teachers "connect" better than others - others don't connect at all. It's when the teachers don't connect that the student picks up on that missing connection and when a problem arises is less likely to return to the class or stay motivated and active in the class.
  • Students said they notice a difference in attendance in the classes where the teachers make extra effort to treat them like people than when the teacher doesn't see them that way. For instance, if a student were absent, instead of immediately telling a student "you need to make up the hours you missed", instead say "glad to have you back" or "You were missed." The latter two imply a willingness to see beyond the "rules" that are so often felt to be thrown at the basic skills students. It opens the doorway between the student and teacher. Katrina