Adult EducationHow to engage an adult learner that is court mandated to be there?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

If there is anything that you can have them do for you or the program that gives them a sense of position, the students often feel more connected to the program.  For instance, in one GED program years ago, a student filed papers for the teacher.  Doing this made the student feel more empowered and because she did such a good job of organizing, she gained confidence even in her studies.

booksnmore's profile pic

booksnmore | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Something that all human beings find interesting...themselves.  While I do not teach court mandated classes, I do teach classes where teachers are required to be there (and sometimes would really rather not.) When I seek out their viewpoints and experiences, they feel a bit more like a peer and a bit less like a student. Humor also helps. As do very short video clips...also often humorous, or at least with a definite "message" that can be discussed.

lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I think everyone is right on, we have to find out what interests the students have regardless of their age. I have not had the opportunity to work with adult learners but would think that the sense of family or community would be very beneficial.

drmonica's profile pic

drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I love working with adult learners and the best challenge for me as a teacher is to engage those students who do not want to be there. ckliew is correct in her assertion that the effective teacher builds a "family" atmosphere in the classroom. If students feel invested in the other people in the class (starting with the teacher), then they will be more likely to engage with academic instruction. Too many teachers of high school and older learners don't get this essential point.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

So are you actually asking something or are you just telling us what has worked for you?  I don't really see a question in this second post of yours.  Let us know if there is something you would like us to discuss.

bxa05's profile pic

bxa05 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I've been teaching GED classes a few evenings a week for 1 year so it's all new.  What's different about my class is that it's conducted at the parole office for guys on parole.  They are state mandated to attended.  I'm 5' 2" and slender and my guys are huge.  They have attended GED classes in the prison system, but this was also a first for them being taught on the outside. 

I work for the same school district where I teach elementary education during the day to 4th graders.  I have talked to other teachers that teach regular GED classes that aren't court mandated, and they have many problems keeping their adult learners focused and interested.  I don't have the same problems.  My students have done really well in my class.  On the first day of class they are uncertain and sometimes will have a bit of an attitude.  I'm able to win them over using humor and respect.  It's all about being respectful and building a sense of family.  These guys are always operated under the "gang" type of system.  One of the first things that happens in prison is they have to identify with one of the gangs there and join it.  Our classroom becames their family.  One of the first activities I do is team building activities. 

I am sure you are a wonderful teacher.

Alfred

epollock's profile pic

epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

To engage them is to find out, since they have to be there, what they are curious about, what they have always wanted to know, and what they have trouble with. By finding out their needs, you end up finding out your own needs for their education.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

The situation faced by ckliew is not an easy one with simple solutions. In teaching those students, many unexpected situation are likely to arise, and no guidelines will be able to identify exactly what your response should be. But from the description given in post#2 it appears ckliew is doing fairly well. So it is best to to continue with whatever set of mind you have adopted so far. The description of their hugeness, perhaps just reflects that you are taking note of all the factors in the situation. This is desirable. However, I am sure there is no point in feeling intimidated by size of your students.

ckliew's profile pic

ckliew | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I've been teaching GED classes a few evenings a week for 1 year so it's all new.  What's different about my class is that it's conducted at the parole office for guys on parole.  They are state mandated to attended.  I'm 5' 2" and slender and my guys are huge.  They have attended GED classes in the prison system, but this was also a first for them being taught on the outside. 

I work for the same school district where I teach elementary education during the day to 4th graders.  I have talked to other teachers that teach regular GED classes that aren't court mandated, and they have many problems keeping their adult learners focused and interested.  I don't have the same problems.  My students have done really well in my class.  On the first day of class they are uncertain and sometimes will have a bit of an attitude.  I'm able to win them over using humor and respect.  It's all about being respectful and building a sense of family.  These guys are always operated under the "gang" type of system.  One of the first things that happens in prison is they have to identify with one of the gangs there and join it.  Our classroom becames their family.  One of the first activities I do is team building activities. 

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