The Characteristics Of Adult Learners Education Essay

Adult pupils in the procedure of ELT construct the particular group of people socially accepted as mature and who are in a learning procedure. Education of grownups has long been perceived as different from instruction of kids in both theory and pattern. The field of big instruction was pioneered by Malcom Knowles who claimed that andragogy should be distinguished from teaching method. Andragogy consists of larning schemes focused on grownups while teaching method is concerned on kids. Knowles ‘ theory of andragogy is an effort to develop a theory specifically for grownup acquisition. Adults bring life experience and a degree of adulthood into the schoolroom that kids and striplings do non. Probably the individual most of import concern for the instructor of grownups is a thorough apprehension of the scholar. Through such an apprehension it is possible to direct your learning to the specific demands and involvements of the grownup.

Adults are autonomous and expect to take duty for determinations. Adult larning plans must suit this cardinal facet. In practical footings, it means that direction for grownups demands to concentrate more on the procedure and less on the content being taught. It is of import to utilize schemes such as function playing, simulations, undertaking work and treatments rather frequently because they are most utile for big pupils who are job -centred, goal- oriented and practical. Teacher adopts a function of facilitator or resource instead than lector or grader.

Furthermore, another facet of grownup instruction is motive because merely when pupils are motivated they can larn. The best manner is to heighten studentsA? ground for larning. Teachers must be after their motivation scheme which is considered to be successful if it includes demoing grownup pupils the relationship between developing an expected publicity.

Finally, we do non hold to bury another built-in portion of grownups larning which proper feedback is. We should cognize when and have to give feedback because good feedback is one of the basic wagess of acquisition.

Teaching English to grownups is different from learning kids and teens and involves a considerable sum of planning and accomplishment to do it apprehensible and adaptable to all scholars.

1. Features of Adult Learners

Compared to kids and teens, grownups have particular demands and demands as scholars. Adults are people who have the position of adulthood in their ain and other peopleA?s eyes, but in the instruction procedure they come in the low-level place of the scholars. It could be really hard at the beginning and it depends on persons how to cover with this state of affairs. A batch of grownups can go dying because they are so disquieted about traveling back to school and are afraid of their failure and may believe that they are unable to larn.

“ The struggle is that as grownups we already have certain well-developed thoughts about life along with our ain system of thoughts and beliefs. To acknowledge that we need to larn something new is to acknowledge that there is something incorrect with our present system. “[ 1 ]

On the other manus, they have outlook about the acquisition procedure and they are able to accept duty for their ain acquisition. They are independent and self – directed, they are non dependent on other people for way. Adults as scholars are goal-oriented and results-oriented. They normally know what end they want to accomplish and they besides have specific consequences in head for instruction. They must see a ground why to larn something. Learning has to be valuable for them ; it should be related to their demands and eventually suit to their work. In other words, grownups seek instruction which is appropriate for their current lives. They are practical and are focused on the facets of the lessons ; it means they want to cognize how the lessons will be utile to them on the occupation. We must non bury that grownups have a batch of experience and a wealth of cognition and they expect to be treated consequently. They require larning that makes sense and is connected to their cognition and experience. They can be critical of learning methods ; they will non execute a learning activity merely because the instructor said to make it.

Furthermore, we can anticipate that grownups are more disciplined that some kids and adolescents and are able to prolong a degree of motive. Compared to kids, grownups have more developed abstract idea ; it means we have to take appropriate activities adapted to utilize their minds to larn consciously.

To sum it up, there are a batch of specific characteristics of grownup scholars which we have to bear in head in the procedure of learning. Compared to kids and adolescents, grownups have particular demands and demands as scholars. Of class, these are generalisations and there can look some exclusions in each group of scholars.

2. Learner Differences

All pupils have different rational abilities. They think and learn otherwise. Learner differences are related to different thought manners and larning manners of pupils. Some of them use more than one manner, but by and large each individual has a preferable manner. We can separate brooding minds, originative minds, practical minds and conceptual minds. Brooding minds perceive new information subjectively, associate it to past experience and analyze their feelings about larning. On the contrary, originative minds like to play with new information, really frequently ask “ why? ” and make their ain solutions. Practical minds need factual information and attempt to happen the simplest and besides efficient manner to make something. In other words, they want to use their new accomplishments to their occupation. The last group consists of conceptual minds who are interested in how things work, non merely in the concluding result. They like seeing images and want to cognize the related constructs.[ 2 ]

Equally of import are larning manners. Students normally tend to one acquisition manner because they associate it with larning success. There are three general larning manners: ocular, audile, and kinesthetic. Ocular scholars process new information when they can see it. They like artworks, illustrations, diagrams, images and presentations. Their slogan is “ Show me. “ Auditory scholars rely on sounds and voices ; they remember new information when it is spoken. They love talks and treatments. Their slogan is “ Tell me. ” Kinesthetic scholars need to make something to understand it. They want to touch the new information or manipulate it. They prefer written assignments, taking notes and scrutiny of objects. Their slogan is “ Let me make it. ”

3. Motivation for Adult Learning

Motivation is some sort of internal thrust which pushes person to make things in order to accomplish something. A cognitive position of motive includes factors such as the demand for geographic expedition, activity, stimulation, new cognition and self-importance sweetening.

Students come to education for many grounds. All grounds are acceptable because any motive is better than none. Unless you are motivated, you will non and can non larn. Most big pupils are at the schoolroom because they want to be. There are called “ want to ” scholars. Some of them are at that place because they need it for their occupation. They are “ have to ” scholars.

There are a batch of motive factors. Some of the most common are:

Promotion- depends on go throughing an test or making a class.

Personal promotion – people want to acquire higher position at work.

Social relationships – people want to do new friends.

Escape/Stimulation – people want to avoid ennui, larning can disrupt the day-to-day modus operandi at place or at work.

External outlooks – people try to carry through the outlooks of person with formal authorization.

More money – after go throughing a class or successful graduation you can anticipate to gain more money.

Social public assistance – attempt to better ability to be good to mankind and take part in community work

Cognitive involvement – people who are interested in larning, they want to have new information and seek cognition for its ain interest

There are Four Foundational Principles that motivate grownups to larn ( Wlodkowski, 2009 ) :

Inclusion is the consciousness of scholars that they are a portion of an environment, they respect each other, and they have no fright of menace or humiliation. It is related to positive societal clime. Inclusion Fosters engagement.

Attitude is a combination of constructs, information, and emotions. Attitude consequences in a sensitivity that can take to favorable or unfavorable response. Attitude causes a powerful consequence on human behavior and acquisition because they help people make sense of their universe. ( E.g. Negative larning experience can impact our attitude, engagement and outlooks. )

Meaning – devising, apprehension, and altering significance is a cardinal facet of grownup instruction. Deep significance causes that the experience or thought is connected to an of import end. Meaning comes from disputing larning experience in an piquant format about a relevant subject. Meaning sustains engagement.

Competence is an attempt to effectual interaction with the universe. Adults have a strong innate temperament to be competent. They need to use what they have learned to the existent universe. Competence allows a pupil to experience confident when they know that they are expert at what they are larning. Assurance once more supports and motivates more extended acquisition. This can ensue in a spiralling moral force of competency and assurance.

Increasing and directing pupil motive is one of a teacherA?s undertakings. We should form the indispensable motivational conditions. If we want to set up inclusion, we need to make a acquisition ambiance in which scholars and instructors feel respected and connected to one another. Following undertaking is to develop attitude, it means making a favorable temperament to larning through personal relevancy and pick. To heighten significance is of import to make ambitious and thoughtful acquisition experiences which include learnersA? positions and values. Furthermore we should breed competency by making an apprehension of scholar effectivity.

And how do we cognize if scholars are motivated? There are some discernible indexs of intrinsic motive:

Learners do activities without opposition.

Learners spontaneously relate acquisition.

Learners ask inquiries.

Learners go beyond required work.

Learners are proud of their acquisition and its effects.

Unlike kids and adolescents, grownups have many duties that they must equilibrate. These duties can take to the barriers against take parting in larning. The most common jobs are deficiency of clip, money, assurance, involvement, deficiency of information, programming job and jobs with kid attention and transit. The best manner how to actuate grownup scholars is to heighten their ground for acquisition and diminish the barriers. As instructors of grownups we have to be after actuating schemes which show learners the relationship between preparation and an expected publicity.

4. Giving Feedback

“ The old expression that pattern makes perfect is non true. But it is true to state that it is pattern the consequences of which are known which makes perfect. ” ( F.C. Barlett )

Feedback, unfavorable judgment, praising and noticing are really of import in the instruction procedure. Teaching grownups is complicated because of the trouble of knocking. There are two unsafe: giving feedback in the incorrect manner and non giving plenty. Without proper feedback the learner public presentation can non better. If public presentation can non better, all scholars rapidly loose their involvement. Good feedback is one of the basic wagess of acquisition and critical portion of the learning rhythm goes like this:

In comparing with kids and teens, grownups find it harder to acknowledge that they have made a error, and it is harder for them to unlearn it. The same error can be repeated once more hence is of import to give feedback instantly or every bit shortly as possible. The job is non merely to rectify mistakes made on the topographic point, but to happen out some basic misinterpretations from the yesteryear, e.g. when we teach grammar, pupils sometimes have no thought what parts of address are. Until all the misinterpretation from the yesteryear are identified, no advancement can be made. A batch of pupils seem it hard to larn the regulations of English spelling decently. It can be a combination of mechanical and psychological grounds. It is peculiarly difficult to rectify once more perennial errors. The solution how to avoid it is bar ; it means make certain that on first juncture of a new piece of larning the grownup gets the right reply – “ right first clip ” .[ 3 ]

It is frequently said that people learn by doing errors. It is true but we should recognize when measuring that prise make us experience confident, whereas negative unfavorable judgment makes us self-doubting. Good feedback is given quickly, contains encouraging words, gives elaborate remark on each public presentation, praises the good points before knocking the bed, is focused on knocking the public presentation, non the individual, is concentrated on merely a few errors at a clip and is clear.

Giving feedback demands accomplishments every bit good as tact. We should make a friendly ambiance for constructive feedback. After giving feedback, we should look into that the scholar has understood the message by inquiring open-ended inquiries. Avoid closed ( yes, no ) inquiries, e.g. Have you understood? It is better to get down inquiries with “ State me ” , “ How ” , or “ Why ” .

Finally, a batch of instructors overestimate the measure of feedback they give. To avoid it, seek to happen ways to offer every scholar some feedback in every lesson. As instructors of grownups we should understate the bed consequence of unfavorable judgment although there are a batch of possibilities for misinterpretation because without feedback pupils can non larn and instructors do non learn.

5. Function of the Teacher

“ When the pupil is ready, the instructor appears ” ( a Buddhist adage )

As we said in one of old chapter, a batch of big pupils can experience dying when they go back to school after a few old ages being out of the schoolroom. Our occupation as a instructor of grownup pupils is to be positive, friendly and encouraging. Patients help excessively. It is sometimes of import to cognize that older pupils need more clip to react if we ask a inquiry.

Promote your pupils to utilize their ain life experience in the acquisition procedure excessively. As instructor we should understate the carnival of failure and the bad consequence of past acquisition experiences by offering activities which are accomplishable for our pupils and correspond to their degree.

Not merely pupils can hold some concerns. There can be a job for some instructors and it is age. School instructors are ever older than their students and have the advantages of longer instruction. Not so instructors of grownups. They can be younger than their pupils and may even be less intelligent. It is right to hold some concerns about a new group of pupils, but both the job and the solution are in our ain custodies.

What makes a good instructor? Effective instructor have these features ( Rogers, 1989 ) :

A warm personality – accept all pupils and understand them, be helpful

Social skill – ability to link the group together without being dominate

Forming ability – disposal is swimmingly handled

Skill in descrying and deciding scholar jobs

Enthusiasm – a batch of oculus contact, varied voice inflection.

Not merely can the personality of a instructor but the leading manner lead to the success or failure of larning. We can separate three different types of leading: dictator, where the leader is rigorous, autocratic, encourages fight and makes all of import determinations himself ; laissez-faire, where the instructor does virtually nil unless he is straight asked a inquiry ; and democratic, where the scholars decide what they will make and the instructor is person who can impact single solutions of jobs. In the group where the instructor behaves magisterially the scholars are submissive and good behaved, but frequently mishear instructions, are competitory, reciprocally belittling and demo marks of aggression and tend to abandon work when the instructor leaves the room. On the contrary, the individualistic group does about nil whether or non the instructor is present. Under democratic leading the scholars work good together without carnival of one surpassing the other. There occur small tenseness or aggression and the impermanent absence of the instructor make no alterations in the sum of work the scholars do.[ 4 ]

It is clear that creativeness is more bucked up in groups where the instructor does non rule. There can develop pleasant societal relationships, more pupils talk to one another and esteem each other. On the other manus, dominant, aloof, autocratic instructors tend to bring forth either really hostile or subdued group of scholars who are individualists and do non desire to co-operate.

6. Teaching Schemes

Any activity that gets pupils involved is really utile and makes the learning experimental. This includes e.g. little group treatments, function drama, composing or pulling something specific, skits etc. Activities that involve acquiring up and traveling approximately can besides maintain pupils energized. Try to utilize a assortment of learning stuffs and methods and do non bury single differences of your pupils ( differences in manner, clip, types and gait of larning ) . It is known that single differences addition with age. Take into history that your pupils have a batch of life experience which they can convey to the schoolroom, supply them every bit much chances for duologue as possible and ask open-ended inquiries so that they can utilize their cognition and experience. Treat all inquiries and remarks with regard. State your pupils the outlooks of the instruction procedure and familiarise them with the course of study, but do non be disappointed when they do non wholly agree with your program. You can discourse it together and do some alterations in conformity with the demands of your pupils. They can assist you to plan the acquisition procedure. Because grownup pupils are jobs centred, allow them cognize how the freshly acquired cognition can be applied to current jobs or state of affairss. As a instructor you should equilibrate between presentation of new stuff, treatment and engagement among pupils and your class program. Teaching schemes for grownups are more effectual if it is learner-centred than instructor-centred.[ 5 ]

By utilizing combinations of grownup scholar techniques and schemes, Extension pedagogues can make preparation experiences that will heighten the acquisition of participants. When grownups participate in a positive acquisition experience, they are more likely to retain what they have learned and use it in their work environment.

6.1. Lectures and Presentations

Lectures and presentations are the most common instruction methods in big instruction. They are sometimes referred to as an economic manner of learning because they do non necessitate about any technician or administrative support. As a instructor usage these methods exhaustively. First, maintain them short. Lectures should take 15 or 20 proceedingss and bound for presentation is even shorter, five proceedingss. Second, your talk should hold a clear beginning, center and terminal ; it means that it is clear to your pupils and if it is clear defined, it can assist pupils to cognize what the aims are before get downing. This techniques has o batch of possibilities how to be used. You can present short intensive presentation which is followed by practising. You can instantly see if your pupils understood your talk. Adults learn best through engagement and activity, so your talk or presentation can be interspersed with group treatment, single undertakings, and audio-visual stuff. In the talks or presentations try to maintain to simple chief points. A batch of grownup pupils need to hold a written support of a new piece of larning but it is known that grownups do non take notes really frequently. Making notes during presentation can be a recreation from understanding therefore it is better to teach your pupils non to compose merely listen to you. Fix well-designed printed press releases for them, non really long because it could deter your pupils from reading it. It is better to administer press releases after a talk than earlier ; it is less deflecting. If you are showing, be certain that all scholars are able to see from your point of position. If the presentations are seen from the forepart, the pupil must mentally change by reversal all the procedures.

In general, talks and presentations are likely best used in short subdivisions, with frequent resort to treatment, single pattern, undertaking work etc.

6.2. Role – drama, Simulation and Games

Simulation, role- drama and games play similar functions in linguistic communication instruction. They are seen as ways of bridging the spread between the schoolroom and the existent word. These activities offer a assortment of ways how to do the acquisition procedure more interesting, disputing and lively. As we said in earlier chapters, grownups need to avoid being told how to make something, they need to seek it out for themselves.

Role-playing refers to the changing of one ‘s behavior to presume a function. It is any speech production activity when you either set yourself into person else ‘s places ( The President, a millionaire, a dad star etc. ) , or when you stay in your ain places but set yourself into an fanciful state of affairs ( ‘At the eating house ‘ , ‘Checking in at the airdrome ‘ etc. ) Role-playing is proposed as an ideal technique to learn linguistic communication because it prepares scholars for the unpredictable nature of real-life communicating, Teachs appropriate linguistic communication usage, and boosts assurance. Learning takes topographic point when activities are prosecuting and memorable. It is ever better to convey state of affairss to life and maintain them existent and relevant. We should utilize the role-play for the undermentioned grounds ( Harmer, 1989 ) :

It ‘s merriment and motivation.

Quieter pupils get the opportunity to show themselves in a more blunt manner.

The universe of the schoolroom is broadened to include the outside universe – therefore offering a much wider scope of linguistic communication chances.

Some function playing is simple and does non necessitate any particular readying. It is a normal extension of work done rehearsing duologues and drills ; on the other manus, function drama can be prepared in advanced when the instructor sets up the scene. The stuff must be relevant, brief and believable. Once you have selected a suited function drama, predict the linguistic communication needed for it. It is recommended to present any new vocabulary before the function drama. After the function drama is finished, pass some clip on debriefing. This does non intend indicating out and rectifying errors. It is the procedure of debriefing which helps do the acquisition points. After the function drama, the pupils are satisfied with themselves ; they feel that they have used their cognition of the linguistic communication for something utile. This feeling of satisfaction will vanish if every error is analyzed. It might besides do the pupils less confident and less willing to make the other function dramas. Ask your pupils sentiment about the role-play, e.g. : What did you believe of the manner you handled X? How did it compare with the manner you deal with this in existent life? The purpose is to discourse what has happened in the function and what they have learned. Finally, do non bury to thank and praise the participants for their attempts.

Example of function drama:

We can play the picture where the characters are making something. The pupils watch it and so can reiterate some duologues. Then the instructor divides pupils into groups and they play the characters from the film dawdler, but extend the duologues harmonizing to their ain phantasy. After rectification and treatment they play the same scene once more.

Simulation is defined as a world of map in a fake and structured environment. A simulation has three features:

A world of map which means the participants in a simulation must step inside the function they have accepted and act consequently.

A fake environment where there is no contact with the existent universe.

A structured environment where the participants have all the facts and information provided for them.[ 6 ]

Simulations have been used in many countries of preparation and instruction, such as the ground forces or in concern surveies. But in whatever country, linguistic communication is the tool used for communicating and Jones claim that simulation and linguistic communication are “ virtually inseparable ” . Simulation in ELT motivates scholars because simulation activities give them a opportunity to be involved in linguistic communication usage. It allows everyone to take part and even when errors are made, the instructor does non interfere. It gives chance for meaningful pattern of linguistic communication because most simulations involve interaction, either verbal or non-verbal, in spoken or written signifier. Well – planned simulations that are relevant to the scholars will surely promote earners to desire to finish the undertakings. The realistic ambiance in simulation is achieved through the careful readying of the stimulus stuff. Students take functions where they behave as people in a wider assortment state of affairss which are close to existent life. Simulation encourages creativeness although it begins with information given to scholars. They need to be clever to bring forth the thought and to finish the simulation.

Example of simulation:

Title: To do a command

5 participants ( each pupil is given a function card with some information about a function and with counsel what to make: Finance Manager, Factory Manager, Gross saless Manager, Office Manager, and Director )

Situation: The company is doing available RM 10A 000 for upgrading merely one of the four sections. Each section is under the leading of a director ( as in the above ) . Each section is allowed to do a command for the amount of money saying the ground the money is needed. The Director will so make up one’s mind the successful bidder.

Language maps: Explaining, justifying, supporting, opposing.

Time: 1 hr lesson

Students are divided in groups of 5. At the terminal of the lesson, the Director studies on the determination for each group.


Not merely do many grownups enjoy games, but linguistic communication games really accelerate larning in a figure of ways. It is perfectly critical that big pupils know why they are utilizing a peculiar game, what specific mark grammar or vocabulary are they rehearsing, or what accomplishment are they reenforcing by utilizing the game. If pupils know and understand why they are making a peculiar activity they will be much more inclined to collaborate and bask the acquisition. Learning through merriment activities relaxes pupils and makes the schoolroom atmosphere much more supportive for scholars. Using adequate assortment in the type of activity or game will convey all four acquisition manners into drama: auditory, ocular and kinesthetic. Using games allows your pupils to acquire the most out of lesson clip, by passing it talking English.

There are some links where you can happen a batch of games for grownup English scholars:

The of import advantage of all above mentioned activities is that they are wholly active methods of larning. Another benefit is that their existent value is frequently in the societal accomplishments they teach.

6.3. Undertaking Work

“ State me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand ” ( Chinese adage )

Undertaking work is a agency of communicating and enjoyment based on the combination of theory and pattern. A undertaking is an drawn-out piece of work on a peculiar subject where the content and the presentation are determined chiefly by the scholars. Students work in groups to work out disputing jobs that are reliable and frequently interdisciplinary. Learners decide how to near a job and what activities to prosecute. It can be used at every degree from absolute novice to progress. There can be involved all scholars mixed in ability, assurance and experience. The undertakings are really originative. The writers of the undertakings gather information from a assortment of beginnings and synthesise, analyze, and derive cognition from it and so set all the parts together to organize a consistent presentation. It is based on studentsA? demands and involvements. The instructor ‘s function is to steer and rede, instead than to direct and pull off pupil work.

How to get down? Teach your pupils how to make undertaking work. Get down with concrete, small-scale activities. Decide the presentation signifier and the standards for its rating. Undertakings need to be seen or read so be after the last undertaking session as a presentation.

Types of undertakings:

Production undertaking

Performance undertaking

Collection undertakings

Informational undertakings

Orientation undertakings

Social public assistance undertakings.

Each undertaking needs to be evaluated. You can utilize a simple undertaking rating study, which remarks on facets of the undertaking such as content, design, linguistic communication work and besides evaluates the unwritten presentation phase of the undertaking. It can be discussed with all pupils from the category or group.

Advantages of undertaking work are:

It increases motive because all scholars are personally involved

All four accomplishments – reading, composing, listening and talking are integrated

Learning outcome – pupils have an concluding merchandise

Undertaking is an reliable undertaking and therefore the linguistic communication input is more reliable

There are developed interpersonal dealingss through working in a group

It is learner centred – contend and methodological analysis can be decided between the scholars and the instructor

A interruption from everyday.[ 7 ]

6.4. Discussion

Discussion is the prototypic learning method for active acquisition because it encourages pupils to detect solutions and develop critical thought abilities. . Discussion allows scholars to be active and experience personal contact. During treatment all participants speak to each other, explore, exchange positions, and larn from each other, pupils from instructor, instructor from pupils. Discussion is a state of affairs where pupils and instructor can and make do an unfastened, equal and personal response to a book, current societal job, manner, movies, political relations etc. which needs reading to take it beyond a factual statement. In a good treatment most members of the group experience willing able to talk when appropriate. Even in group where everybody contributes, there will be people who talk more than others. Dominant members of groups are frequently able and energetic people, whose enterprise can be used for other group members, either in the thoughts they contribute to general treatment, or in some particular assignments, excess research or short talks they can set about. Silent member or people who speak seldom in a treatment can be soundless as a manner of demoing disapproval of what the remainder of group are stating or they can be diffident, diffident or lazy or because they prefer to listen to other people instead than to speak themselves. Problems of over-dominant and excessively soundless pupils can be solved by dividing the group into smaller groups for some portion of the category clip. Peoples who ne’er speak in the big group can state a batch in the smaller 1.

Before treatment you can promote your pupil to fix for it. They can believe about a subject, read some stuffs and write notes and remarks. It is normal that for the first twosome of proceedingss the treatment is slow and hard to pull off, but if your pupils are prepared for it and you create a friendly atmosphere it can shortly warm up. If your purpose is a treatment which involves everyone, it is of import to run chairs in a circle, as that is the lone manner people can see or turn to each other easy than in sitting lecture- manner in consecutive lines.[ 8 ]


In decision, learning grownups should be different from learning kids and striplings. As we said, instructors of grownups should utilize a different manner of learning which is based on the theory of andragogy which suggest that grownups expect learner – centred scenes where they can find their ain ends and form their acquisition harmonizing to their present life demands. The learning techniques should be chosen with respect to demands of all scholars. We should see what attack and methods seem to be appropriate for our pupils. We have to esteem our pupils different larning manners, we should promote them, actuate them and give them a proper feedback. When our pupils know that the instruction procedure benefits them pragmatically, they will execute better, and the benefits will be longer enduring. Good instructors of grownups take all of these factors into history. Beyond learning your topic, you have the chance to animate assurance and passion in another human being. This is your challenge as a instructor of grownups.