The reading I’ve done so far has made me realize a few very interesting things about adult educators and adult learners.
The biggest thing that hit me, is that I’m about as average an adult learner as they get: female; mid-thirties; family; decent job; … and it goes on. I suppose I shouldn’t be too deterred by that. Maybe we’re common because we make good adult learners?!
But, more seriously, I have learned some very interesting things:
*adult educators need to allow their students to be highly self-directed. The days of ‘thou shalt’ are ending…
*adult educators need to be able to embrace huge variety within the skills, backgrounds, goals, demographics of their learners. Classrooms (virtual and real) don’t fill up with homogeneous participants!
*adult educators (those of us who don’t necessarily feel completely comfortable with new technology) must accept the ever-changing digital world, and build programs using the vast capabilities of technology. We can’t expect everyone to show up to the dust-filled auditorium for each lecture.
*adult educators are critical for teaching the growing numbers of learners in the system! An exciting prospect for those of us getting started in this program :).
Many of these items above indicate the need for adult educators to be flexible and informed, as students’ needs change, student descriptions shift, and technology improves. Effective adult educators will need to stay current and prepared to change their style, as all the variables in teaching continue to flex. Time to do a bit of stretching, I think!