Getting to Know The Learner Sessions

By Sheila Harper,2014-12-25 15:07
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Getting to Know The Learner Sessions

Getting to Know the Learner Sessions 22

    Getting to Know

    The Learner Sessions

; The adult learner

; Cultural differences

; Learning styles/teaching styles

; Assessments and goal setting

    Training Effective Literacy Tutors State of Oregon

The Adult Learner 23

    The Adult Learner

; Characteristics of adult learners

; The tutoring session

    Training Effective Literacy Tutors State of Oregon

    The Adult Learner 24


    ―When two merchants exchange their

    products each one gives up part of his


    But when students exchange knowledge,

    each keeps his own and acquires the


    Can there be a better bargain than this?‖

    Author Unknown

    Training Effective Literacy Tutors State of Oregon

The Adult Learner 25

Handout 1.1

    Characteristics of Adult Learners Compared with Children

    1. Adults are more realistic. They have lived long and have a different perspective of life. They see life as a set of realities.

    2. Adults have had more experiences. They have insights and see relationships not discerned by children. They have a sense of what is likely to work and what is nota sort of

    accumulated wisdom.

    3. Adults have needs which are more concrete and immediate than those of children. They like

     to see theory applied to practical problems.

    4. Adults are not a captive audience. They attend voluntarily and if interest is lacking, they are

     inclined to stop attending.

    5. Adults are used to being treated as mature persons and resent having teachers talk down to


    6. Adults enjoy having their talents and information made use of in a teaching situation.

    7. Adult groups are likely to be more heterogeneous than youth groups. Differences increase

     with age and mobility. Therefore, adults come from a wider variety of backgrounds and

     intelligence levels than youth.

    8. Adults through their fifties, and sometimes well beyond that, can learn as well as youths,

     although because of a slowing up of physical equipment they may not perform some school

     tasks as rapidly as children.

    9. Adults are sometimes fatigued when they attend classes. They appreciate any teaching

    devices that add interest and a sense of liveliness: variety of method, audio-visual aids,

    change of pace and a sense of humor.

10. Adults attend classes often with a mixed set of motives educational, social, recreational,

    and sometimes out of a sense of duty.

Adapted from: ―A Guide for Teachers and Teacher Trainers,” (NAPCAE, 1966). Robert L.

    Derbyshire, Consultant

Training Effective Literacy Tutors State of Oregon

The Adult Learner 26

Handout 1.2

    General Instructions to the Tutor

    1. Your student may have mixed feelings about coming for instruction and will need your

     constant reassurance and encouragement. Have absolute confidence in his ability to learn.

2. Sit at the right side of the student so you can work with him not across from him so that you

    teach at him.

    3. As your student gets to know and trust you, he will tell you more and more about himself.

     Show interest in him. Gather knowledge that will help you relate the instruction to his life.

     Respect his confidences. Harm can be done by casual talk or gossip.

    4. Praise the student frequently, but only for genuine success. Indiscriminate praise is not

     helpful. He will know if you are genuine.

    5. Be sure to give clear directions. Do not talk above the student’s head; do not talk down.

     Assume that if the student does not understand, there is something wrong with your

     techniques or your explanation, not with the student.

    6. It is your responsibility to plan carefully for the lesson, and at the same time to be flexible,

     taking your cues on content from the student. Build on your student’s strengths and interests.

    7. Plan for the student to make some progress each day, and to know his successes. Without

     some planning, failures and frustrations result.

8. Don’t overwhelm the student. He must leave every lesson with a sense of enjoyment and


9. Be patient. Progress may sometimes be very slow. Don’t think that you will be able to


    overnight what your student has been unable to learn for a number of years.

Training Effective Literacy Tutors State of Oregon

The Adult Learner 27

Handout 1.3

    General Instructions to the Tutor

    1. Youw xeulene may have mixel feelings aboue coming fow ixewuceion anl will neel youw

     conxeane weassuwance anl encouwagemene. Have abxoluee confilence in hix abiliey eo


2. Xie nexe eo ehe xeulene xo you can wowk wieh him noe acwoxx fwom him xo ehae you

     eeach ae him.

    3. Ax youw xeulene geex eo know anl ewuxe you, he will eell you mowe anl mowe aboue

     himxelf. Xhow ineewexe in him. Gaehew knowlelge ehae will help you welaee ehe

     inxewuceion eo hix life. Wexpece hix confilencex. Hawm can be lone by caxual ealk ow goxxip.

    4. Pwaixe ehe xeulene gwequenely, bue only fow genuine xuccixx. Inlixcwiminaee pwaixe ix

     noe helpful. He will know if you awe genuine.

    5. Be xuwe eo give cleaw liweceionx. Lo noe ealk abouve ehe xeulene’s heal; lo noe ealk lown. Assume ehae if ehe xeulene loex noe unlewxeanl, ehewe ix xomeehing wwong wieh youw

     eechniquix ow youw explanaeion, noe wieh ehe xeulene.

    6. Ie ix youw wexponxibiliey eo plan cawefully fow ehe lexxon, anl ae ehe xame eime eo be

     flexible, eaking youw cuex on coneene fwom ehe xeulene. Buill on youw xeulene’x

     xewengehx anl ineewexex.

    7. Plan fow ehe xeulene eo make xome pwogwexx each lay, anl eo know hix xuccexxex.

     Wiehoue xome planning, failuwex anl fwuxewaeionx wexule.

    8. Lon’e ovewwhelm ehe xeulene. He muxe leve evewy lexxon wieh a xenxe of enjoymene anl achievemene.

    9. Be paeiene. Pwogwexx may xomeeimex be vewy xlow. Lon’e ehink ehae you wil be able

     eo eeach ovewnighe whae youw xeulene hax been unable eo leawn fow a numbew of yeawx.

Training Effective Literacy Tutors State of Oregon

The Adult Learner 28

Handout 1.4


    Student Profiles

    1. Mr. M is a Vietnam veteran, married, father of six children. He had only a few years of school

    in a rural area. He drives a truck and knows that he must soon pass the truck driver’s written

    test in order to keep his job. He has difficulty with maps and often finds himself in the wrong

    area. He is a good driver, but knows that his poor reading will keep him from staying in his

    current job if he doesn’t pass the test. It will also make it difficult if he has to find another job.

    2. Mrs. S is 46 years old, married, with five children. She comes from a large family in the South

    and had to do field work, so she had little opportunity to go to school as a young girl. She

    wants to be able to understand what her children are doing at school. She would like to be able

    to read in order to help them.

    3. Mrs. Y is 33 years old, married, with three children. She came with her husband and children

    from South America just six months ago. She has had 6 years of education in her own country

    and can read and write Spanish, but knows very little English. She needs to be able to talk to

    her children’s teachers and doctors. She also needs to be able to get a job soon to help the

    family’s financial situation.

    The Task

Choose one of the above situations and do the following:

1. List five ways this person’s learning needs will differ from a child learner.

    2. Write four sentences describing feelings this person may bring to the tutoring situation.

Training Effective Literacy Tutors State of Oregon

The Adult Learner 29

    Characteristics of Adult Learners

    How the Tutor Can Help

Adults are used to making decisions.

     Involve the learner in setting goals.

     Offer choices of activities and materials.

     Ask the learner to evaluate the lessons.

     Respect the learner’s priorities and opinions.

Adults are busy people.

     Develop lesson plans that address priority needs.

     Use the tutoring time carefully.

     Be flexible in assigning homework.

     Help the learner schedule homework time.

    Adults have to deal with emergencies and unexpected situations.

     Make an agreement to call if either you or the learner cannot make it to a session.

     Have alternative activities ready in case the learner did not have time to prepare.

    Adults have accumulated a foundation of life experiences and knowledge.

     Build self-esteem by emphasizing how much the learner already knows or can do.

     Be open to what the learner can teach you.

     Design instructional activities around the learner’s work, community.

     Connect learning to participant’s experience/knowledge base.

Adults are relevancy oriented.

     Let learners choose materials/topics that reflect their own interests.

     Discuss how the objectives of the lesson will be of value to them.

     Provide an opportunity for the learner to apply each newly acquired skill as quickly as


Adults have barriers against participating in learning.

     Lack of time, money, confidence, child care, and transportation are some of the barriers

     learners must balance against the demands of learning. The participant must be motivated

     enough to want to learn in order to decrease these barriers. Help keep the learner motivated

     by providing opportunities to experience success in each session. Provide them with

     information on their progress.

Training Effective Literacy Tutors State of Oregon

The Adult Learner 30

All learners have a preferred learning style.

     Learn what your preferred learning style is so as not to teach only in that style.

     Learn how your student learns best.

     Use a multisensory approach to ensure you are providing opportunities for the learner to use

     the sense that works best for him/her.

     Use a multisensory approach to ensure retention of information.

All learners need respect.

     Treat participants as equals in experience and knowledge.

     Emphasize the skills and strengths the learner already has.

     Use materials that contain the printed form of adult language.

Sources: ―Principles of Adult Learning,‖ by Stephen Lieb, VISION Magazine, 1991.

     How to Teach Adults, by William A. Draves, The Learning Resources Network, 1984.

    Teaching Adults: A Literacy Resource Book, developed by Laubach Literacy Action, New

    Readers Press Publisher.

    Training Effective Literacy Tutors State of Oregon

    The Adult Learner 31

Debilitating Help True Help

    (“Enabling” Actions) (“Facilitating” Actions)

Thinking for Creating ―bite-size‖ learning tasks

Speaking for Asking questions

Protecting Setting clear limits

Solving for Displaying patience

Overlooking Discussing

    Avoiding Providing timely responses

Minimizing Training/coaching

Deflecting Confronting issues

Excusing Reviewing expectations

Inconsistency Being consistent

Assigning meaningless tasks Making tasks relevant to life

Simplistic analysis Putting things in larger perspective

    Choosing for Soliciting options/structuring

Telling Asking

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