Like any beginner, an adult learner also runs into traps and trip. Like me. As a student of PIDP, I am trapped into setting up shop in the virtual world. I can imagine what other adult Gen X students are going through. I found these lines from the link below tailored for me. “Lots of career paths require real world skills that are difficult to teach online and virtual education is limited to communicate theoretical knowledge. It could be possible to remember the recipe for apple pie by reading it over and over, but that doesn’t guarantee the ability to be able to bake the actual pie”.
But I will get up and walk, looking out for traps not to fall into them; with the help of my mentor and peers, of course!
Empathizing is an action that may not find its way in a classroom. Most educators and peers feel that one doesn’t need to empathize in order to move forward. But I have observed that it is the first need for humans.
We spend the better part of a day in a classroom. In my case, the classes are held in the evenings, after a long day’s work for the adult learners. What do students bring in apart from fatigue? Their stress, mental disturbances, work load to take home and house work like no babysitters at that time of the day, cooking and cleaning. And then, incomplete assignments. This is when we educators should step in. It is not about completing your lesson plan, it is about getting them connected. A good teacher instantly recognizes those who need attention, because that teacher could have undergone such testing times too. In such situations, I let others work by themselves and quietly take the student into the kitchen, a cup of tea or coffee for both and then change into a friend myself. But things don’t happen like magic. The teacher should win the confidence of the learner, and then only will the student open up and eases into sharing their troubles or worries which should be dealt with tactfully, all the while letting them know it happens to everyone, and share how to solve it. Or give them time to relax, I sometimes let them shed a tear, hug them if they allow to, or even pray with them if they are religious. Pronto! The student gets up before the teacher and proceeds towards the class. Never ever share it either with a colleague or another teacher, but if things are serious, then do it as with an anonymous client. Once the faith is lost, this will never happen with others, word spreads.
Trying to catch up with 3100, I read the article on Faculty
Focus | Higher Ed Teaching & Learning
Literacy Levels Among College Students, by: Oliver Dreon,
PhD, dated May 3rd. It took me on a chase from one idea to another,
and I had to stop at some point and regress. But I will continue after a while.
The focus of the article was ‘why reading is hard to
comprehend to many adult learners?’ As I have been occasionally instructing or
specify, training students for IELTS/CELPIP/CAEL exams, the mode of English
testing for Reading always lets the students down. This article, which I will
pursue later, has thrown light on how to help each student recognise at what
level they are.
I was drawn to the terminologies used there: Construction,
coconstruction, reconstruction, deconstruction…. Looks like the prefixes seem to
go on. These are some of the links that I looked through. Hope this helps some
of you interested in this area.
My learning partner for 3100 of PIDP course is Karen Stainton, a very enthusiastic and well informed professional, working, new mom from New Westminster. Karen and I hit off well right from the first exchange of emails and messages. She understood the limitations of my work-stay area and we agreed to discuss over phone than skype. Karen has the abilities to deal with older generations and their limitations in this virtual world and filled me with encouraging ideas for dealing with similar issues.
Karen works for Technical Safety BC and has immense pressure to keep herself abreast with technicians and contractors from diverse fields and she has to meet their upgrading in newer areas and at the same time keep them engaged whenever they are scheduled for her classes. Unlike mine, being academic, she has not only to deal with teaching but also to stay at par with latest trends in the technology market so as to retain their clientele. This motivates her to become innovative every single day, and she has found that through PIDP she can and has been able to find different ways to forge into effective teaching skills. From our conversation, I feel that PIDP has ‘taught Karen how to fish’, in the sense we both agree that the tools made available to us, and how we’re able to apply for our profession, the nuances of using media, especially ‘gamification’ has been a boon to us both. She is quite an expert in software, has immense patience to teach and explain, which I found during our conversations and discussions.
As Karen’s student’s generations range from ages 10-30 years apart, she has to make her classes more engaging to include all of them, making the older clients to assimilate well into newer pastures. But Karen has the abilities to make it happen, not only with her teaching skills but also to put herself in the shoes of her students and emerge to find what works best for them. Her mantra, as I perceived, is that an educator has to stay both ahead of technology and also be close enough to listen to the needs and means of meeting student’s skills and helping them succeed.
I would like to acknowledge that Karen has been a friendly partner, not just for this activity but also a motivating course mate, whose association I would like to cherish for a long time. Thank you dear Karen!
Trends in teaching English grammar to intermediate adult learners or Upgrading native or colloquial English speakers has been challenging as they find it hard to relearn the syntax. It is rather easy to teach grammar to beginners as they will be focused on learning the right way. If the adult learners know English to a certain level but their grammar is not proper, then they will have to undo and re-do their syntax and spelling. The inclined use of grammar books and exercises makes it boring and ineffective especially for young adults of Adult Upgrading, ESL and other Proficiency Tests. Even though I have been using online exercises and cellphone apps for grammar, idioms and phrases, etc., I found a great resource of handy tools in the following links. Online tests, mobile apps and blended learning are proving to be helpful, and young adults will find learning fun using Gamification, Doodle Town, etc. Students would benefit better if they use different cellphone Apps that teach various skills, such as word puzzles and word reminders like CodyCross helps too. I also came across ‘Free Rice’ where players donate grains of rice to the needy in Africa for every correct answer. Ten Trends and innovations in English Language teaching for 2018 has very good applications.
Students of numeracy in Adult Upgrading Program find basic Math hard, especially with mental computing without using calculators. It is difficult for them to memorize tables of multiplication and use charts that I provide. They are hesitant to express themselves in an open classroom, hiding negative emotions due to cultural context, and also being tired with time constraints after work. With a set curriculum, sometimes it is difficult to find ways to help them with new topics, dealing with resistance and real life problems. Barriers to implementing particular strategies like not allowing them to use calculators for simple math problems makes them get frustrated. I have found better strategies such as manipulatives, Free Rice, Apps such as PhotoMath can be better options to create interest in Math upgrading among adult students.