The process of teaching adults needs more than just what you think you know about teaching English abroad as a practice. It is hard and teachers do struggle a lot. Numerous adults find enduring their education hard and the specific requirements of contemporary life make it stiffer to get a work-life balance. So, how can we get adult learners to care more?
Answer lies in andragogy. We have heard of pedagogy, right? Nevertheless, we need to be alert of issues relating to pedagogy but we also need to familiarize ourselves with andragogy as well.
So, what is andragogy and why does it matter?
Adult teaching is not an easy task. The conception of andragogy has been around for approximately two centuries and became mostly popular in North America and Britain. The term basically comes from Alexander Kapp who was a German educator, created the term in 1833 as an approach of developing various learning strategies focused on adult learning. He also used it to pronounce the elements of Plato’s education theory. The term andragogy includes the Greek word for man (andras). After that it again reappeared in 1921 in a report.
The major ideologies of Andragogy
Andragogy was created from a desire to reassure a practice of lifelong learning. There are some principles on which Andragogy was being formulated.
- Adults are usually practical in their approach to learning
- Grown-ups learn successfully only when they are free to direct their own learning
- Adults learn by practically doing
- They generally tend to learn skills chronologically and focus on problem solving
- Adults frequently have more experience than teen-agers
- They learn best in informal circumstances
- Adults want to select options based on their specific needs
- Socialization is more significant among adults
- They like collaborative and networking environment
Well, you must be wondering what is the connection between andragogy and TEFL…it is crucial and significant.
As teachers with online TEFL courses, this is an imperative aspect. The reason is in your career, you will teach adults too at some point in your career. If you are determined from the beginning that you will teach English to adults only, then Andragogy is very important. Also, it is more important to contemplate as there are immense differences between adult and younger learners.
This also means that there are variances in how they learn and acquire, which also indicates there are modifications in how ESL teachers should teach them right? We all know that the adults and young learners contrast in a number of ways, like attention duration, discipline, as well as cognitive abilities.
Don’t get overwhelmed, teach English abroad programs prepare you for handling these kinds of situations. Try to know your students, their circumstances, interests, and personalities. This will help you massively in personalizing more engaging lessons for them. With this, your lessons will be more evocative for them too. Unless and until the lessons are more expressive, your students will not learn the language effortlessly!
One more crucial factor while teaching adults is, they do have opinions. Adults have their individual feelings and thoughts on topics which you possibly will discuss in the classroom. We are saying this because you need to make sure that your classroom activities should avoid heated arguments by taking everyone’s viewpoints into account. See, adults will not be going to follow what you say blindly. In many cases, it has been seen that the adult learners express their discontent over classroom materials or lesson activities if they are not happy with them or if they feel they are not beneficial.
By reading this so far, you might be looking for tips for successful adult learning… isn’t it? Here are a few helpful suggestions –
- Break down your course content into small stages or include microlearning
- Use things like characters, directions, interactions, etc. to engross the competitive side of your learners
- Include real-world examples
- Keep your curriculum relevant
- Emotionally driven content will make your course more relatable
- Various group projects that motivate the right collaboration with exploration
- Offer more projects opportunities to finish assignments
- Use avatars and storytelling approaches to attract in adult learners
- Use visually pleasing design fundamentals
- Providing instant feedback can make your lesson much more operative
You may use these basic yet helpful strategies while teaching adult learners.
Is there any limitation to the Andragogical style?
Well, researchers have questioned one of andragogy’s principles – the principle that adult learners usually learn from experience and have a tendency to learn things that have direct applications. However, there are findings that questionably have no need for direct applications. This can be seen especially in theoretical or abstract grounds. The same thing may apply to different other forms of art and music too.
We can say this is a good area of examination when it comes to andragogical research.
The volatile future…
Andragogy, as an agenda for adult teaching-learning, has its advantages. For teaching English abroad educators, it is therefore important to consider this adult learning theory. Though, it may have its contemporary limitations in certain fields as briefly discussed above, but for disciplines that have real-world experiences, Andragogy should be given a chance in the ESL classrooms all over the world. Therefore, understanding Andragogy will ensure you are well-prepared for teaching English abroad with TEFL certification.