Presents the basic requirements for motivating Adults to learn
One of the key things to bear in mind any learning situation is motivation. What is it that motivates adults to learn? Good motivation can be analysed into the following.
1. Creating the need. Why should anyone in your class want to learn what it is you're attempting to teach them? Unless they have a need. Of course, they might not appreciate the need when they first come into the class so make sure that you tell them which particular problem will be solved by understanding and learning what it is you're teaching.
2. Personal responsibility. Encourage the student to take responsibility for the various activities ranging from simple things like arriving on time for class, working with each other, finding a partner with whom they can discuss and review the things that they have learnt. Delegate classroom management tasks, for instance organising lunchtime activities, sticking charts around the room, keeping desks and chairs tidy. Remember it's our class and we are in it together. If you have a good day then the chances are so will the students.
3. Maintain interest. Lead by example. Make sure you display your own interest in the topic and pay attention to learning styles. Make sure your session will appeal to the theorists, the pragmatists, the activists and the reflectors. Remember attention spans are relatively short. Use visual aids, questions and answers, and activities to keep the interest levels high.
4. Make your session realistic. This is easily achieved by using real-life examples of what it is you are teaching. Make sure the learners understand how to apply the topic under discussion to their own life. One easy way to do this is to give them an activity to discover where, how, and when, they can use the subject under discussion.
5. Encouragement. People seem to thrive on encouragement and one of the best ways to encourage them is to give lots of approval and rewards. For example, you can encourage questions by asking for them. From the simple "have you got any questions", (which may get a reply of “no”) to an activity “create a list of questions that you might ask a visiting expert on this topic” (and make sure the questions are answered – by you or by redirecting them to the class.) Rewarding desired behaviour, (like asking questions) can range from the simple "good question..." to giving out small prizes, like biscuits or sweets.
6. Attitude.Make sure a win-win attitude is fostered. Use the feedback sandwich model and encourage your students to use it among themselves.
7. Excitement. Make sure that you get them excited by being excited yourself. Provided you have a good level of rapport they will follow your lead. An easy way to do this is to say - "Can you remember a time when you something really excited you? Can you remember the feeling you had then? Well that's how I felt when I discovered/learned/understood how to do ....."
8. Long term benefits. To help cement the learning, stress the long-term benefits either by telling them or by an activity “make a list of five long term benefits that you can find for what we have just covered” and then review the results.
And you could be wondering “how can I do all that and still remember the topic I am presenting? It would be great if someone could come up with an easy way of remembering it all”. Well, maybe they have! And maybe next time…
Copyright Dave Marshall 2006, 2007 For personal use only