Addressing Adult Learning Styles
Persons learn the material using different approaches or learning styles because of preferring various techniques to understand and remember the information. To satisfy the learning needs of all the students in the classroom, teachers should refer to different learning styles while developing their instructional strategies and techniques. Adult learners can be divided into three basic groups of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.
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The format of instructions provided in the classroom should respond to all the learning styles. Thus, visual learners rely on images, and they prefer to see pictures and diagrams while learning new materials. Auditory learners understand better heard instructions and information. Kinesthetic learners need to examine the objects and receive some experience.
As a result, Power Point Presentations and videos as the instructional and teaching strategies can satisfy the needs of visual and auditory learners (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011, p. 165). Audio versions of lectures with associated pictures are also important for visual and auditory learners. Instructions can be given both in written and spoken forms.
To meet the needs of kinesthetic learners, teachers should focus on workshops and seminars where the information is also given in forms appropriate for visual and auditory learners (LeFever, 2011).
The textbook selection is an important process which depends on the course objectives and goals. The teacher’s task is to determine the range of materials and information which should be covered in the course according to objectives and to select the most appropriate textbook which contents and format is appropriate for the concrete group of students with references to the teacher’s goals and students’ abilities (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011, p. 14).
Thus, there is a set of criteria according to which the textbook can be chosen, including the credibility of information, academic value of materials, and validity.
Writing Objectives, Goals or Learning Outcomes
Before starting the course, teachers should determine the objectives, goals, and outcomes of the learning process in order to choose and implement the effective instructional pedagogical techniques. Objectives, goals, and outcomes are interdependent and form the basics for the teaching and learning processes (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011, p. 12).
Teachers inform students about the objectives and goals and expected outcomes before starting the course in order to determine the perspective and motivate the studying process effectively and with references to the definite goals.
Creating a Syllabus
Teachers pay much attention to organizing their course, and the most important information on the course should be provided in the syllabus. A syllabus is a kind of a plan in which the assignments and assessments are fixed, and the dates are mentioned along with the other significant facts regarding the teacher, requirements, and specifics of the work or schedule (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011, p. 15).
A syllabus can also include the information on the protocol standards which is necessary for students in order to plan and organize their learning activities according to the teacher’s requirements and set schedules.
Creating Effective Lectures
Although lectures in their traditional forms are not discussed as the most effective pedagogical methods, this type of presenting the new material is still popular in education, and it can be used successfully by teachers with the focus on such elements and the use of technologies, Power Point Presentations, audio and video podcasts.
Effective lectures are based on the traditional objectives to provide students with the summary of important information and with additional explanation of the controversial points and on modern technologies stimulating students’ interest and motivation (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011). Furthermore, effective lectures are necessary to adapt the material to the concrete group of students and to respond to different learning styles and student diversity in general.
Discussion as a form of interaction in the classroom can be teacher-led or student-led, depending on the objectives of the activity. Discussions can be discussed as the effective techniques in facilitating students’ critical thinking and argumentation abilities. Teachers choose to start discussions when it is necessary to focus on the problematic questions and stimulate the students’ independent thinking process (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011).
Discussions are helpful when there are several different visions of the issue, and the topic can be discussed from multiple perspectives. In this case, discussions are effective not only for understanding the aspects of the material but also for stimulating students’ critical thinking and skills in arguing and choosing the effective details to support their ideas.
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The teacher’s feedback can be the result of assessments or techniques of motivation. Feedbacks are necessary because students should know about their strengths and weaknesses associated with the learning process. The teacher’s feedback can be considered as the effective method to draw the student’s attention to the problematic points or to correct the strategy used by the student in learning.
Positive feedbacks often motivate students to continue working hard in order to achieve the definite outcomes of learning (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011). Academic performance of students depends significantly on the effectiveness of feedbacks which should be prepared for students individually, basing on the detailed analysis of their activities and successes.
Dealing with Problem Students
The atmosphere in the classroom depends on the abilities of a teacher to communicate with all the students effectively along with managing the environment and resolving possible problems. There are often students in the classroom who can be discussed as problem ones because they have definite problems with learning, they cannot concentrate on the studying process, these students can be even rather aggressive.
The teacher’s task is to create the positive atmosphere in the class, paying much attention to the problem students (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011, p. 182). The way to stimulate the motivation of problem students, contribute to their academic successes and to the effective interaction with the other students is communication and attention to changes in behaviours.
To control the effectiveness of learning, it is necessary to concentrate on grading and to realize the necessary assessments. While giving assessments, teachers should focus on the education standards, on the levels of the students’ preparation, on providing the appropriate descriptions and explanations, and on the rubric associated with the certain requirements.
Assessments can provide teachers with the real reflection of the situation in the classroom when students are prepared for the tests, essays, and other types of assessments, when they know the rubric and can plan their work in order to achieve the desired grade (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011). Grading is necessary for teachers and students to control the changes in academic performance in order to correct them effectively.
The process of teaching when the main figure regulating it is a teacher cannot be considered as effective enough in order to stimulate students’ active participation in study. Thus, collaboration is the useful method to change the focus of the study and provide students with more independence while performing the academic activities.
It is important to encourage students to work together as groups or teams and control the activities of each other (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011). Furthermore, students can play as teacher assistants while checking and reviewing the papers of their classmates as the part of teaching methods and techniques.
The effective learning process depends on a kind of a challenge for students in order to stimulate their interests and motivate activities. Problem-based learning is the modern approach to teaching students with references to the real examples and evidences, the real-life experience, and problem-solving techniques.
Teachers should provide students with the opportunity to ask questions and find answers to them independently (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011). The role of teachers and instructors in this case is to regulate and guide students’ efforts in order to achieve the best results. As a result, students develop their research, problem-solving and critical thinking skills and abilities. In this case, teachers focus on regulating students’ research process and analysis of findings indirectly.
Students’ motivation is the key aspect influencing students’ academic performance. Teachers can motivate students with their interesting lectures and effective plans of seminars, with discussing the problematic and urgent topics which adapt to the students’ interests, with positive and encouraged feedbacks, with using more modern technologies and resources in order to find and analyze the materials (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2011, p. 191).
These approaches can be discussed as necessary for implementing in the classroom to guarantee the students’ interest in the studying process. Motivation can also be based on the teacher’s attention to the successes of students.
The modern world is in a constant progress, and the development of technologies is the typical sign of this process (Smith-Collins, 2012). That is why, technologies should be effectively implemented in the learning process in order to adapt teaching techniques to the needs of modern students.
Software and special teaching programs are effective to intensify and modernize the students’ learning process. The Internet-based teaching resources can be considered as successful additional means to stimulate students’ activities because these technologies are the part of their everyday life today.
Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners
All the students are different, and the classroom environment is diverse in relation to the students’ cultures, ethnicities, visions, and individual features. Teachers work to create the specific environment in which the needs of all the students can be met in spite of their particular features and differences.
Diverse learners’ needs can be met with references to responding to the cultural diversity, various learning styles and expectations (Allen, Sheve, & Nieter, 2010). Students should be treated as equal to each other that is why different techniques such as individual approach, personal communication, and interest in diversity can be appropriate.
Maintaining Ethical Practices
During their communication with students, teachers follow certain ethical principles which are common for all the social groups and which are specific for teachers as the representatives of the profession. Thus, teachers have the ethical code of conduct according to which they realize their communication (Strike & Soltis, 2004). Moreover, teachers are considered as following the ethical principles and practices when they support the student diversity, avoid prejudice and discrimination.
Allen, K., Sheve, J., & Nieter, V. (2010). Understanding learning styles: Making a difference for diverse learners. USA: Shell Education.
LeFever, M. (2011). Learning styles. USA: David C Cook.
Smith-Collins, S. (2012). An agenda for equity: Responding to the needs of diverse learners. USA: R&L Education.
Strike, K., & Soltis, J. (2004). The ethics of teaching. USA: Teachers College Press.
Svinicki, M., & McKeachie, W. (2011). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.