A lesson for the youth of today – Nola Ochs graduated at the age of 95!

To mark the fact that next week (18th-24th May) is  Adult Learner’s week., these are five reasons why any teacher should welcome ‘mature’ members to their classes:

1. Many educators write as if all learners were straining at the leash to get their hands on funky tekkie tools in the classroom. I believe that students of all ages, and older students in particular, are more appreciative of well-prepared  lo-tech frontal lessons.

2. I have found  that the majority of adult learners (late 20s to early 90s!) are intrinsically motivated.  The same cannot necessarily be said of those in their late teens and early 20s.

3. Conversely, I have found that, on the whole, younger students (I’m talking specifically of Italian undergraduates) are more conservative and passive. They are more likely to come to the class wanting to be told answers rather than engage in questions.

4. It makes me smile when people assume that the presence of a teacher in the classroom automatically makes this an interactive, humanistic experience. Older students know from bitter experience how farcical this idea is.

5. The much-heralded  ‘face-to-face’ lessons in universities often consist of big groups sitting in rows watching a slide show.  ‘Silver surfers’ are actively seeking something more stimulating than this.

Related links:

Are adult learners different from young learners? (What Ed Said)

How Old Is Too Old To Start College? (VOA Student Union)

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