Scenario 1: Mohan tells you he has an appointment tomorrow at the financial aid office, scheduled for the middle of your class. He adds that he is sorry that he couldn’t get the appointment at any other time. The next day, he arrives at your class on time, slips out to go to his appointment, and returns quietly half an hour later.
Scenario 2: You explain an activity, divide the class Continue reading
Ken was restless. His legs and feet moved under the table so much that the whole table shook. Other students complained about the noise and the shaking. Ken was an extreme case, but ABE/Adult literacy classes are full of students who cannot easily sit still, and whose restlessness interferes with the learning of others. Continue reading
For the past week or so, I’ve been writing about five strategies for developing stronger relationships with learners:
All five strategies are written up in one article published in the ELMO Review. (Click on the image.)
Any thoughts on these strategies as a whole? What’s your most useful strategy or habit for building strong relationships with adult learners?
Like most of us I can’t hide my feelings. They show on my face, or in the set of my shoulders, or the sweaty palm prints I leave on the desk or table. Most students (like anybody else) will assume that my feelings have something to do with them. Here’s an example:
I’m in the middle of teaching and the student asks me to explain something again. (He still doesn’t get it after the third time.) I’m about to start the explanation when I notice the clock and suddenly remember that I have to cut this session short for an emergency meeting about a crisis in the program.
All my feelings about the meeting come over me–worry, wonder, anger, confusion, etc. These feelings show on my face or in my body–tight lips, far-away look, and hunched shoulders. Continue reading
Much of our work is invisible to adult learners in literacy, Basic Education or GED programs. At worst, they see us as people who know everything and get paid well for showing up for short days and short years and bossing them around.
At best, they think we’re wonderful people who have all the answers and are helpful and patient and don’t do anything between sessions with them. Continue reading
“I’ve been writing poetry since I was 13, and I’ve got a big binder with all my poems in it. Would you mark them for me?”
Over the years, those were the two sentences I most hated to hear from a student. I dreaded reading the poems, because I expected them to be really bad poetry, and depressing. I was always right on both counts. Continue reading
There is no better way to show respect to a student than to listen. If you listen, learners will teach you how to teach them.
If you listen, you’ll be surprised. And when you’re surprised, you’re not bored. That’s a good thing if you’ve been doing this job for a long time. Continue reading
How to say “No” to your teacher introduces students to a seven-step process for saying “No,” gives them some practice using prepared scripts based on common situations, and then assigns them the task of saying “No” to each other, and to me, at least once in the following week. (Detailed lesson plan, with scripts, here)
Seven Steps to Saying “No!”
The steps are surprisingly simple to articulate: Continue reading
As August slips by, I’m reminded of activities that start the new year, which I put under the heading of “How to manage your teacher,” an essential skill for every student, at whatever level.
One year I asked my department head, the inimitable Vicki Noonan, to help me with an experiment. I said I couldn’t give her any details, but would she come in and give a presentation to my adult literacy class Continue reading