Hands-on Learning With Adult Ed

Hands-on Learning With Adult Ed

Many of us have fond memories of our own school days, or perhaps are the parent or grandparent of little ones currently singing the alphabet or learning to read. But how do we go about educating adults who – while they may have fallen behind academically – still have the accumulated wisdom of their years and rich life experiences?

Just like with kids, the answer is: mixing it up! Here at Hope, every instructor uses different methods to keep adult students engaged and learning. In math classes, longtime Hope instructor Diane Barr uses everything from traditional math worksheets, to money scenarios, to card games to make sure students are not just learning, but also having fun and seeing real-world applications of the things they learn.

In social studies, certainly our current political situation offers many opportunities for students to learn about the electoral process, the separation of powers, and the functioning of government. Social studies instructor Ann McDevitt supplements our textbooks and current newspapers with everything from historical fiction about Lewis and Clark, to world map puzzles that challenge students’ knowledge of geography.

In language arts, our students are reading everything from guided readers to young adult novels to the Philadelphia Inquirer. In adult literacy, a key phrase often used is “hi/lo,” meaning high interest, low reading-level reading materials that acknowledge that just because adult learners might be at a lower reading level, that doesn’t mean they want to read Pat the Cat. They still want to be captivated by interesting characters, compelling situations, and drama — just like adult readers of any reading level!

When they’re not in the classroom, students can often be found in the adult education center, working on independent study on one of our computer programs. We offer a variety of programs, from the traditional “read the passage and answer questions” to a more quiz-like learning software that gives them awards when they rack up the correct answers, and provides students with explanations when they don’t. Gamification serves as a learning supplement to the old-school method of checking out a book — which we also offer.

No matter what form learning takes, what it adds up to is success.

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