Keys to Tutoring Adult Students

Since Malcolm Knowles pioneered the study of adult learners, studies have been done to determine the best approach to teaching adult students in a classroom environment. One way of learning that’s not often talked about is tutoring, rather than classroom teaching, for adults. In this article, I will reveal a few practical tips for working with adult students from a tutoring approach.The motivation for adult students to learn is usually to attain knowledge to achieve some sort of goal. Whether this goal is personal or professional, the adult learner has a practical use in mind. Having a tutor can help an adult student take the knowledge being learned in the classroom and apply it to their particular situation or goal. A student struggling with statistics, for example, might benefit from a tutor who could show them how the principles of statistics could be used in their current field.The self-image of an adult is usually based, at least in part, on their intelligence and knowledge. Consequently, the ego of adults can interfere with their ability to deal with the frustration of confusing material. If an adult learner becomes too frustrated, many times they will quit rather than allow their self-esteem to be damaged. A tutor can support the adult learner in privacy and help them assimilate the new material into their existing knowledge base.Adult students are usually busy; demands of family, work, church or other social commitments are frequently competing with schoolwork for the attention of adult students. Hiring a tutor who will work around the schedule of adults allows the student to plan for and budget a set block of time where they will focus all of their attention on studying or completing assignments.Adults bring life experience to the classroom, which can be a great aid to learning. However, it can also make it difficult to accept new ideas. It takes time and focused attention to integrate new knowledge with old. A tutor can aid an adult in getting the practice they need with new material to meld it to the knowledge they already possess.