Instructional strategies in an English 030 academic upgrading class

Thumbnail Image
Koch, Betty Corinne
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1999
Adults who attend academic upgrading English classes do so for amnnber of very diverse reasons. These range from upgrading their skills for career development to expanding their literary repertoire in order to help their grandchildren in school or simply to "expand their minds." Some even return because they are retired and their spouses want them out of the house! No matter what their motivation, it is incumbent on instructors to provide learning experiences that will allow the students to develop critical and creative thinking skills and! or to be successful in their chosen careers. When planning instruction, the characteristics of adult upgrading students must be taken into consideration. One characteristic that these students have in common is past experiences. First, adults bring a vast array of knowledge to the classroom. They have life experiences that can be applied in an English classroom and knowledge that can be shared with others. Students are a valuable resource, and it is necessary that this is demonstrated to them. Second, many of these individuals have had negative educational experiences which can impact their ability to learn. They may dread the return to the classroom - they are often frightened and sometimes even intimidated by the "institution of education." It is imperative, then, that they now experience academic and personal success. Therefore, it is important to develop a positive climate and culture in the classroom. Another characteristic that students possess that must be examined is the manner in which they learn. There is often a range of learning styles in the classroom which does not have anything to do with cognitive ability. Therefore, the students must be made aware of effective learning strategies; as well, the instructor must be prepared to consider alternative methods of instruction in order to capture the interest, attention, and ability of as many students as possible. For example, it is necessary to be aware that many academic upgrading students find it easier to learn when they are active participants in the learning process and when the content of the material has relevance to them. The traditional classroom teaching approach is not the most effective one when instructing adults. Instructional strategies that will incorporate active participation and that will give the students the sense that the material is meaningful to them will be much more productive. Three facilitation models which embrace the concept of student involvement and the use of relevant materials are self-directed learning, cooperative learning, and thematic integration. Incorporating these three instructional strategies in a learnercentred program which focuses on literature will enhance the learning experience. As a result, students will more likely be successful in their academic careers and their personal lives .
viii, 159 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Adult education , Adult learning , English literature -- Study and teaching (Secondary)