ERIC Number: ED259372
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov-17
Reference Count: 0
What's Different about Teaching Adult Student Writers?
Both the literature on adult learning and the literature on the composing process focus on students and their behaviors rather than on teachers and their methods or on curricular content and structure. The most productive teaching of nontraditional students and the most useful educational research about them begins with the students themselves, rather than with teachers or subject matter. The literature notes six characteristics that differentiate adult learners from their younger counterparts: (1) experience, (2) responsibility, (3) pragmatism, (4) motivation, (5) diversity, (6) and potential insecurity. These descriptive characteristics of adult learners served as background for an ethnographic case study of a class of freshman developmental writers attending an adult degree program. The experiences of two students revealed dimensions of the adult student's experience that, along with the literature on adult learning, have implications for testing and placement as well as for curriculum and instruction. These implications raise questions that challenge educators seeking to serve adult students: (1) What factors within an educator's control in testing situations are likely to allay anxieties of adults who may have not taken tests for years? (2) What types of assessment instruments are best suited for adult learners? (3) Can a range of placement options appropriate to the diversity of adult students be provided? (4) Can a sequence of courses be created to serve the needs of students with diverse experiences? (5) Can teaching methods be adopted to meet adult needs? (HTH)
Descriptors: Adult Education, Adult Learning, Adult Students, Basic Skills, Case Studies, Content Analysis, Curriculum Development, Educational Experience, Educational Research, Higher Education, Nontraditional Students, Prior Learning, Student Attitudes, Student Characteristics, Student Evaluation, Student Needs, Writing Instruction, Writing Research
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (74th, Detroit, MI, November 16-21, 1984).