Teaching Adults

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Teaching adult education classes usually refers to any type of learning that an adult pursues beyond the traditional years of schooling. It may be a telecommunications class that the student’s employer is paying for, or it may be an adult literacy class, which helps illiterate adults, as well as those from other countries who don’t understand English, to learn to read the simplest of texts and documents. There are organizations such as DAEL (the Division of Adult Education and Literacy) that promote programs that will help American adults learn the basic of skills necessary in order to be productive workers, citizens and family members. All programs emphasize the basic skills of writing and reading in English.

DAEL normally allots funds to the different states earmarked specifically for an adult education. The states will then distribute those funds to the local eligible programs that are designed to improve literacy skills in adults. DAEL also gives assistance to the different states in order to improve the quality of the program and its capacity that in turn helps additional adults.

People who want to provide instruction in the field of adult literacy may end up teaching in public schools, or as lecturers or instructors in universities and colleges. Sometimes they may end up working in vocational schools, in community agencies or even in a training center that helps individuals in finding work. The complete educational requirements will naturally be different for each position.

Generally, in order to teach in a public school system or in universities you will need to have a graduate degree and possibly need teacher certification and licensing as well. And, as a general rule, those who instruct adults in community or vocational schools will require a master’s degree. Finally, those who would like to become teachers of a self-enrichment type of literacy program may not need specific educational credentials but may need to show some type of portfolio of their work and demonstrate experience in the field.

Most adult programs do recommend that the instructors of both basic and secondary education take workshops or classes on teaching adults, as they must remember that they are working with learners from a variety of social, educational and economic backgrounds. It is important for teachers to be understanding and respectful of each student’s circumstances and be familiar with their concerns. All teachers, both volunteer and paid, should have excellent communication skills and know how to motivate their students.

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