If you are in the UK and you want to take up teaching adults as a career path, you should be aware that there are a specific requirement for qualifications to do so. There are a few reasons for this. If you think about it, the way that the mind of child would learn is quite different compared to that of how an adult will learn. Therefore, there are different methods that you should use to grab the attention of an adult class and help them understand things in a way that is effective for them.
Is it Challenging to Teach an Adult Class Than a Kid’s Class?
Not necessarily if you employ the correct methods of teaching. However most educators that train and teach adults will tell you that they have observed, usually, that children would pick up things faster than adults would. The fascinating reason behind this, as studies have shown is that because in adults the prefrontal cortex of the brain is developed, something called a functional fixedness is present. This makes an adult see everything as it exactly is. The prefrontal cortex in a developing child will give them more creativity and flexibility. It will make them a lot more inventive too. Essentially, in the world of science, children have minds that are designed to learn and grow while adults have minds that are designed to perform.
How Can You Overcome This in an Adult Classroom?
You can easily get your adult classroom to learn effectively by using teaching strategies for adult students. This is one of the reason why you are required to learn specifically for adult teaching and training in the UK. A normal teaching course that would work for teaching children, may not be effective on adults.
- Adults find it easier to latch on to the things that they are taught and remember them easily if they can relate it to their daily lives. Rather than teaching them a theory and then leaving it at that, you can tell them an example of how that theory applies to our daily lives and they will understand and remember it better. They will internalise the lesson more if they know that there is a measurable improvement that it can have on their daily lives.
- Pay attention to their backgrounds. Compared to children, adults will come in with a lot more experience to your classroom. You have to teach them content that is up to date and also matches their level of educational and professional backgrounds, if you want them to take what you are teaching seriously. For example teaching English to adults lessons plans can be very much different from what you would use for children.
- Encourage critical thinking and let students challenge notions. Don’t expect an adult class to simply memorise all that you say. If they feel like they have to, they will lose interest too. Instead, encourage them to ask questions and tell them to discuss and interact in class.
Teaching Learning Disabled Adults
One of the many reason you would need specific qualifications to teach adults would also be because you may come across adults who are learning disabled and need help. Just like how you have to undergo specific training to teach kids with learning impairments, you have to apply the same rule to adults too. How to teach and adult to read if they have a learning disability? How can you get them to focus? How can you communicate with them without making them feel disrespected? All these are things that you will be able to learn with your adult teaching qualification.
What do You Need to Become A Further Education Lecturer (FE) in the UK?
Ideally, in the UK you will be required to have a Level 3 qualification that is accredited in the subject that you want to teach. You will also need a teaching qualification that is relevant to the level of teaching responsibility of your job role. Remember that employers can ask for either more or less requirements at their own discretion. Usually teaching qualifications will keep changing yearly or sometimes once in a few years and you need to stay updated on any changes. Typically they would ask for;
- A Level 3 Award in Education and Training
- A Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training
- Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training
- Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training along with a specialist pathway if possible.
- You are a postgraduate in the relevant subject area
You will usually be expected to have good English, ICT and numeracy skills and according to the education provider that you choose, you may be tested to see which level you are at.
Is All the Studying Worth it?
Yes, it completely is, if you are genuinely interested in teaching adults. It can have a lot of room for you to grow and explore. It also brings in good money and is a good service overall that will give you a lot of satisfaction. Take it as a challenge and go with confidence into your classroom.