Teaching can be seen as a profession or an occupation bent towards influencing people to learn something aside from what they already know or showing them a better perspective about an idea they might have already known. It can also be seen as the process of meeting other people’s need or making a specific effort to help them learn something they otherwise might not have known or better still, have little or different idea about.
A teacher therefore, is someone who has the motivation and inspiration to communicate truth, and is willing to help people learn how to listen and speak truth. A teacher of an adult learner must have some basic characteristics so as to be able to communicate well and effectively to his/her learners. Such a teacher must be loving, showing kin interest to the learners. He/she must be interested in what and how the learners fare within and outside the academic sphere. It will not be a bad idea to once in a while check up on them, put a call through to them, and just be concerned. It will help boost and encourage the learner’s morale. Another character of such a teacher is that he/she must show mastery in his/her chosen course. This will help give the learner a sense of confidence in his/her teacher that to a large extent, the teacher knows what he/she is teaching, and this will make the learner have confidence in the teacher. The teacher must have the ability and willingness to motivate and inspire his/her learners. The teacher must understand that for the different learners, they have different levels of assimilation, as such, he/she must have the patience to know the different levels of his/her learners. This will help the teacher know how and when to help his/her learners. Another important character is that the teacher must be prepared at all times. He/she must expand his knowledge in his/her chosen course or field of study. And of course, the teacher must know how to access his/her learners by asking the right question, this will tell the teacher how well his/her learners have comprehended what was taught to them.
The learners help bring along with them to the program of study the following: Self-confidence, open-mindedness, receptive to change and having the freedom to learn on their own.
The learners are self-confident in themselves, because they have trust in themselves and have some sense of control over their lives. They know where their strength lies and weakness as well. They are open minded as well, because they are willing on their own to make research for themselves for things and weigh such things that research was made on, fairly and justly. They are willing to give consideration to ideas and opinions of others that are new to them. Above all, adult learners have the freedom to learn on their own. In other words, the adult learners are not only willing to consider other people’s opinions and ideas, but they also have the desire and are ready to acquire and develop those ideas and opinions. They are never content with being in a particular place for long, they always want to move, to learn and to be better than what and where they are.
This should help the teacher of an adult learner to better know what is expected of them and how to relate with their students. First, this understanding will help the teacher in a number of ways: as a good Christian adult teacher, knowing fully well your responsibility to your students, and knowing where and when they help foster academic learning and when they should be left alone, should help make learning an almost stress free process. There will be a good teacher-learner relationship, this makes the whole process smooth and interactive, because the teacher will get to hear his/her learner’s views and ideas concerning certain things. The teacher also learns in this process, because he/she gets to hear different opinion and views from what he/she already knows and this will help give the teacher another and a better perspective of things.
It is important for the teacher to understand the characteristics of adult learners simply because it gives the teacher a perspective on how to relate with his/her students. As a teacher, you have to understand and study your students to better know how to impact and affect their lives first before having an impact in their academic lives.
Some specific characteristics as a student, I come to the learning sphere with is, right attitude to learning. The willingness to want to learn something new, this for me is the essence of the whole learning process. The timing must be right for this to be effective. Meaning, every form of distraction must be avoided and must be in the right mind to be able to comprehend all that will be taught. Another thing is open-mindedness. This has to do with the willingness to accept something new for the purpose of learning. It could be a different ideology of something or opinion of someone about something.
The teacher I believe should be a very good psychologist, with the ability to study and know how and when learning should take place in an academic sphere. Because, like I have said, the timing has to be right, for learning to really take place. Because of my willingness to want to accept new things, the teacher must always be very well prepared. In other words, the teacher must expand his/her knowledge, at least, he/she should know something about everything and should always admit where he/she doesn’t know. That will help instill trust for the teacher, at least he/she is being honest, besides, we both are learners – learning from each other.
This I believe will challenge the teacher to put in his/her best to know and study more. Because as a teacher, it is expected that you know better than your students in most cases. You, as a teacher, should lead, teach, direct, guide and instruct your students in their chosen field of study or as the case may be. If as a teacher you are not up to speed in this regard, then it will pose a great challenge to one’s ability to play out his/her role well.
Saved by grace