Methods of Teaching Adults: Dialogue and Explanation Methods

This article explores the dialogue and explanation as teaching methods in Adult Education. Adult education usually involves one-on-one conversation in order for them to understand concepts.

Dialogue Method of Teaching Adults
Dialogue can get out of hand unless ground rules are set. These ground rules might include; learners raising their hand and wait for permission to air their views and not  jumping in and giving views which in most cases might result in noise, or the other ground rule might be for the learners to wait until they are picked upon by their teacher to express their views. It is also important to ask solicit opposing view-points which encourages participation (Reinsmith, 1994).

Dialogue doesn’t have to be confined to the classroom. The internet offers wonderful opportunities for additional dialogue. The Internet allows us to extend cooperative problem solving outside of the immediate community of adult learners to a multicultural community.

Explanation Method of Teaching Adults
Explaining as a teaching method in adult education is form similar to lecturing. Lecturing is teaching by giving a discourse on a specific subject that is open to the adult learners, usually given in the classroom. This can also be associated with modeling whre by this is used as a visual aid to learning. Adult learners can visualize an object or problem, then use reasoning and hypothesis to determine an answer.

In a lecture a student has the opportunity to tackle two types of learning. Not only can explaining (lecture) help an adult learner through the speech of the teacher, but if the teacher is to include visuals in form of overheads or slide shows, his/her lecture can have duality. Although an adult learner might only profit substantially from one form of teaching, all adult learners profit from the different types of learning. (Brookfield 1986).

There are various methods used in teaching adult learners the major ones has been discussed in this article. However there are various other methods that can still be used to teach adult learners this include Scaffolding which involves empowering students with their own authority for instance giving a task which they need to accomplish. Praxis which involves the idea of doing while learning, constructivism is another method for teaching adults where learners gain deep understanding when they act on new information with their present knowledge and resolve any discrepancies which arise.

Brookfield, S D. (1986). Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning, Jossey-Bass
Publishers, San Francisco, 1986

Reinsmith W.A. (1994). Two Great Professors: Formidable Intellects with Affection for
Students, College Teaching, Vol. 42, No. 4, Fall.