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The Role Of The Adult Student In The Classroom

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1033.1 - 6.1033.6

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Paper Authors

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Lloyd Feldmann

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Robert Hofinger

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Many educators frequently lump together the traditional students and the non-traditional adult students as a single entity. However, there is a very distinct difference between the traditional student and the returning non-traditional adult student. In this group atmosphere, the adult student sometimes does not fit in well with the recent high school graduate and is too easily lost or ignored. The role of the adult student is to bring with him/her into the classroom a wealth of experience as well as a wealth of problems. These experiences can be both personal and work related. The injection of their experiences and many times their enthusiasm adds immensely to the flavor of the teaching environment as they can expand the material into new examples and applications. He/she can add to your repertoire a dimension that you may not have thought of. Educators, who do not recognize the multiple benefits brought in by the adult student, can lose many of those assets. Some of the problems of the adult student are not unlike those which the traditional or younger studentfaces;somehoweverareveryuniqueandaredefinitelymoredemanding. Anexampleof the additional difficulty experienced by the adult student would be the need to provide for a family and at the same time gain an education. The determination of the adult student to find time to study and complete homework while achieving equal or higher grades is not lost on the traditional student. The adult students that we have been involved with typically have more incentive to learn. They bring a maturity and focus of purpose to the classroom. They understand the importance and the necessity of the educational process both from a work related benefit and from a personal improvement benefit. This focus makes an impression on the more traditional student, particularly as they work in teams. Here, the adult student becomes a teacher of the traditional student, and frequently a teacher of the instructor. Observations and conversations that we have had through the years with adult students will demonstrate the influence that the adult student can have.

Feldmann, L., & Hofinger, R. (2001, June), The Role Of The Adult Student In The Classroom Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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