Betsy Stoutmorrill: L2A Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners

Adult learners can improve their literacy skills, but the challenge for tutors is figuring out the most important skills to teach.  Before beginning that first lesson, I suggest that adult learners need to understand and experience self-determination. L2A offers the tools to do just that for diverse learners.

Understanding each factor is fairly easy, but the challenge is designing a lesson that presents the relationships among the factors.  Is there a sequence that truly presents the relationships among these factors?

Doing this activity in a small group helps us see the complexity of the relationships among these factors and the challenge — and potential — for helping adult learners gain self-determination. The activity ignites big discussions and tough questions: Can someone be proactive before knowing how to plan? Does someone reflect and readjust before valuing herself or after?

All that’s needed is a large sheet of paper, some markers, or sticky notes — and a little bit of self-determination!  Each time I provide this training I see amazing creative models for self-determination.

One group simply presented a blank page and the factors printed on 3X5 cards. They plan to create a representation with each adult learner — every learner designs a unique representation of self-determination!

Not only is that a fantastic idea, but it also is an excellent way to use the L2A concept of explicit instruction: I do; we do; you do.  This teaching strategy lets adult learners experience the concept of directing their own learning through modeling and practice.

Imagine picking “self-awareness” and modeling for the adult learner your thought process in through the “I DO.”  Thinking aloud about who you are… Drawing or using pictures to represent your talents… Listing weaknesses and ideas for improvement…

Think of working in equal partnership with the learner in the “WE DO” to explore her own self-awareness.

Picture encouraging the student in the “YOU DO” to choose the next factor and take you through her process.

Teaching literacy skills is the focus of what we do, but if we can build self-determination we have done more than teach literacy skills.  We have empowered the adult learner.

To view Betsy’s L2A webinar, follow this link.

RESOURCES: L2A http://lincs.ed.gov/programs/learningtoachieve/learningtoachieve.html

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