The teaching-learning relationship is dynamic and needs to be one of a give-and-take nature. Students are now at the center of the teaching-learning experience and this needs to be taken into account when planning lessons because each student is an individual and not all students learn in the same manner. Adult students need to be responsible for their own learning but it is the teachers that guide and facilitate this process so that they are able to get the most out of their experiences. Each adult has a huge reservoir of experience that they bring to the table which can help them to learn but may also offer obstacles if they have had negative past experiences with education. Teachers need to recognize this and get to know their students so that they can make the course content relevant to their needs and goals. Although adults need to be responsible for their own learning it is the teacher that need to plan effective activities that guide the students through this learning process. Teachers need to be mediator of content, and provide their students with mentoring relationships in which they can best learn in.
I connect with my students using various methods. At the start of the semester I like to hand out questionnaires to my students so that I can get to know more about them. I then try to relate course content to the individual student. I think this allows me to better relate with my students. Another strategy I use is to learn all of my students names early on in the semester. I believe that this allows us to personalize our classroom more and make it an inviting and safe place to learn in.
Throughout the semester I will often ask my students what new and interesting things they have been up to, these do not need to relate to the course in any way. Often by taking 5 minutes at the start of the class to explore something one or more of the students are interested in allows me to again bring that personalization into the classroom. Once a topic is brought up there are often more than just one student contributing to the conversation or asking questions of one another if they’ve peaked an interest in one of the other students. This process allows for collaboration in the classroom and is great at getting the students to connect with one another.