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Statistics indicate 18 percent of Oklahoma’s adult population is categorized at the lowest literacy level, level one, meaning they are not equipped to do things like write a letter or understand a bus schedule. The Digest of Education Statistics 1997 report, published by the United States Department of Education, estimates that 25.4 percent, or 535,203 Oklahomans over the age of 25 have not completed high school.
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Tutor Tips: Twelve Strategies for Teaching Adults
1. Structured Instruction
Break material into small chunks and/or steps. Tell learner what you’re doing; teach each small chunk in order. Keep it simple. Make opportunities to practice. Walk them through the task. Gradually shift responsibility to the learner.
2. Connected Instruction
Show how current lesson relates to previous lessons. Show how current lesson relates to overall goals.
3. Informative Instruction
Be sure learner knows how the learning process works, what is expected of them during the session, and how they will be able to improve. Explain what you hope to accomplish in each session and how you will do it.
4. Explicit Instruction
Give detailed explanation. Use lots of modeling. As you model, describe your thinking and performance.
5. Direct Instruction
Learners need direct face-to face instruction. Avoid independent work until you are sure the learner understands what is required. Monitor all independent work at first, and gradually turn the responsibility over to the learner.
6. Scaffolded Instruction
Connected questions build on the learner’s previous knowledge. What the learner already knows is the step to the next instruction. Ask and answer questions pertaining to current knowledge of the lessons/goals.
7. Intensive Instruction
Meet frequently as exposure and opportunities keep focus and goals in sight. Use interesting material to keep the learner’s attention.
8. Process-sensitive Instruction
Check competence and comprehension frequently. If the learner is experiencing difficulty, come up with a strategy to help. Review frequently and use direct practice.
9. Accommodating Instruction
Prepare opportunity for learners to process information in more than one way.
10. Evaluated Instruction
Base lessons on the assessment of the learner and their responses to previous instruction. Evaluate that goals and lessons are realistic. Later evaluate all activities.
11. Generalized Instruction
Use activities before, during and after information has been mastered to assure learner’s success outside the literacy setting, leading from the classroom to the real world.
Tutors commit to being in for the long haul. Don’t give up. Our students need more time.
Article taken from Promising Practices: What We Learned as Pilot Programs (2003), Published by ProLiteracy Worldwide