The field of education is a fast-paced and quickly evolving area. With the innovations now allowed be technology, and the newly discovered learning theories involving students and teachers, education will never be the same. For returning students, particularly adults, it can be both a positive and a negative prospect. Adults returning to education will face many challenges, such as becoming familiar with new classroom techniques and technology. However, they will also reap the benefits of a staff that can cater to their learning style, which is something that was not provided for them in their youth. Despite the challenges they will face, there are a few things that schools can do to provide returning adults with the help they need to acclimate to their new surroundings.
According to “Returns to Education for Those Returning to Education: Evidence from Australia,” there are many benefits to adults returning to education . For example, many become more familiar with technology, and how to use it in a classroom setting. Instead of using the internet only for social network and searching the web, it can become a tool of knowledge. Catherine Dawson’s, “The Mature Student’s Guide: Essential Skills for Those Returning to Education or Distance Learning,” suggest that the most beneficial thing for returning students to do is approach their education with an open mind . The restrictions and boundaries of education that returning adults knew as children no longer exist, and faculty are better equipped to meet the needs of students. This may seem abrasive at first, but it will prove beneficial for returning students .
There are some issues returning students may experience when they reenter the school system. For instance, Julia Gorges and Christian Kandler explain that memory loss may be an issue depending on age and memory plasticity. This is an issue that can be addressed through mental exorcises, but only to a point. The returning student may have to work extra hard in order to make up for what time has taken away. Adjusting to new methods, such as the use of technology, or new practices in the classroom, may also be a struggle, as stated in “Does Age Matter? Informal Learning Practices of Younger and Older Adults.” Some returning students are not willing to accept new methods, when they have become so deeply used to the ones that were used for them as children and teens. Getting used to the curriculum, as well as new information in subjects such as science, can be challenging.
Some of the issues that adults will face will need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Individuals who find new information difficult to accept will need to learn that things change. However, some of the issues can be addressed very easily, with a study skills class that helps the returning student prepare themselves for the new classroom, as suggested in, “Starting from Ground Zero:" Constraints and Experiences of Adult Women Returning to College.” While the article is primarily abour returning women, the authors are quick to point out the method would work for men, as well . A study skills class with assignments pertaining to new technology would not only allow students to get used to school again in a non-threatening environment, but it would also introduce them to new methods of teaching, and help them learn how to use the new innovations they will be expected to know about, also. This simple class can also begin to flex the individual’s memory and help them understand which areas need to be worked on when traditional classes begin.
In sum, though returning to school may appear difficult, it is not impossible. Many good things can come of it. Returning to school can broaden one’s horizons, as they learn new information and are introduced to new methods of technology, as well as education. There will be obstacles to overcome, such as any memory issues, resistance to change, and any struggles that may arise concerning adaptation. Luckily, many of these issues can be solved by slowly introducing the returning students to school via an introductory study skills course.
Chesters, Jenny, and Louise Watson. "Return to education for those returning to education: evidence from Australia." Studies in Higher Education, 2013: 14-23.
Dawson, Catherine. The Mature Student's Study Guide: Essential Skills for Those Returning to Education or Distance Learning. Boston: Constable & Robinson, 2014.
Deutsch, Nancy, and Barbara Schmertz. "Starting from Ground Zero:" Constraints and Experiences of Adult Women Returning to College." The Review of Higher Education, 2011: 477-504.
Gorges, Julia, and Christian Kandler. "Adults' learning motivation: Expectancy of success, value, and the role of affective memories." Learning and Individual Differences, 2012: 610-617.
Vermeylen, Laurie, and Scott McLean. "Does age matter? Informal learning practices of younger and older adults." Journal of Adult Education, 2014: 30-39.