Teaching Adult: My Experience in Attending Diklat Kewidyaiswaraan Berjenjang Utama

When I was informed last week that I had to take another training for my rank advancement, I told myself that I would be alright. Last year I took Diklat Kewidyaiswaraan Berjenjang Madya, and the materials are almost the same as what I am taking right now at Pusdiklat Kementerian Dalam Negeri, except that this time there is an added course focusing on training consultation (the previous was focused on how to perform a research). For me, repeating a similar course over and over again is fine, for I can meet various facilitators with different approach
The participants of this training are mostly the same as my last-year classmates: senior trainers! What I learn more now is that adult learners are fundamentally different in many ways. And most facilitators have been left to their own devices to figure out how best to reach us who come to class with an entirely different set of challenges, demands and expectations, and generally at a much different level of maturity. Well, although my classmates were mostly older than me, I can name only a few that are really mature as their age, LOL.
What I want to share you all is things that should be kept in mind for a facilitator who will teach adult or even senior learners. Here they are:
• Treat participants like the adults they are. My fellow trainees are generally as sophisticated and experienced as the facilitator, and they benefit from realistic examples of skills they have experienced. That is why most facilitators use discussions to engage all participants.
• Be efficient with lessons and activities. Our class motto is “Move fast and don’t waste anyone’s time. We are on a training but we still have jobs to do, children at home and tons of responsibilities. We hate a course without information and useful activities. Our facilitators may be strict yet flexible, I mean diligent in his or her teaching goals and expectations, but so understanding about busy lives, illness and working late.
• Be creative: Teaching adults like in my class should be engaging and even entertaining to some degree. We have done various activities like paired discussions, small group discussions, singing together, group project, drills, debate, and so on.
To me, the key success in teaching adult learners is all facilitators must able to create a better environment for them, no matter what the subject material is.

Speaking Good English at Work

Have you ever seen the old movie My Fair Lady? There’s Professor Higgins’ song at the Covent Garden scene. This was the scene where he castigated the English people for not speaking English the way it should be spoken. It is unfair to judge a person by the way he speaks, but that is what exactly most people do. We, in Asia, are not very different.

The only difference is that we are not so much concerned with the accent as we are with grammar. We are put off by bad grammar or language that is laced with too many colloquialisms. We are also turned off by people who overuse American slangs or punctuate their sentences with four-letter words.

When someone is ungrammatical, we usually classify the speaker as being poorly educated. When local slangs are used frequently, we think that the speaker is from a lower social class. On the other hand, someone who speaks grammatically correct sentences and uses the exact words to state precisely what he means, impresses us as being educated and well read.

The executive who wants his bosses to notice him should be more than just capable of stringing two words to make a sentence. When one can use a language well, one is able to communicate well. If he has difficulties making himself understood, how can he be trusted to lead other?

There is only one way of improving one’s English—by reading widely. This is not only help the executive become familiar with the usage of the language, it will also increase his vocabulary.