Tips for Counseling Adult Learners

What support could an adult learner possibly need? Why do they seek counselling? What issues face adult learners? These are questions you need to address when counselling adult learners.

Adult learners have loads of real life experience that can be applied to their learning, they have high motivation because they are learning by choice. All in all adult learners probably appear to have it all together and in little need of your counsel. This is not always the case.

Adult learners face the same fears as their younger counterparts such as fear of failure, fear they will not understand the course work or what is required of them, and faded or jaded motivation and simply not feeling good enough to stay the course.

When counselling adult learners it is entirely possible that your client will be older than you and wonder why on earth they are seeking advice from someone who obviously lacks the same amount of experience as they do. You need to address this concern up front. If your client has more experience than you say so simply and matter of factly and at the same time let them know that you can help them.

Listen to what your client is saying as well as to what they are not saying. A declaration such as. “I just can’t cope with the course work. It is too hard.” May be a way to hedge around the fact that home life is in crisis and they feel they need to concentrate on that. Ask relevant questions about homelife as well as course work.

Help your adult learner to see the possibilities and get them to tell you why they started the course. Use this as a reference point for them.

If children are an issue for your adult learner then perhaps seeking practical information to help with child care issues or time out while a parent studies can be arranged at minimal cost.

Adult learners often feel out of place in lecture halls and classrooms full of freshfaced young people. They may reach a point where they question if their desire to learn is silly or simply too late in life. Perhaps they are struggling with technology. Whatever the issues your adult learner is facing giving them reassurance and information will help, enabling them to find their own answers and to feel strong enough to dive back into their studies enable them to improve the quality of their life!