Monday, September 2, 2019

Experience With and Benefits of Nontraditional Students in the Classroo

There are only a few times in my undergraduate experience that I remember being in class with much older students. At that time, most of the older students were auditing classes because they could do so tuition free. They, therefore, would be in the class sessions except on exam days and they were not expected to turn in any of the assignments. This fact somewhat bothered me at the time because it made them seem as if they were receiving preferential treatment, although such was not the case. The most salient memory I have of a non-traditional student was a class called Comparative Government in which we studied the governmental structures of the United States, Great Britain, Russia, China, and West Germany. There was a student in his 70s in this class. He was garrulous and, unlike the rest of us, remembered many of the things that had happened in the histories of these countries. For instance, he could recall the division of Germany and the Communist takeover in China. I remember one day in class when he became particularly talkative. Three things stand out in my mind about this occasion: (a) the annoyed expression on the professor’s face; (b) the aggravation I felt at his endless and irrelevant droning; and, (c) the comment a classmate made in the hall, â€Å"Someone should put that poor old fool out of his misery.† In another class in German history, one classmate was a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict and naturally had strong feelings about communism in general. Although this student was only 10 to 15 years older than the rest of us, he had experienced things that the traditional student had only read and heard. One day in discussion, the subject of the division of Germany was broached. This stirred a lively and im... ...ices, 43-51. Retrieved from ehost/pdfviewer/ pdfviewer?sid=ea53e279-aa56-41c9-8269-edc2077884f5%40sessionmgr10&vid= 5&hid=25 Ross-Gordon, J. M. (2011). Research on adult learners: Supporting the needs of a student population that is no longer nontraditional. Peer Review, 13(1), 26-29. Retrieved from Skopek, T., & Schuhmann, R. A. (2008). Traditional and non-traditional students in the same classroom? Additional challenges of the distance education environment. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, X1(1). Retrieved from ~distance/ojdla/spring111/skopek111.html Wlodkowski, R. J. (2008). Enhancing adult motivation to learn: A guide to improving instruction and increasing learner achievement (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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