How Is Teaching Adults Different From Teaching Children?

Teaching is truly a wonderful profession and it opens up a lot of possibilities in today’s culture. You can work in schools, work online, make online courses, or create tutorial videos. Meaning, if you are good at teaching something people like, then you should be able to reach your relevant audience. 

However, when we say teacher we usually think of someone who teaches a class, which is probably the most demanding form of teaching. Moreover, the age of students also dictates the teaching methods one must rely on to present the lesson. Here we will explain why teaching children is so much different from teaching adults. 

Developing vs. Developed Brains

Children have brains that still develop and are much better at knowledge acquisition. We can clearly see this with language. A child that is constantly exposed to multiple languages from a young age will be fluent in all of those languages. This is because our brain structures and neurons are very active during that time.

By continuously relying on those structures our brain recognizes them as relevant.

Moreover, the structures that we don’t use remain underdeveloped and are marked as irrelevant. This is why picking up a new language at an older age is difficult. The existing structures are well rooted and we constantly rely on them when processing information. In other words, our mind isn’t as elastic as it is from a young age.

Lack of Discipline  

Although adult students are not as good at acquiring new skills they are more disciplined and often more motivated. Children learn a lot by trying to mimic the behavior and are very often confused about their identity and what they want. They are absorbing the world around them and it’s hard to focus on the task at hand.

Adults are not like this for the most part. They are highly motivated and more disciplined, but due to their learning capacity can often be more discouraged. Meaning, if they don’t perform well they might start to think they are wasting their time.

Kids on the other hand can perceive school as a nuisance, as it’s a responsibility imposed by their parents. If they are failing at learning new stuff, it’s mostly due to lack of trying or interest, not because they lack learning potential.

Motivation and Hard Work 

Bear in mind that hard work will almost always beat natural talent. There are extremely motivated adults who can succeed in mastering new skills. They are fully aware that their learning capacity has lessened but they don’t allow that to hinder them. These tend to be the best students as far as teachers are concerned. 

The same behavior can be found even in younger students who wish to excel in a particular subject, but are for some reason not particularly good at it. This is likely because we have several types of intelligence or mental acuteness for particular things. We can’t be naturally good at everything and tend to pick those fields where we feel we can excel the most.