Whether you’re a teacher or someone who’s looking to share some knowledge with people of an older generation, knowing how to teach older adults is a specific kind of skill. While children seem to soak up every bit of information they can, teaching something new to older adults can present a different type of challenge. Luckily, anyone can learn something new, as long as they have the right mindset and the right teacher.
So to help you in becoming the right teacher, here are three tips for teaching something to an older generation, be it your own grandparents or a friend in a senior living community.
Go Low And Slow
As people age, their ability to hear can be compromised. This can make hearing well enough to learn something new a difficulty. But if you know this as a teacher, you can find ways to work around this.
To do this, you’ll want to go low and slow when you’re teaching your older students. If you can, try to make your voice a bit deeper when you’re talking, as these tones are usually easier for older ears to pick up on. Additionally, if you’re used to speaking fast, you’ll want to be sure that you slow down when speaking to older students. Give them time in between what’s being taught so that they can really hear and understand before you move onto something new.
Find Ways To Apply What They’re Learning
For younger students, connections in the brain between what’s being taught and what they already know can happen almost automatically. But for older students who maybe haven’t been taught in a more formal setting in a while, you might need to find ways to help them make these connections.
One of the best ways to do this is to help them find ways to apply that they’re learning. If you’re able to, try to use their personal life experiences to help them see the new things they’re learning in a more familiar way. This can help make the entire process much easier to manage.
Encourage Them To Ask Questions
Many older students grew up in a time where asking questions of their teacher wasn’t something that was encouraged. Because of this, you might find that some of your older students won’t stop you with questions, even if they have them.
To overcome this, try to think of ways that you can encourage your older students to ask questions. Try to discuss with them what you’re teaching to see if you can suss out where gaps might still exist. And if you can, try to stop for questions at very regular intervals so that you don’t get too far ahead while previous principles still aren’t being grasped.
If you’re going to be teaching something to an older demographic soon, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you do so successfully.