Back to Class

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Okay, so the last time you studied Burt Reynolds was Hollywood s hottest property, or Vanilla Ice was set to dominate the world of hip-hop, and you may be a little worried about hitting the books again Never fear, here are some handy tips for making the most of your return to education. Starting with the most obvious

Show up for every class
It can be extremely tempting to fall into the habit of missing classes. Those with children, a high-pressured job, or an addiction to Coronation Street or the Champions League are most at risk. While it is reasonable to miss the odd class due to other responsibilities, try and get to as many classes as possible and you will reap the rewards. Borrowing notes from classmates is no substitute for hearing the teacher speak in person, and being in a position to ask questions about issues that you are struggling to understand. In addition, you will miss out on the practical, hands-on element of classroom learning.

Sit up the front
With only other adults in the room, there s not much cred to be had in appearing coolly disinterested at the back of the class anymore! Sitting up the front offers the basic, but extremely useful advantages, of being able to read the teacher s blackboard/overhead presentation, hear what they he/she is saying, and more easily engage in questions and debate. All of which add greatly to the learning experience.

Ask questions
Many adults who return to education suffer from an initial lack of confidence. Be reassured that the classes listed in the National Education Database are designed for adult learners; meaning teachers are well used to students who are not quite sure what is expected of them and may struggle initially with the subject matter. They will welcome and fully attend to all your questions, no matter how silly or insignificant they might seem to you. Bear in mind however, that questions that do not pertain to your classmates can be just as easily asked before or after class.

Seek the support of family and friends
A quiet space to study at home is a must. Organise a dedicated time and room for hitting the books with the help of whomever you live with. You are not to be interrupted unless the house is on fire! Make sure your study space is adequately heated and comfortable, so that you can concentrate fully on your reading. A nightcourse is only as productive as the work you put into your study and assignments.

Form a study group
Many, but not all, adult learners study more effectively in a group scenario. They thrive on verbalising their problems and learning from the opinions and approaches of their classmates. Another major benefit of the study group is avoiding procrastination, the bane of every student sitting alone in front of their books with the TV sitting invitingly in the corner! By offering each other advice and encouragement, group members spur each other on in their studies.

Do more than what you re asked
Not everyone enrolled in a nightcourse is in to promote their career, but for those who are, there is a lot to be gained from doing more than just attending class and doing your assignments. Time permitting, and if you have a real interest in the subject, don t limit yourself to the core reading list; use the opportunity to explore the topic and you will acquire a more rounded knowledge. Adult education is essentially independent learning, and you will find it a much more professionally and intellectually rewarding approach. As an adult, you are free to set your own learning goals over and above the qualification at the end of your course.

Search for part time adult education courses on Nightcourses. com.

Frank Bolger

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