The title seems to sum it up; if you are not including adults learners in your instruction, you are then excluding them, as a result, their motivation to learn is diminishes.
In a previous post, I introduced Wlodkowski’s Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching from his book Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn. This framework creates the conditions where learners are motivated to learn. The first principle in the framework is to establish inclusion. By establishing a climate where everyone is welcome and their input is also welcome, you are establishing a climate conducive to learning.
One theme Wlodkowski repeatedly comments on throughout his book is the need to be sensitive to other cultures. He discusses differences in issues such as immediacy, time, space, and other factors that impact how students participate in a class. Other factors to consider include the relationship between individual work and collective work. As Wlodkowski points out, this can affect the interaction in the classroom. Gender, power, and context can also impact a classroom. All of these variables may unintentionally favor one group over another. Increasing diversity in the classroom enriches the classroom; however, it also complicates communications.
As Wlodkowski discusses establishing inclusion, he lists and details eleven strategies that can be used solo or in combination with other strategies. The list begins with something that has been in virtually every class I have been in, allowing for introductions. To be honest, I typically skip introductions and jump into my lesson, but I am beginning to rethink how I conduct my lessons. Wlodkowski explains that introductions are important to establish trust in the classroom. Wlodkowski stresses the importance of sincerely indicating your desire to help students; being available to assist when needed. It is also important to identify learning objectives for the class. Writing clear measurable objectives is essential for any lesson. You can enhance these objectives by explaining how the objectives tie to the student’s personal lives. This connection can be made easier, if you ask your students why they are taking the course and what they hope to gain from the course. Finally, acknowledge the differences in your students.
Wlodkowski offers other strategies, and I encourage you to explore what he has to offer, it will improve your instruction.