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My student body

When i teach our vocational courses the students tend to be in the age 25-35 group. Most are family men/women that just got out of work to come into class, and most importantly paid good money to be there. Occasionally i get the younger students in the class mixed in with them and usually have their parents paying their tuition.

I tend to notice that the older students that paid out of their own pocket are more focused than the ones that didnt have to pay for themselves (which seems logical).

Would it be wrong to cater to my older students a bit more than my younger ones in class that fit my description above?

Hi Eddie,
You have to be consistent and persistant as an educator. You must treat all students equally. What you can do is create work groups where you mix your populations and allow your more career mature dedicated students to influence your less motivated ones. This model works very well for me as I see an exchange of ideas with these diverse learners.

I agree with Dr. Meers. It is very important to treat all students equally. I have noticed that students show more dedication and tend to be more responsible when they are paying their own tuition. It would be easy to show them more attention in many circumstances, however, the students who need the most interaction are those who need to develop more time management and responsibilty. Discussions and group work will help facilitate positive change related to age or experience.

I love working with the student body I have. we have age ranges 17-70. Most of our population is single moms. I have noticed that as we grow as a college, the more I see the changes beteween student who come out of high school and the students who are considered non tradional. I love the opportunity to talk to the students and "Where they have come from". Most of the students I talk to are survivors. Most student have little to no support system. I work with several students who become mentors for those who ddo not have a support.
I am very careful about boundary issues. One of the gifts I offer students is that I listen. I do not judge. For most of the instructors at our institution, have come from similar backgrounds and can relate to the needs of the students. I enjoy the time I get to spend working with these students. I tell each and everyone of them the feeling of greatness when the walk across the floor to pick up their certificate and the voice calls their name over the speaker. One can't avoid the emotions that get caught up in this day of happiness.

Hi Dagger,
What a great expression of your enjoyment of teaching your students. I know you do a good job and the students know they have an advocate when they need one.
This is why many of us are in the classroom, the reward of seeing our student do well.
Keep up the good work.

I disagree with the esteemed DR.

If I have 30 students:
10 are the cream of the crop.
10 are middle of the learning curve.
10 are the dregs.

If you treat them all equally, the top 10 will get bored stiff, the middle ten will think they need more help, the bottom 10 will be a retention/discipline problem.

IMHO: One must keep the cream challenged or they will spoil, The middle need to be helped by the top and allowed to rise towards the top, and if you are lucky, you might be able to save a few of the dregs!

Hi Thomas,
In reply to fairness, that is meant to mean maintaining the standards of the course for everyone. There are many different approaches that you can use with the different students and their learning preferences. You cannot compromise on the standards of the field since to do so would unfair to the students and to the future employers that think they are receiving well trained and skilled technicians.
You can use learning supports and scaffolds for the different students to keep them engaged and focused on learning. As you say that in each class there is a great variety of learners and their preferences for receiving information.

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