Case Study: Adult Learning

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Helping Adult Learners Prepare for State Contractors Exam

By John Beasley

How do I use the Game Show Presenter at Brevard Contractor's School? A little background. The state of Florida exam is two days, nine hours a day. So what I do is give a two-day seminar, eight hours a day, and show the clients — students — how to solve problems.

In theory, they have watched the seminar on DVD and or listened to it on CDs or read the cliff notes-type manual that summarizes the 12 books used on the state exam. Having said that, the first half of the day is review, what they need to know, which I review in flash card — Power Point format.

"The Game Show Presenter is perfect because it takes their minds off what is at stake and allows them to focus on solving problems."

Then after lunch, we solve problems for 4 hours a day, just like they will have to do on the exam. The big difference is that we are solving problems as a group so members of the group help each other. I use the Socratic method. I don't have any answers only methods for solving problems.

I put in the game show and project it on the wall and say, ok, no pressure, you've got 8 minutes to answer each question. The game format eases the tension, and it gets them working together. Something happens once they realize that they are not competing against each other and that, in fact, all of them can pass this exam. Furthermore, if they help each other, they are more likely to pass the exam. The stress level in the room drops.

As they begin to help each other, they gain confidence in solving the problems for themselves. It's the same logic as the little red school house days where all the grades were in one room, and the older children helped the younger children. I'll wager the older children gained more from that experience than did the younger children who were being taught.

The rhythm of the game show, the animated host's humor, the super model, everything is perfect for my audience, and within 20 minutes we are simply playing a game. This program is perfect for teaching heavy content material. As for the stress level, keep in mind that if these men and women pass the state exam typically they go from making $12.00 or so an hour to making on average $64,000 dollars a year. There is so much to gain, and there is such desperation to "make it" in life.

"Other than putting my seminar on DVDs, the Game Show Presenter is the best investment I have made for Brevard Contractor's School."

The Game Show Presenter is perfect because it takes their minds off what is at stake and allows them to focus on solving problems. Every time I give a class, I ask what was their favorite part of the class; the answer is the game show, and they report that when they are in the exam, they keep remembering playing this game of solving problems. It seems to work, I have the lowest cost school in Florida, and about the same success rate.

Other than putting my seminar on DVDs, the Game Show Presenter is the best investment I have made for Brevard Contractor's School.

John Beasley is instructor and owner of the Brevard Contractor's School.


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