Jim Berger, Associate Professor, Special Instructional Programs
Many of you have already faced students who are not like the typical 18-22 year old students we most often see in our classroom. These students, known as non-traditional students, are those that don’t fit the mold of the “regular” student because they may be working full time, be married or a parent, be older, poorer, have a disability, or come from a family that has not experienced college before. Because they face different issues than traditional students, this group is often identified as non-traditional students, or “non-trads”.
The focus of this discussion will be on the characteristics of non-trads and how to work with them in your classrooms. One of the things they face that traditional students don’t normally have to face is the high demands of outside life in addition to college. Working, parenting, or married students often face external demands of their time that at times conflict with the academic and social demands of college life. On a positive side, non-trads bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom and can bring a real-world view to the often abstract information they are learning.
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