Five Things That Impede Learning in Adult Women

In my world of teaching adult women in an informal setting, the number one characteristic that impedes learning is spreading oneself too thin.  Women today don’t know how to say “no.” Doing everything at the same time, they’re moms to young children, they volunteer at their children’s school, they lead the children’s ministry at church, they lead home Bible studies in the evening along with their husbands, they commit to serving on the women’s ministry team…and then they decide to get a part-time job to make ends meet.  Doing their Bible study ‘homework’ never seems to get done, therefore, they often show up for class unprepared and have a difficult time connecting with the content of the week’s lesson on a significant level.

The second characteristic I often see that impedes learning is using the wrong abilities.  Because women cannot say no, they quickly jump in to meet any need that arises, giving little thought as to whether or not they have the ability to do what is required of them.  Eventually they begin to realize they might be in the wrong place, so they quit, often feeling like a failure.  This has a huge impact on their learning because of the internal anxiety this produces.

Distractibility is also an issue I see all the time.  In our world of rapidly flowing information via electronic gadgets, it’s difficult to even hold a conversation with someone without being interrupted.  I have observed that many of our younger women lack the ability to concentrate on anything for very long.  I learned a long time ago that if I was going to keep their attention and keep them coming back to class, the first thing that needed to go was the 45-minute lectures!

The inability or unwillingness to see the forest for the trees seems to impede spiritual growth in many of us.  Many of my learners are so focused on the events of the day that they fail to look at the big picture to learn what God might be teaching them in their life.

To little self-confidence impedes many women’s learning.  We’re not really sure about this, ‘thinking differently’ stuff!  We’re too afraid to step too far out of our comfort zone for fear we’ll make a mistake or do something wrong.  It’s much safer to stay right where we are. As their teacher, I try to be patient and realize that we all learn by taking baby steps.  I found that praising them for taking baby steps gives them confidence to take another and then another.

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