Holly Eaton, Communications for NEI, connected with Dr. Lyons to learn more about why she enjoys working for NEI, working with GT learners, and working with adults.
Lyons has worked in education for over 14 years, with 9 of those years focused on GT education. “GT education makes sense to me … it is how I have identified as a teacher, colleague, and administrator. I have truly seen the field from all aspects and feel that it is that perspective that helps to fit the need of all participants in NEI courses.”
Why do you like to teach adult learners?
Making learning relevant is a key point in my teaching. I want participants to see value in what they are learning and that it can impact their teaching practice. Teaching adult learners allows this process to happen naturally, as participants are already in an educational setting, what they are learning can easily be transferred and utilized within those structures.
Is there a difference?
Adult learners are taking a course because they are on a path that they have chosen, therefore the task commitment is extremely high. They see how the additional learning and coursework can benefit their career and teaching practice.
Does working with this group excite you/make you passionate?
To see how the techniques and concepts discussed in classes are directly impacting student learning in Maine. Knowing that some of the content learned in NEI courses are making an impact in Maine’s school is very exciting.
What do you like about teaching courses for the New England Institute?
NEI attracts a unique learner who is self-motivated and dedicated. These two traits have been true in all of my students thus far with NEI, these students want to make a difference and want to learn. Seeing participants satisfied and feeling more equipped is a great perk of teaching for NEI.
How long have you taught G&T courses at the collegiate level/or at an advanced level? Or other collegiate level courses?
I have been in the education field for 14 years, 9 of those years have been in the Gifted and Talented field. I have been a classroom teacher of gifted students, a Gifted and Talented Coordinator, a principal of a school themed around gifted education, an adjunct professor in GT courses, a keynote and session presenter and International, National, and State GT conferences, and have earned a doctorate in Talent Development and Gifted Education…the GT education makes sense to me and it is how I have identified as a teacher, colleague, and administrator. I have truly seen the field from all aspects and feel that it is that perspective that helps to fit the need of all participants in NEI courses.
What would you say/share with an anxious adult learner to help put them at ease?
To try a course! The professionals that NEI works with WANTS you to be successful and we will make any course work for you and your situation. I want my courses to be relevant and useful to those who take them; I feel like that is my obligation to you as a participant. You will find a group of colleagues in the same situation from you and this collaboration will ease any worries.
Can you give some examples of why you feel educators would benefit from taking G&T courses?
Practical application and program buy-in. I feel one of the biggest threats to GT education is the view that these learners just need extra work to stay busy, that is not the case. A GT learner is entitled to learn new information every year and make gains. This means that we need to know how to add rigor, depth, and complexity to their education; not just more work. In my series of courses, participants will gain theory, history, and practical application.
Interested? Dr. Lyons has courses available this spring and summer. Register today and take your learning to the next level:
EDE 527: Educating Gifted and Talented Learners; ONLINE Jan. 25 – April 11
EDE 524: Critical and Creative Thinking; ONLINE March 7 – May 23
EDE 525: Curriculum and Instruction for G&T Learners: Online July 11 – August 22