Teaching and Training Adults – Do You Have What it Takes?

Teaching adults can be one of the most gratifying experiences in the world. And there has never been a better time to think about a career in teaching or training adults as many people look to up-skill and retrain, creating a demand for qualified teachers and trainers. Over the past 15 years we have become a world leader in the training of teachers for the adult sector and would like to share some of this information and tips with those of you who may be thinking of a career in teaching. The information and tips may also be useful for those already teaching adults as it is cutting edge research, incorporating the latest scientific and psychological findings related to good practice in teaching and training adults.

Do you have what it takes for teaching or training adults?

This article focuses on on a fundamental question you should ask yourself before starting out, ” Do I have what it takes?” Not an easy question to answer if you don’t know what your looking for, but let me help. While I’ve already said above that teaching and training adults can be a most gratifying experience, it can also carry with it a lot of responsibility, so it’s important that you save yourself any embarrassment and be sure that it’s for you.

The PEAK test

We’ve developed an acronym at the Irish Academy that helps identify four of the main characteristics that form the foundation of excellent teachers and trainers, it is the PEAK acronym and stands for

Passion, Enthusiasm, a willingness to help others develop, and Knowledge. Much of the research would indicate that these characteristics are what makes the difference between good teachers and excellent teachers. Lets have a brief look at them individually.


Passion can be the inner emotion, or feeling, which we associate with something we adore. A feeling that gives rise to commitment and actions and can inspire us from the moment we wake up. Without it, our efforts to teach or train others can become lifeless, and manifest in our physical behaviours and actions. Much of the Academic research, and research we have conducted at the Irish Academy, would show that the excellent teachers and trainers talk about this “inner feeling” that drives them towards wanting to share knowledge and skills to help others develop. The “inner feeling” that they talk about is passion


Enthusiasm is mainly portrayed in physical behaviour, as educators enthuse about their subject. Its the physical outpouring of eagerness and enjoyment, evident in teachers and trainers who present information in an animated fashion. It can be demonstrated through their body language in facial expressions, hand gestures and interaction with their learners as they engage them in their subject matter. An enthusiastic educator is much more likely to inspire and motivate their learners.

A willingness to help others develop

It is said that a willingness to help others develop can be one of the strongest beliefs and motivators for our existence on earth. It is one of the beliefs which I have adopted into my personal and business life, and to date it has not let me down. A willingness to help others develop, can be carried out in many ways, but I have chose to do it through the medium of training and educating so as to empower others and help learners towards realising their goals and ambitions. I find it is a key trait in many of the teachers and trainers who train at our college. A willingness to help others develop rates highly on the reasons why people choose a career in teaching or training adults.


Knowledge of the subject you are teaching is crucial to building rapport with, and gaining the respect from learners. This may sound like an obvious pointer but its amazing how many lecturers can underestimate its importance. Knowledge can also be key for building your confidence, as you are ‘confident’ when entering the classroom that you can answer any questions and deliver the information that your learners need to know. However, there’s a flipside to knowledge. Too much of it, and delivering information beyond what the learners need to know. Some lecturers can be guilty of ‘showboating’ and trying to impress learners with all the knowledge they’ve acquired. Information to learners should be delivered at a ‘need to know’ level and relative to the aims and outcomes of the related programme or workshop.


Thank you for taking the time to read this and I do hope you found it helpful.

If you are interested in teaching or training adults our next parttime programmes (Sundays, evenings or weekdays) commence in February, March and April. If you require any more information please visit http://www.teachertraining.ie