Opening up to students is very important for teachers. While it is obviously not appropriate for a teacher to confide intimate personal details to the class, or gossip about others to try to be more accepted, there are ways that a teacher can seem more 'real' to the students. For example, crying over something very sad or letting the students know when the teacher is getting angry with their misbehavior goes a long way toward having younger students see teachers as real people. These same kinds of things - made age-appropriate of course - can work well for adult learners, as well.
Many individuals who are a bit older also have trouble connecting with their instructors, because they are uncertain about what is wanted from them, and they may have trouble learning everything that they need to know in the way that it is presented to them. The way that students are taught is so very important to their future, and the way that they learn things must be addressed so that they do not have to struggle as strongly through school, and this is especially true of adult learners who may already be dealing with many other issues as well. Naturally, students can all have different learning styles, which means that not all students in a classroom will respond to a specific style of learning. With this being the case, utilizing many different ways of teaching material to students will allow all of the students to benefit from the lesson, instead of only those students that have a particular, specific learning style.
If teachers are willing to show their adult students that they are real people as well, this can go a very long way toward ensuring that students pay more attention to their teachers. Unorthodox learning is also often encouraged. With respect to the adult learner population, it appears that formal classroom learning can be a real problem. Some of this comes from the fact that not enough studies have been done about the issue, and some comes from the fact that formal classroom learning is something that most adult learners are not sure how to deal with. Many of them have not been to college before, and they are uncertain about what is required of them. Some of them have also been essentially forced back to school because they have to learn more skills for the job that they have or the job that they wish to have.
Because there are so many different reasons that people have when it comes to going back to school later in life, it only makes sense that one style of learning will not work for all of them and that the passion that their teacher has for the subject will affect them and whether they enjoy the learning process. People who enjoy learning generally perform better at it.