Accomodating different learning



Keywords: taylor & francis, routledge, social science, education
Description: The Art of Teaching Science emphasizes a humanistic, experiential, and constructivist approach to teaching and learning, and integrates a wide variety of pedagogical learning tools. These tools involve inquiry and experimentation, reflection through writing and discussion, as well as experiences with students, science curriculum and pedagogy. Becoming a science teacher is a creative process, and this innovative textbook encourages students to construct ideas about science teaching through their interactions with peers, professionals, and instructors, and through hands-on, minds-on activities designed to foster a collaborative, thoughtful learning environment.

I accommodate students with different learning styles in my classroom by using different modalities, which include auditory, visual, and tactile components. Each teaching unit is a composite of lecture, written work, large and small group discussion, audiovisual, and laboratory activities. I generally use activities, which involve all of the students one way or another. One other thing that I would add is this. There is some flexibility built into participation. For example, following group work students may do an oral presentation or a written presentation using the blackboard. For homework, they may elect to write out their objectives or cross-reference the objectives with the notes. This is a more efficient approach for those students who learn better by listening than by writing. Some students also benefit from reversing the teacher-student relationship by working in after-school study groups where they act as tutors. Some student mentors come to realize very quickly that teaching is a form of learning.

I use a variety of materials and approaches in my classroom to help accommodate differences in learning style. I use visual aids when presenting orally, to help both the visual and auditory learners. I also help my students understand their learning styles by teaching them about the "true colors"--personality and learning styles characterized as blue, orange, gold and green learners. This study helps them in group-processing, since it promotes understanding and appreciation of differences in learning styles.

At the beginning of each semester I give a learning styles inventory to determine each students' learning style. I then use that throughout the semester to place students in groups and to develop activities suited for each student/learning style.

My method for accommodating students with different learning styles usually begins with establishing a rapport with the student; this aids in my acquisition of information about their individual strengths and weaknesses. Once I have determined who learns best visually, as opposed to the tactile or kinesthetic I make sure that these components are integrated into several parts of my unit lesson sequence. I teach 90 minute blocks, which is an eternity for 8th grade students to sit, so I make sure I combine lectures with visual, tactile, experiential learning opportunities.

I've come to use a multitude of instructional methods in my classroom. At times content is introduced in a traditional fashion of notes and discussion, while other times, students are given an opportunity to explore online simulations or small group activities. I use a variety of graphic organizers and/or flipbooks to organize the content in a way that is meaningful to students.

Accommodating students with different learning styles is a necessity. Students who are visual learners are provided with pictures, diagrams, charts, and graphs, and when possible students are asked to construct pictures, diagrams, charts, and graphs. Visual learners must be placed in front of the classroom, be given detailed notes or handouts, and like content or pictures on overhead transparencies. Visual learners must see the importance of a concept in order for it to have any relevancy. Auditory learners must hear the content. If a video can be found for a particular subject, I find it helpful for both visual and auditory learners. I also find that auditory learners prefer lectures and class discussions. A class discussion, linking the technology to the current content, followed by group work, adds clarity. Because class time is very limited, I find it necessary to pair auditory learners when they are conducting reading strategies, like note taking. These learners help each other to read through the content and identify important details. Some learners require movement and touch. For these learners, hands-on activities are indispensable. Sitting in class, without any movement, is taxing for these students. The laboratory experience provides these students with an opportunity to explore and manipulate the physical world. I have found that matching my students' learning style to my teaching style helps to eliminate boredom and inattentiveness.

I choose a range of learning activities that can challenge the more gifted, excite the average, and allow the less capable some success. Each unit of work would encompass a range of tasks, designed to offer students alternative pathways to learning.

I try to plan and construct lesson activities that are constantly in a directional movement or "flow" from one particular learning style to another. Individual learning styles are not fixed, like still pools of water. Maximum brain-mind stimulus is more a style of learning that is symbolized by the water movement in a small country stream. the liquid patterns are observed to be in constant oscillating motion. In the classroom, there are, say 25 different "stream" patterns of thought emanating and synergizing. The only real common denominator is that there is a pendulation or "back and forth" learning flow of attention. Like the bubbling brook, the brain is constantly jumping here and there, picking and choosing between modalities of information, input, such as symbolic, visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and so forth. I try to juxtapose my lesson activities to this mental movement, moving through at least three, and sometimes up to six different instructional modalities within a 50-minute period.

I try very hard to incorporate choice whenever possible in assignments. I give the students creative control over format, presentation, etc. I have found this really engages them in each assignment and allows them to express themselves. In addition, I try to address all learning styles within my classroom. I typically give an assessment at the beginning of the semester to find out what styles the learners are. If the students are struggling especially I can tailor the remediation that I do to their learning






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