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Whatever the ultimate taxonomy of learning styles, it seems obvious that although all children can learn, each concentrates, processes, absorbs, and remembers new and difficult information differently.

Attitudes and Beliefs

According to Rita and Kenneth Dunn , the factors involved include the following: Immediate environment—for example, noise level, temperature, amount of light, furniture type, and room design. Emotional profile—for example, degree of motivation, persistence, responsibility, and need for structure and feedback. Sociological needs—for example, learning alone or with peers, learning with adults present, learning in groups. Physical characteristics—for example, perceptual strengths auditory, visual, tactile, kinesthetic , best time of day for learning, potential need for periodic nourishment and mobility.

Psychological inclination—for example, global and analytic strengths. In the most formal model of matching instruction to learning style, teachers first identify each individual student's style through observation, interview, or questionnaire. They share their observations individually with students and parents, and then plan and carry out an appropriate learning program for that child.

The program includes compatible instructional practices and management strategies appropriate to what has been observed about the child's learning style. A less formal approach is to emphasize strategies that capitalize on the styles of most students, while accommodating those whose style differs markedly from the group.

Thus, instruction that attends to learning or reading styles capitalizes on an individual student's strengths and preferences while simultaneously removing barriers to learning. Instructional planning extends to such complementary methods, materials, and techniques as floor games, choices among reading materials and ways of receiving or presenting information, and participation in given activities that is, with the entire class, in a small group, or alone.

Research in learning styles and reading styles indicates that teaching academic underachievers in ways that complement their strengths in style has significantly increased their standardized test scores in reading and across subject areas.

Dorothy had tried for weeks to get her 6th graders to open up in class discussions. After years of traditional teaching, however that is, the teacher asking the questions and one or two students offering "right" or "wrong" answers , her students were predictably passive. They consistently resisted all her attempts to open up her classroom.

On the rare occasions when an intrepid student asked a question in return or dared to offer a comment, the eyes of every student in the room swung immediately and automatically to Dorothy for her verdict: right or wrong? Then, quite by chance, Dorothy happened on a life-sized human figure made of cardboard.

She realized at once that it was the very thing she needed to make her point. The following day, she launched a classroom discussion and popped a direct question to see if any of her students would volunteer a response. Kathy did volunteer—tentatively, of course, and with just a word or two—but her response seemed to the class to merit a judgment from the teacher. All eyes fell in silence on Dorothy.

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Workshops and Keynotes - EdTechTeacher

Without saying a word, Dorothy walked to her closet, pulled out the cardboard figure, and set it in the chair behind her desk. With every eye following her in amazement, she sat down beside Kathy and stared silently at the cardboard figure, waiting like her students for its response. Dorothy was modeling the behavior she saw in her students—behavior she was hoping they would overcome. They got the point! The humor in the situation engaged their trust, demonstrated Dorothy's sincerity as a teacher, and dramatized their responsibility as participants in their own learning.

Learning Journals in the K-8 Classroom: Exploring Ideas and information in the Content Areas

Class discussions began to pick up, and Dorothy found fewer and fewer occasions to pull her cardboard counterpart out of the closet. Most modeling, of course, is intended to work the other way around—that is, teachers usually behave as they would have their students behave. Learners gain when teachers practice what they preach, try out ideas in front of the class, or even participate actively in projects or tasks with the class.

When modeling, teachers—regardless of their subject area—follow the same assignments or suggestions that they give their students: they write on the same topics, figure out the same problems, play the same games, and ask themselves the same questions. And they do so in full view and hearing of their students, often as coparticipants in small-group activities, or one-to-one with a student. The practice is neither demeaning nor condescending. Instead, it dramatizes desired behavior, one of the surest means available to demonstrate process, motivate and guide students, and help develop perspective on a given task or concept.

As a teacher, let your students hear you think aloud. Teachers who share thoughts on how they have completed a certain task or arrived at a particular conclusion help students become aware of their own thinking strategies. Modeling enables teachers to furnish appropriate cues and reminders that help students apply particular problem-solving processes or complete specific tasks—in storytelling, for instance, or inquiry, or evaluation.

Among such techniques, scaffolding is one of the most generic and useful approaches. Scaffolding is a device by which the teacher builds on the point of reference at which a student hesitates or leaves off—in telling a story, in explaining a process, in seeking an answer, in any moment of discourse, analysis, or explanation.

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In scaffolding, the teacher simply suggests the next step, both reinforcing what the student has already achieved and guiding the student to greater understanding or accomplishment. More generally, Costa and Marzano identify seven starting points by which teachers can create a classroom "language of cognition": Using precise vocabulary.

Posing critical and interpretive questions, rather than simple recall. Providing data, not solutions. Giving directions.

Math Antics - Area

Probing for specificity. Modeling metacognitive processes. Analyzing the logic of language. Burroughs outlines specific preferred techniques among those he has seen teachers use to guide learning processes and thus structure growth in understanding and appreciation. The techniques are adaptable to discourse, inquiry, or discussion in any subject area: Focusing—refocusing students' efforts at refining their own responses if, for instance, they begin wandering from the specific content at hand.

Modifying or shaping—rephrasing a student's idea in slightly different language; for instance, if a student suggests that a character in a novel is resisting change, the teacher might add a word or two to encourage consideration of other explanations for the character's behavior. Hinting—calling attention to a passage in the text that challenges a student's view. Summarizing—restating ideas to bring them to everyone's attention and to spur discussion, or summarizing various positions students have taken along the way , pp.

In every course, and especially in content subjects, students should be taught to think logically, analyze and compare, question and evaluate. Skills taught in isolation do little more than prepare students for tests of isolated skills. If any of the ideas at work described in this chapter challenges the conventional wisdom of classroom practice, it is this notion: students, regardless of their performance levels, are capable of using higher-order thinking skills.

This concept contrasts sharply with the attitude and practice of the high school English teacher who, on the first day of school, gave all of her seniors a writing assignment. She collected and corrected their papers; pointed out the various lapses in spelling, grammar, and punctuation; and then used those errors to justify an unproductive, unchallenging year spent reviewing the same sterile exercises in spelling, grammar, and punctuation that her students had seen countless times before.

Speaking and Listening in Content Area Learning

No one condones faulty grammar and inaccurate spelling, of course. At the same time, however and far more important , teachers need not wait until students have mastered basic skills before they introduce the more complex skills of analysis, synthesis, criticism, and metacognition into their classroom routines. The process of gathering information, evaluating it critically, drawing inferences, and arriving at logical conclusions is based on evidence, and evidence can be expressed and recognized by many different means and in many different formats.

Yes, every student should learn to spell accurately, but it is not necessary to know that I comes before E except after C in order to test fairness or bias in an editorial statement or to detect straightforwardness or ambiguity in a politician's promise. Wiggins notes that tests typically overassess students' knowledge and underassess their know-how. Onosko reports measurable "climates of thoughtfulness" in the classrooms of social studies teachers who reflect on their own practices, who value thinking, and who emphasize depth over breadth in content coverage.

Carr and others suggest various ways by which to introduce and pursue higher-order thinking skills in the classroom. For example, using all major news media—newspapers, magazines, television, and radio—motivates students, and comparing different accounts of the same story helps them develop questioning attitudes. While sorting concrete objects is an appropriate activity for the young child, verbal analogies for example, 'How are a diamond and an egg alike?

Brainstorming techniques that aid comprehension … help students to access their prior knowledge about a topic to be introduced, and thus to classify and retain the new information. Children's literature becomes its own powerful tool, Carr concludes, citing Somers and Worthington : "Literature offers children more opportunities than any other area of the curriculum to consider ideas, values, and ethical questions.

Just how seriously should Chicken Little's neighbors have taken her complaint that the sky was falling? Why not? Was it fair for the Little Red Hen to keep all the bread she had baked for herself? How true is it that sticks and stones can break your bones, but names will never hurt you? Why does a rolling stone gather no moss? If water is heavier than air, how do raindrops get up in the sky? How does science differ from art, music from noise, wisdom from fact? Multiculturalism doesn't mean what it used to mean in education in the United States.

Adding a speech by Martin Luther King Jr.


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Teaching multiculturally throughout the curriculum is more than simply an attempt to combat racism. The more important aim of studying human cultures in all their diversity is to understand what it is to be human. Unfortunately, such study has too often been skewed to a single perspective while more inclusive perspectives have been labeled as somehow disloyal to the American tradition.

The fact that racism is so prevalent in American society has until recently led many theorists to concentrate primarily on the study of specific ethnic groups, on their characteristics and unique contributions to the more general culture—usually described from a Euro-American or Anglo-American point of view.

By contrast, the history of the United States is actually the history of all the cultures that it comprises. Until recently, multicultural education has focused mostly on minority groups, even though Euro-Americans and Anglo-Americans also spring from a culture that was not originally and purely "American.

Classroom instruction in a multicultural context is enhanced when it involves students in learning about themselves first—through oral history projects, for example, in which children involve their parents, grandparents, and other older, living adults who can relate information about family backgrounds and histories. Shared in the classroom, such information becomes a powerful tool both for identifying similarities among students and for highlighting how they differ from one another in positive rather than negative ways.

In short, teaching multiculturally cultivates a school culture that celebrates diversity; supports mutual acceptance of, respect for, and understanding of all human differences; and provides a balanced viewpoint on key issues involved in such teaching. It provides students with a global, international perspective on the world in which they live.

It seeks to eliminate racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender stereotypes and to resolve or ameliorate problems associated with racism and prejudice. And it underscores the importance of teaching ethics, values, and citizenship in promoting the democratic heritage of the United States. The student report card is no longer the primary measure of success in schooling.

The general vocabulary of education in the United States now includes a whole range of assessment terms: adequate yearly progress, SAT, standardized tests, norms, criterion references, outcomes, portfolios, and on and on. Little wonder that teachers and administrators feel pressured by the demands of "assessment" and harried by the clamor and misunderstanding that surround the term today. Various modes of assessment yield critical and useful information to inform and shape tools and methods that promise to improve academic achievement. Among the answers are to determine the following: If objectives have been achieved.

The knowledge and skills that students have acquired. Areas in which the curriculum needs improvement. The effectiveness of a teaching process or methodology.