"Beginning in the 1970s, America began to focus on the challenge of education students with differences in the public school system...The challenge is that the school system is trying to shoehorn many different types of learners into a “traditional” classroom model, which is only accessible to a minority of learners, who are generally considered “advanced” or “gifted”. While the “advanced” learners excel in a traditional classroom model, which caters to only one type of learning style, many different kinds of learners are left behind." Click here to read more of my research on Differentiated Instruction.
How Did I Get Here...
6th grader learners, who are on multiple learning levels, working on a group project. -May 2016
Want to know your learning style? Click on the image above to find out what type of learner you are.
Want to know more about my process? Check out my blog by clicking the image below.
Five years ago, as a new teacher, I sought out advice from my more experienced colleagues on how to reach a class full of students who were on many different levels. I kept receiving variations on the same advice: "Individualized curriculum." To my newbie eyes, this just looked like a variation on tracking in the classroom. There were "A" students and "C" students, and I had to create separate lesson plans to work for both. After a few years, I noticed that "C" students always seemed to stay in the same groups. They had little interaction with the "A" students. In larger group discussions, they remained quiet or offered goofy counterpoints to their "brainier" peers. The "A" students were always the first to try to answer questions, and had a hard time hearing voices that weren't their own.
One day, I gave a group of 6th graders a test on learning styles. The objective of the lesson was to teach a very diverse group that they had more in common than they thought. When I reviewed the results, I discovered something interest. The top student in my class was primarily a visual learner, just like the least successful student in my class. Yet, due to traditional differentiation, these two rarely interacted. Another "A" student tested as a very kinesthetic learner, yet he was an "A" student and I had never promoted anything remotely like kinesthetic learning. If there were so many cross sections of learning styles, why couldn't I create one set of lesson plans that appealed to the various learning styles, and gave them more opportunities to interact? It was with this in mind that I entered the Touro Innovative Learning Masters Program.
Roles In Classroom
The role of the teacher is not to be the "all knowing fount of wisdom" at the front of the classroom. I view my role as that of a facilitator. I want to put my students in a position to learn all that they can and achieve the objectives of each unit. The role of the student is that of an explorer. I will give you the tools, but you must learn the skills of how to use the tools so that you, the student, can achieve your learning goals, in my class and in life.