Learner Differences

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Learner Differences

  1. 1. Learner Differences Tammy Chiang Module Response
  2. 2. Prompt #2 <ul><li>First, describe your experiences with ability grouping. Then, describe how you have differentiated instruction in your classroom in conjunction with ability grouping. Also, describe how you have used technology in your classroom in conjunction with ability grouping and discuss new ways that you think you could use technology after reading the module and after learning about the many tools you've been exposed to over the past few months. Discuss whether the information in the module supports your experiences with ability grouping. In this section, refer specifically to information from the modules and provide examples that would exemplify your thinking. Finally, think about and describe something you plan to try in your classroom based on the module (refer to the module in the response) and discuss why you think it might work in your classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Dornisch's Professional Growth and Scholarship Modules </li></ul>
  3. 3. Ability Grouping (1)  <ul><li>I’ve never been a fan of ability grouping, here’s why… </li></ul><ul><li>Inconsistent evaluation of ability - Who determines a student’s ability? What scales and formats are being used to categorize ability? Unless every student comes from the exact same educational environment and was evaluated under the exact same conditions using the exact same assessment - then it is not fair to group students with inaccurate data. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Ability Grouping (2)  <ul><li>I’ve never been a fan of ability grouping, here’s why… </li></ul><ul><li>Reality of Social Stigma - As much as educators like to think we’re clever in our methods of grouping, every student know whether he/she is in the “smart” group or the “stupid” group, the “good” class or the “dumb” class… there’s no escaping the stigma around ability grouping. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Ability Grouping (3)  <ul><li>I’ve never been a fan of ability grouping, here’s why… </li></ul><ul><li>Becoming trapped in the wrong group - What if a student had a bad day on IQ testing day and got into the wrong class? Due to the mess involved with switching classes (schedule conflict, seat limit in each class, number of sections offered, etc.), many times students are stuck! On the other hand, if a student was tested into an accelerated class in which he/she doesn’t belong, its my experience that parents will not approve a switch down into a “regular” class - once again, the social stigma that comes with every “group” is undeniable. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Ability Grouping (1)  <ul><li>Although I dislike ability grouping, I do recognize its theoretical advantages… </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate level of instruction - Teachers can meet the needs of students more specific to the group’s ability - When I give extra help to a group of students on the same ability level, I do not feel like I have to rush through the material in fear that I would lose the interest of my advanced students. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Ability Grouping (2)  <ul><li>Although I dislike ability grouping, I do recognize its theoretical advantages… </li></ul><ul><li>Constructive interaction with peers - Rather than feeling lost or bored in a mixed ability group, students often have a more positive relationship with their peers in a specific ability group (especially if everyone in the group are truly similar in their abilities). After the student realize that he/she is not at an obvious advantage or disadvantage, he/she is more likely to strive for success because all of a sudden, its not an impossibility. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Ability Grouping (3)  <ul><li>Although I dislike ability grouping, I do recognize its theoretical advantages… </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation to advance into higher ability groups - Often times, students will experience success in appropriate ability groups because they are working among others just like them. Thus the success in a particular group often becomes a strong and intrinsic motivation for the student to move onto a higher ability group. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Differentiated Instruction (1) <ul><li>In my classroom… </li></ul><ul><li>I often start a lesson by giving outlines, stories and facts to stir the interests of the students - for example: telling 7th graders about the American spy Nathan Hale who was caught and hanged for treason. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Differentiated Instruction (2) <ul><li>In my classroom… </li></ul><ul><li>Then I would bring my students to the library, where they are in a spacious area surrounded with various forms of resources (computers, encyclopedias, books, atlases, audio tapes, etc.) - the assignment would be to find a American Revolutionary hero or heroine and learn his/her story. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Differentiated Instruction (3) <ul><li>In my classroom… </li></ul><ul><li>In this project, students have a choice of various elements that will maximize their learning - e.g. perceptual, psychological, environmental, etc. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Differentiated Instruction <ul><li> Disclaimer about my classroom  </li></ul><ul><li>In reality, I do not have the luxury of time for differentiated instruction. The most valuable resource I have is the special education teachers and teaching assistants in my room, who often repeat directions, paraphrase examples and reemphasize key concepts to individual students with different ability levels. Although I would love to differentiate every lesson and project, many times I have to settle for the best methods to reach the majority of my students and depend on other educators in the room to accommodate the different needs of students if necessary. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Technology and Ability Grouping <ul><li>After reading the information from the module and having been exposed to various tools in the the past semesters, I can imagine technology playing an integral role in conjunction with ability grouping. </li></ul><ul><li>VoiceThread - allowing students to verbally express and demonstrate learning rather than writing. </li></ul><ul><li>MindMeister - allowing students to graphically organize series of events, cause and effect, action and reaction, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>SecondLife - allowing students to create a virtual environment rather than simply describing it with words on paper. </li></ul><ul><li>GoogleEarth - allowing students to visualize location, physical structure, geographical dimensions of a specific place on earth. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Theory vs. Reality (1) <ul><li>The information given in this Learner Differences Module.. </li></ul><ul><li>made me aware of the fact that there’s a lot more elements in learning styles than I thought I knew </li></ul><ul><li>confirmed my belief that it is a difficult task to “group” an individual because there are too many combinations of needs and too many different variables at play. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Theory vs. Reality (2) <ul><li>The information given in this Learner Differences Module.. </li></ul><ul><li>taught me the difference in field-dependent and field-independent learners which I’ve never been clear about ( descriptions & guidelines ) </li></ul><ul><li>inspired me to be more aware of the different possibilities of learning preferences in my students and next time I encounter a student who is failing in the current system, I will have the knowledge to explore psychological elements (impulsive vs. reflective), environmental elements (soft vs. dim lighting), physiological elements (am vs. pm) - all of which I would have never considered. </li></ul>
  16. 16. In the Future… <ul><li>I was quite intrigued by the difference between field dependence and independence. The characteristic chart given by Garger and Guild was so interesting and for the first time I realized that I have a combination of these characteristics in my classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>So I was most interested in the different teaching styles that would best accommodate these two types of learners. Why not combine discussion with lecture? Why not use both student-centered and teacher-organized activities? </li></ul><ul><li>Lastly, I was excited to see that even the methods of motivation is different for each type of learner. In the future I want to try to get to know my students better, using these new found “lenses” - so I can notice what type of praise each student respond to, what type of reward system encourages progress, etc. </li></ul>

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