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Instructional strategies for diverse learners

When developing instructional strategies for diverse learners, it is suggested that '"teachers learn to consider both student and content factors" and "learn to collaborate using a variety of teaching approaches as well as technology." (De La Paz, Hernandez-Ramos, & Barron, 2004). Before engaging the technology resources often available to aid in assignment completions, students will often benefit from learning basic concepts needed for success in the preparation of a specific lesson plus specific study and problem solving methods available to learners with differing learning styles. Summarize and analyze concepts and principles related to developing curriculum for diverse learners. Evaluate and argue the benefits of using specified instructional strategies for diverse learners.

There are four Basic Learning styles - Sensing Thinking, Intuitive Thinking, Sensing Feeling and Intuitive Feeling. They have such practical use since they were presented. They can be easily observed in a classroom by teachers, thus, making it practical and logical to use. Learning styles according to Dunn (2000), is the way in which each learner begins to concentrate on, process, and retain new and difficult information. It explains why the same teaching method has different effects on students. The same teaching method could be effective for some and ineffective to others. Sensing Thinkers use concrete, practical approaches to learning. The Intuitive Thinkers use conceptual and innovative approaches, and are oriented toward theories and meanings. Sensing Feelers use their imagination to see things that cannot be seen by the senses. Intuitive Feelers uses intuition along with feeling.

Teacher’s awareness of each child’s learning style in his or her class make it easier to think of teaching strategies that will surely make an impact on the students. Understanding learners as unique individuals with different learning styles and intelligences would require a lot of considerations. Foremost is the teacher’s understanding and knowledge of each child in the class. She must consider each student’s strengths as well as weaknesses. Constructing a learner’s profile must be done first with the help of the student themselves (Silver, F., Strong, W., and Perini, M., 2000) Because the students’ individually is given importance, students may find it easier for them to learn the concepts and skills being learned. Strengths are emphasized while weaknesses are being harnessed. Identifying the weaknesses is also important to come up with a coping strategy until the concept is fully mastered. As Dunn (2000) claimed, “Given responsive environments, students attain statistically higher achievement and aptitude test scores in matched, rather than mismatched treatments.” With this assurance, students can attain the high standards set.

References

Dunn, R. (2000). Learning styles: Theory, research, and practice. National Forum of Applied Educational Research Journal, 13, (1), 3-22.

Silver , H. F. , Strong, R. W., and Perini, M. J. (2000). So Each May Learn: Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/cms

Question #2: Research Methods and Critique Question

Evaluation methodology is a form of qualitative research. Charles and Mertler (2002) describe evaluation research as being used to determine the worth of a program or curriculum that has been put into place to serve a particular purpose. Select a program recently implemented in your work environment and design a study to assess its worth using one of the qualitative research methods. Your paper should describe your selected method and explain why you believe it to be the best approach given the nature of your study.

Program evaluation is defined as “the systematic collection, analysis, and reporting of descriptive and judgmental information about the merit and worth of a program’s goals, design, process, and outcomes to address improvement, accountability, and dissemination questions and increase understanding of the involved phenomena” (Stufflebeam & Shinkfield, 2007,p. 710). Various program evaluations have been designed since they are deemed fundamental in helping organizations determine the needs, outcomes, budgetary issues, etc. of different programs for these to continually improve. The researcher will use the CIPP Evaluation Model (Stufflebeam & Shinkfield, 2007) to guide the program evaluation. The acronym CIPP stands for context evaluation, input evaluation, process evaluation, and product evaluation. Developed by D. L. Stufflebeam, the CIPP evaluation design employs a logic model to describe the program’s elements. The logic model has been used in education since the early 1970s, and represents a plausible and sensible model about how a program will work under certain environmental conditions to solve identified problems (Bickman, 1987).

The Logic Model is the core of a certain program’s planning, evaluation, program management and communications. It holds together everything a program was originally designed for, from its goals, vision, resources, activities and intended outcomes in a way that is logical to its purpose. The study to be designed will follow its evaluation approaches to test and verify the reality of the advisory program of a target school and how it works. It will help the researcher focus on appropriate process and outcome measures (University of Wisconsin-Extension, 2003).

CIPP Model of Program Evaluation Is the process of delineating, obtaining, providing, and applying descriptive and judgmental information about the merit and worth of some object goals, design, design, implementation, and outcomes to guide improvement decisions, provide accountability reports, inform institutionalization/ dissemination decisions, and improve understanding of the involved phenomena (Kellaghan & Stufflebeam, 2003).

The CIPP Model is a simple systems model applied to a program evaluation. It can be the basis for a convincing story of how the program can be expected to perform (Wholey, Hart, & Newcomer, 1987). The CIPP goes through four stages in the evaluation of programs. The first stage of Context evaluation assesses the needs and problems of the program and how goals set are being met. It identifies what needs to be done for improvement. The second stage of Input evaluation assesses the organization’s budget and staffing and sees how effective resources are being used. The third stage of Process evaluation assesses how plans are being implemented and if the activities done produce positive outcomes for the stakeholders. The fourth and last stage of Product evaluation assesses the outcomes of the program and checks if initial goals have been fulfilled (Stufflebeam and Shinkfield, 2007).

The researcher chose the CIPP Model of evaluation because of its long-term effectiveness in evaluating education programs (Kellaghan & Stufflebeam, 2003). A decision-focused approach to evaluation, the model is intended to make evaluation directly relevant to the needs of decision makers during the different phases and activities of a program. The CIPP model will assist the researcher in identifying and validating useful information for judging decision alternatives.

Furthermore, employing this model will assist reviewers of the program evaluation in making informed improvements to the program. The researcher will conduct this formative evaluation for the purpose of improving portions of the advisory program. A formative evaluation in the CIPP model is used to assist in decision making, and in monitoring and judging activities for systematically gathering and evaluating information (Stufflebeam, McKee, & McKee, 2003).

The CIPP Model provides key stakeholders--such as school officials, teachers, students, and community supporters--with a picture or "roadmap" of the program: how it is intended to work, the theory and assumptions that guide it, the flow of activities, and how desired outcomes are achieved. Use of the CIPP Model will allow key members of the program to focus on how effective the program is and what changes are needed for improvement (Chung & Ho, 2009).

The CIPP Model evaluation method includes monitoring the program’s activities and obtaining specific information for programmed decisions through description of the evaluation process (Stufflebeam et al., 2003). The researcher will use surveys, individual interviews, and focus groups as the data collection methods for this evaluation.

References

Bickman, L. (1987). The functions of program theory. In L. Bickman (ed.) Using

program theory in evaluation. New Directions for Program Evaluations, No. 33

Chung, S., & Ho, P. (2009). Quality teaching and learning: A quality assurance

framework for initial teacher preparation programmes. International Journal of

Management in Education, 3, 302-314.

Kellaghan, T., & Stufflebeam, D. L. (2003). International handbook of educational

evaluation: Part 1. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishing.

Stufflebeam, D. L., Mckee, H, & McKee, B. (2003). The CIPP Model For Evaluation.

Retrieved January 23, 2011, from http://www.wmich.edu/evalcts/pubs/

Stufflebeam, D. L., & Shinkfield, A. J. (2007). Identifying and assessing evaluation

opportunities. In Evaluation theory, models, and applications (pp. 453-464) . San

Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

. University of Wisconsin-Extension (2003) Enhancing Program Performance with Logic Models, Available from lmcourse@ces.uwex.edu

Wholey, J., Hart, H., & Newcomer, k. (Eds.). (2004). Handbook of practical program

evaluation (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Question #3: Professional Application

Part of being an effective instructor involves understanding how adults learn best. Compared to children and teens, adults have special needs and requirements as learners (Lieb, 1991). Knowles (1980) supports this concept by suggesting that adult instruction should focus on process rather than rote content. Examine the literature on adult learning theories to identify characteristics and special needs of adult learners. Utilize these concepts to justify various teaching methods and strategies that can be used in education.

Malcolm Knowles (1980; 2007), known as the Father of Andragogy or adult education has formulated his own Andragogical Theory of Adult Learning as the art and science of helping adults learn. It is organized around the notion that adults learn best in informal, comfortable, flexible and nonthreatening settings. Andragogy is also differentiated from Pedagogy, which is childhood education, the kind most people grew up with. Thus, education is defined as “an activity undertaken or initiated by one or more agents that is designed to effect changes in the knowledge, skill, and attitudes of individuals, groups, or communities. The term emphasizes the educator, the agent of change who presents stimuli and reinforcement for learning and designs activities to induce change.” (Knowles, Holton & Swanson, 2007). This definition gives a more communal flavor to the definition of learning, as it indicates that the learner adapts to the knowledge, skill and attitudes of the group he belongs to.

Change is evident in learning. The agent of change is the educator or teacher, who is responsible in stimulating learning to effect that change in his learner. The more person-centered thinkers like Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow and Malcolm Knowles share a humanistic view of education, and are specifically concerned with adults who are taking their second chance at it.

In the humanistic view, adult learners are assumed to be motivated to learn as they are more conscious of its benefits. They experience needs and interests that learning satisfies. Their orientation to learning is practical and centered on their own lives. Adults value experience as the richest resource of learning, that is why they have no hesitations learning something while they are engaged in a new experience. “Nearly all adult education is voluntary. Educational activities must meet the needs of as adult learners in order to survive”( Ellias & Merriam, 1980, p.135).

Adult learners have a deep need to direct their own learning, possessing a pride and learning style that suits their own personalities. As people mature, individual differences increase with age. Accepting these assumptions of how adults learn, Carl Rogers (1969), a humanistic psychologist further details the process of humanistic learning. He claims that the learner is personally involved in a holistic way. His or her feelings and cognitive aspects are deep into the learning experience. Even when the learning stimulus comes from an external source, the sense of discovery, of reaching out, of grasping and comprehending comes from within. Rogers also emphasizes that learning makes a difference in the behavior, attitudes, even the personality of the learner. This is consistent with the definition of learning presented earlier. The learner is aware whether his learning meets his personal need, whether it leads toward what he wants to know and whether “it illuminates the dark area of ignorance the individual is experiencing. The locus of evaluation resides definitely in the learner.” The essence of learning for the adult learner is meaning. When learning takes place, the element of meaning is built into the whole experience. Ellias and Merriman (1980) concur, “the truly humanistic teacher respects and utilizes the experiences and potentialities of students”(p. 125). He gets his cues from his students in order for his class to be more productive.

Focusing on the person and how he perceives the learning experience is the heart of the humanistic view of adult education. More than the concepts or skills he acquires through the activities designed around how he learns, “the emphasis of the humanistic educator, however, is not upon the works of the past and the values these possess, but on the freedom and dignity of the individual person that is highlighted in this tradition” (Ellias & Merriman, 1980, p. 109).

References

Ellias, J.L. & Merriam, S.B. (1980) Philosophical Foundations of Adult Education.

Krieger Pub Co

Knowles, M. S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education: From pedagogy to

andragogy. New York: Cambridge Books.

Knowles, M., Holton, E., & Swanson, R. A. (2007). The Adult Learner, Sixth

Edition. New York: Butterworth-Heinemann

Rogers, C.R.. (1969). Freedom to learn: a view of what education might become.

Columbus, OH, Charles E. Merrill.

Question 4: Ethical Considerations

Gardner (1993) stressed the need for creating inviting learning environments, total engagement in learning, working in groups, learning in meaningful contexts, and encouraging the development of each learner’s intelligence. Based on a review of the literature on multiple intelligences, evaluate its use in middle school classrooms. Create a list of best practices for applying Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences or create examples of assignments using Gardner’s intelligences in a middle school mathematics classroom.

The Multiple Intelligence theory has motivated educators and ordinary people to think that each person has a giftedness that makes him special in his own way. Research on MI has spread like wildfire, critically dissecting every angle and application.

Basically, Gardner claims that intelligence is not limited to the cognitive domain, as traditionally conceptualized. He views it in a much broader sense to include the individual’s affective, social and creative domains. He has come up with a number of intelligences a person possesses within him, as follows:

Linguistic intelligence – this has to do with how a person uses words to express himself well verbally or in print. Some people just have a natural flair for speaking or writing and keep their audience in awe of the language they use and how it influences them. This intelligence is exhibited by motivational speakers, preachers, orators, writers and journalists.

Logical mathematical intelligence – this is what is usually studied by cognitive psychologists and educators, how the mind works with logic, reasoning and mathematical accuracy. This is very much related to critical thinking and analytical skills. Gardner calls it the traditional scholastic intelligence which was given too much focus in schools and intelligence tests.

Musical intelligence – this is the ability to create, perform and appreciate music. Gardner rates this equivalent to the other intelligences and refuses to call them mere talents, relegated less than intelligence. This is exhibited by composers, musicians, singers and musical critics or reviewers.

Spatial intelligence – this is the capacity to visualize and concretize how things will turn out from the way it was planned, and to accurately estimate space allocations. Such intelligence is displayed by architects, artists, photographers, aviators, navigators and surgeons.

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence – This is the ability to solve problems, express oneself or achieve a lot of goals using one’s body. Not everyone can be as limber and well-coordinated in doing so, unlike dancers, actors, mime artists, athletes and craftsmen.

Interpersonal intelligence – involves good interpersonal and social skills. The ability to understand, motivate and relate to people from all walks of life. This is essential to businessmen, teachers, psychologists, politicians and government or religious leaders.

Intrapersonal intelligence – this is one’s capacity to understand oneself and being comfortable in introspection. Not many people can be mature enough to accept one’s weaknesses, strengths, desires and fears and make the most of it. This intelligence is displayed by priests, monks, and highly matured and wise advisers.

Naturalist intelligence – this intelligence bonds an individual with nature- knowing and being able to distinguish plant and animal creatures from one another and being able to feel and predict changes in the environment. This intelligence also helps one survive in the jungle. Many biologists and environmentalists possess this intelligence in abundance.

Gardner admits that he is still trying to figure out the ninth intelligence which he calls Existential intelligence. This is the ability to question one’s existence in the universe, and deep pondering on existential issues such as death, love, conflict, the future of the planet, etc. This philosophical intelligence is yet to be declared as a valid addition to the accepted list of multiple intelligences due to its vastness and complicatedness and likewise the issue of its relation to certain regions of the brain.

The point that Gardner wants to put across is that people possess not one but many intelligences, with one or more dominant in each person. No two people have exactly the same intelligence profile. Some may be proficient in one thing and deficient in another. These intelligences are only as good as how individuals use them to their advantage.

Gardner’s theories were borne out of his research in developmental psychology and brain-based learning theories. He found connections between certain regions of the brain that were responsible for specialized intelligences. His findings deviated from long-held theories on intelligence – that there is one intelligence encompassing all thinking processes.

A century ago, psychologists believed that general intelligence is inherited from biological parents, and that intelligence is not alterable. In short, what you were born with, you have to live with, as that is as good as it gets. A person’s intelligence may be measured by IQ tests and more recently by examining the shape of one’s brain or analyzing a chip on which genes are encoded.

Gardner found that such a theory of intelligence discounts the existence of the creative, affective and interpersonal sides of a person which are essential to his survival. In including these, he found the concept of intelligence to be more complete, although not accurately measurable. It is only recently that tests on multiple intelligences have been conceptualized and used to cluster people together according to their abilities. These tests cannot be compared to the standardized intelligence tests in which each score measures a particular aspect of one’s intelligence, but only give the test-taker an idea of where his or her dominant intelligence lie.

The consideration of other intelligences other than the logico-mathematical and linguistic intelligences traditionally emphasized, renders Gardner’s claims to be controversial. On one hand, the view that intelligence is inherited and therefore unchangeable becomes much argued. Gifted children are borne of normal, average-intelligence parents. Normal children’s intelligence may improve or not, based on their developmental growth experiences. Intelligence may likely be affected by the stimulation they get as children. Research has proven that the quality of exposure of children to rich, hands-on experiences may alter how they think.

On the other hand, scholars question the scientific value of Gardner’s theories. White (2004) argues, “Gardner's examples of high levels of development in the intelligences reflect his own value judgments. He has in mind the achievements of selected poets, composers, religious leaders, politicians, scientists, novelists and so on. It is Gardner’s value judgments, not his empirical discoveries as a scientist that are his starting point”. This belief is greatly influenced by the use of scientific methods and sophisticated statistical analyses to unearth truths. Until now, claims not backed up by intensive empirical research are vulnerable to criticisms.

Gardner argues…”There have, of course, been many efforts to nominate and detail essential intelligences, ranging from the medieval trivium and quadrivium to …the philosopher Paul Hirst’s list of seven forms of knowledge... .. The very difficulty with these lists, however, is that they are a priori …. What I am calling for are sets of intelligences which meet certain biological and psychological specifications. In the end, the search for an empirically grounded set of faculties may fail; and then we may have to rely once more on a priori schemes, such as Hirst’s. ….” (Gardner, 1983, pp. 61-62).

In essence, Gardner is saying that his conceptualization of each intelligence is indeed backed up by much research too as opposed to mere theories that need to be tested out.

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences has impacted education ever since it was publicized. It has been liberating to finally accept that all people have something to excel at, and being smart above the rest is not limited to those who do exceptionally well academically. Schools have adapted Gardner’s views of searching for competencies that each student is strong at and maximize his potentials for such skill so he gets to join the circle of the “smarts”. Some schools have simplified the intelligences to capture children’s interest in their own intelligence and motivate them to optimize their gifts. Terms such as “body smart”, “music smart” or “people smart” are held in equal esteem as “word smart” and “number smart”. That way, no one feels left out and self-confidence is generally boosted. It is comforting to think that if one has an aptitude for music, for instance, and is weak at math and science, then he can still excel at something creative and non-academic. For teachers, knowing the special intelligences of their students will enable them to adjust their teaching methodology accordingly. Math and Science may be taught using strategies that involve music, games, literature, and the like. It also makes learning so much more fun because aside from the variety of experiences the students encounter, it considers every student’s intelligence profile. Ideally, it creates a stimulating learning environment that is conducive to optimal learning and full development of human potential.

Gardner envisions his ideal of what schools must uphold: “Education in our time should provide the basis for enhanced understanding of our several worlds – the physical world, the biological world, the world of human beings, the world of human artifacts, and the world of the self.” (Gardner, 1999, p.158). In attempting to develop most, if not all of an individual’s intelligences, one is close to realizing Gardner’s vision. His “frames of mind” theory complements his multiple intelligence theory. In sum, he labels five frames of mind as disciplined (academic mastery of knowledge and skill); synthesizing (decides which ideas blend together in useful ways); creative (charting into new, unexplored territory); respectful (acceptance of diversity and adjustment to a variety of backgrounds) and ethical (stemming from one’s deeply held principles that serve the wider society). Blending all of Gardner’s theories may enable the world to come up with a better generation of intelligent and caring human beings..

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