From the media, I notice that values that students see in a good teacher are normally caring, patience, respectful and appreciative. Every human being is unique. Thus, as teachers to-be, we should not expect all students to have the same response to certain learning strategies. In fact, students' diverse intelligence gives them the opportunity to learn from each other. It also helps teachers to continuously evaluate and improve on their teaching methods and strategies to become better teachers. To suit the students' different and various learning styles, abilities and intelligences, I believe by offering a wide range of learning strategies could develop them to their full potential and enable all students to be active learners.
As teachers, we have the responsibilities to help students know their strengths. Leave no stone unturned. When teaching basic skills within the framework of meaningful lessons, most teachers of inclusion classes found that all students can obtain better understanding and learning. Such lessons allow students to relate personal experiences and knowledge with the material. They also simulate critical thinking and inspiration in the students.
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School is a community of learners. Student when working hand in hand, being part of the community, usually go to advance stage of happiness learning. In a class full of rapport and support, skills and abilities of individual student are often recognized and valued by one another. Academic successful is not the only standard for who is "smart". In a class, there are students with multiple intelligence and unique abilities. When each other learns about the differences, they tend to drop negative attitudes or defined ideas about learning disability, dysfunction, difficulty or difference (LD) student. In order to loosen LD students' anxiety about their academic results, teacher should create a learning environment which treasure participation more than results for supporting and cooperative activities. This would enhance their confidence as there would be positive respect for their participation, rather than results, in the community of learners.
Thus, for me, the most important value in creating an inclusive learning environment is acceptance, followed by the values of patience, tolerance and perseverance. Teachers have to first accept that all individuals are different and remain open to teachable moments that unite the class as a community. Through diverse strategies and cooperative activities, we enable students to learn about their own and their classmates' intelligences and unique abilities. Modeling by teacher who "shows instead of tells" sets a standard that students want to emulate. (July Willis, 2007) We should also reflect and improve on our classroom practices according to the observations made in the class from time to time.
Describe the profile of a class that you are likely to be in charge of at the beginning of the school year.
Primary 3/30 student/27 students haves average ability. 3 students have reading difficulties; 2 of them stay away from most interactions with peers and teachers.
With that class in mind, based on your personal pedagogy, what will you do to create an inclusive learning environment in that new class during the first two weeks?
I will first set some rules and routines for the students to follow so that the class is not to be interrupted. Next, I would think about how students should be seated. Students who have reading difficulties will be seated at the front row. With this seating arrangement, they would feel more comfortable as teacher could attend to them immediately whenever they have doubts during the lesson.
Peer interview is an interactive activity that would be introduced in the first lesson to build connections. Students arranged in pairs interview each other to discover interests and talents. Students then share findings with the class. This would enable student who have a common hobbies or interests to mingle together. This interview serves as a platform for new students to make friends.
Students would also list their areas of expertise, such as academic, artistic, physical, dramatic or social in cardboards. Those cardboard enable students to be aware of the degree of talent in their classroom. Inclusion and self-esteem of students who may not perform as well as their classmates academically would be increased as their unique talents would be recognized and valued by classmates.
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Each day, some time would be allocated to consider one or two students needs and interests. Within few weeks, I would have few types of strategies which students might be responsive for all challenges.
I would try to make the learning relevant and meaningful by relating the academic information to the students' experiences, goals and interests. Tool and tactic such as stories and narrative lessons would be used to help students relate to the new material. If student can relate to the new material, they will be more able to process and retain it as memory. (Judy Willis, 2007)
Cooperative learning, which has the same effect as the cardboard activity, will also be carried out in the subsequent lessons. However, for reading activities, instead of grouping the mixed abilities student, the 3 weaker students will be grouped together. They will be given differentiated worksheets that suit their abilities.
After years of painful school experiences, students who are with learning difficulties might be unwilling to take up challenges again. Through daily observation and assessments of their strengths and learning styles, I will help them set realistic and achievable, yet challenging goals. Next, I will work with them to draft out a step-by-step plan to achieve the goals.
Sometimes, students might be overwhelmed by the amount of information given in class. When the scaffolding and teacher supervision is removed, students might be confused, especially for the students who with LD. Thus, I suggest having them keep personal learning logs and start their homework, reports and projects in class. This could provide students with structure that they can build on at home. For the three students, I might need to provide them more concrete material and structured, sequential instruction and practice.
For the 3 students, I would need their parents' cooperation in assisting their children to preview the materials for the following day's lesson. They will be more comfortable and confident if they preview the basics of the lessons before class. Gradually, students would be able to preview the materials on their own.
Rubrics and formative assessment help students examine their progress toward their goals. Generally, rubrics include several criteria. Students might score low for certain criteria. However, the final score would be even out if they also score high for other criteria. I would comment along with rubric ratings to let students know what they are good at and the areas in which they can improve. Formative assessment such as peers comment, ask for oral responses and peers editing during lessons is another way of helping students monitor their progress and adjust their strategies and action responsively.
Students would have fruitful and meaningful experiences as learners when teacher provides them a cooperative and supporting environment for learning, allowing them chance to practice and build on their cognitive skills. When students' goals are achieved, they would realize that their own efforts are worthwhile and powerful. Newly developed confidence and self-esteem for students encourage them to behave better and perform well academically and socially.