Teaching strategies with identified educational needs

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There are two very specific areas in which I need to focus on student educational need-below basic students and English learners. Because many of the instructional strategies work well for both groups of students, I have integrated them into the teaching event as part of the lesson plans. As mentioned earlier, forty-two percent (42%) are writing at the 'basic' level, and three and a half percent (3.5%) are writing at the 'below basic' level. With forty-five and a half percent (45.5%) of my students not writing at grade level, the instructional strategies will assist them as they learn the historical context of the civil rights movement and as they write their responses to literature.

Scaffolding is a multi-faceted tool which provides support for the student so that as teachers work through the zone of proximal development with students, students will be successful with those tasks that are beyond their comfort level. Techniques include use of visuals like the photo of Elizabeth Eckford, cooperative learning experiences like the group questions about the text of "Richard Wright and the Library Card," and many others. As students become more competent, some of the scaffolding or support can be removed. Because of the nature of scaffolding, it seems to be an intuitive way for me to teach students-it was chosen for this unit plan because of its flexible nature and because of its highly successful record.

Demonstration or Modeling is one of the most crucial instructional components in all lessons. The key role of the teacher is to demonstrate and model all the behaviors to be learned in the lesson, especially the academic language expected to be mastered by the students, that is, the language of the content areas. All teachers must remember that for most students, and especially for all English Language Learners, teachers are the only role models that students will ever come in contact with for the language of the content areas. In today's world, few parents have the time or the energy-or the knowledge-to discuss the concepts of the content areas using the language of the content areas at home. This practice is a wonderful strategy that can easily benefit all students; in this unit, I employ this instructional practice because students are allowed to see what kind of work they should be creating before they create it. This lessens the student's confusion over what kind of work they need to complete, and because of this, modeling is a perfect way of showing students both how to complete the cube and what the academic language means.

Preview is a technique used by teachers to give knowledge to students about upcoming lessons. The preview can be made either in L1 or in L2 (depending on the students). This strategy makes the lesson input more comprehensible because the student will already have information to build upon. It provides context for the forthcoming lesson. Again, an instructional practice that can easily be used in a non-ELL setting, preview whets the educational appetite. Students, when properly intrigued, may see preview as a kind of torture; however, it does encourage thought about the next day's activity. An additional feature of preview relates to students having a bit of knowledge about the subject prior to instruction on topic. This strategy is one that would be highly effective when teaching responses to literature because it allows students to build on their previous knowledge base.

According to F.M. Collins, the teacher Read-Aloud is an instructional method in which a teacher reads an entire selection or part of a selection out loud to a group of students, often creating a "shared experience." The teacher-directed read aloud has been used to help students succeed in literacy-based reading and writing skills, and is a practice that has been highly respected and implemented by educators for years. Not only is this practice used to assist students' development with various literacy skills, it is oftentimes also used for the purpose of motivating students to independently read and in consequence, enjoy the reading process. Jim Trelease, supporter of the reading aloud strategy and author of The Read-Aloud Handbook (2006), encourages the teacher-read aloud practice to teachers in every grade level. It is widely accepted that reading aloud to students at both the primary and secondary level is beneficial. The 1985 landmark publication, written by R. C. Anderson, E.H. Hiebert, J.A. Scott, and I.A.G. Wilkinson, Becoming A Nation of Readers: Report of the Commission on Reading, made one of the most influential statements in regards to reading aloud: "The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children." Reading aloud to students helps build social relationships between teachers and students as well as students and one another. Students who experience teacher read-alouds can better understand the power of the spoken word and the bond that develops between speaker, oral reading, and audience. Read-alouds also help students to internalize the rules of language as well as improve their understanding of the text. This strategy will be utilized to make sure students have heard and understood the text of "Richard Wright and the Library Card," and to encourage student interest in the story.


Alfie Kohn's 'Beyond Discipline' and his concept of classroom community can play a large role in classroom management because it opens up the communication pathways not only in the student-to-teacher relationships, but in the student-to-student relationships. In this management model, students are no longer objectified and the teaching tends to be more student-centered; moreover, students are encouraged to make real decisions, to be heard and valued for their thoughts, and to work within a democratic classroom community. Students are empowered with a vision of themselves as competent and critical thinkers-challenging the status quo. Kohn's model denies the punisher-punished relationship and asks instead that both the students and the teacher reflect on their own practices in the classroom.

Kohn's model is not unlike the liberation pedagogy that Paulo Freire teaches. Freire states that through dialogue, "The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught, also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow." This philosophy speaks of democracy and equality, of freedom and dialogue, but mostly it speaks of respect and learning.