What affects outcomes for students in education

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To determine what might affect outcomes for students in terms of education, we will look at a sample of learning theories to determine which teaching methods are most effective, and the challenges it imposes on the teachers to ensure the best outcomes for their students. Essentially in a primary school situation, both the teaching methods and the environment of study greatly affect the outcome for students. Through differentiated instruction teachers can maximise the learning of each and every one of their students.

There are a number of different instruction styles and methods that teachers use to instruct effectively. One method; 'Cognitivism', looks to explore brain-based learning, and theoretically, human minds in most cases can understand the link between a picture and text, this 'understanding process' that takes place leads to learning which is unforgettable and more meaningful. Using technology in education is instrumental in aiding teachers adhere to the needs of the students successfully and push them to their individual abilities. This is supported by the multimedia principle which states that "people learn more deeply from words and pictures than from words alone" [1] (Mayer, 1989).  Nevertheless, it is not effective to merely add words to pictures to accomplish multimedia learning.  During an observation at an Australian primary school, the teachers would regularly balance using visual references (technology included) in collaboration with the theory side of information in their lessons. In order to keep up with the social/economical stem towards technology nowadays it seems that the fundamental goal of a teacher is to instruct including media in addition to other techniques. Another popular method 'Constructivism' sees learning as a situation in which the student is an actively involved in the construction of new ideas and concepts based on previous knowledge from their own experiences. Based on the work of Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development [2] , Constructivism is considered one of the main theories of child development. Developed by psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) in Russia, Vygotsky's Social Development Theory is one of the foundations of constructivism [3] . This theory concludes that each student is not simply a blank canvas where the teacher is the sole provider of knowledge, but instead a student able to use any past experiences or cultural beliefs as a learning tool. Continuous examples of constructivism and cognitivism have been observed exercised in the Australian primary school.

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Inevitably learning styles will differ within each classroom however the three main types of learners that have been observed are Visual, Auditory and Tactile. The best way for Teachers to approach these variations is to teach in a way that is beneficial to each learning style. Teachers who accommodate a range of learning styles in their lessons are more likely to engage their students into learning. There are numerous factors that can influence a students erudition in a classroom, to say this is to also reinstate that "learners are affected by their: (1) immediate environment (sound, light, temperature, and design); (2) own emotionality (motivation, persistence, responsibility, and need for structure or flexibility); (3) sociological needs (self, pair, peers, team, adult, or varied); and (4) physical needs (perceptual strengths, intake, time, and mobility)" [4] This can be seen as quite a challenge for the teachers to keep in consideration whilst also trying to ensure the best outcomes for their students. According to a sample of Australian primary school students, things that positively affected their learning were the classroom environment, the range of ways that they received information and the ability to work in groups where everyone was at a similar level. Children will most likely do better educationally if they have positive outlooks about their school (Kennedy, 1988).

Utilising differentiated instruction means using a range of approaches to enhance learning for all students by involving them in activities in response to specific learning requirements and inclinations. A crucial factor for student success is to understand that these differences can be addressed and used in a way that is more beneficial to learning. During the observation at a Primary school the mentor teacher explained how students were organised into groups according to their different ways of learning. An example of such was seen when working on reading comprehension; students that had a much more accelerated reading level were grouped together, whilst another group consisted of students that were a bit lower with their reading levels, and so on. The teacher explained that if the students were all taught as if they were the same level it would have a negative outcome, but by teaching to meet a variety of levels this outcome could be avoided. In general, a classroom with differentiated learning may seem uncontrollable and chaotic however in reality it is more planned out than it may first seem. On the flip side, whilst a teacher can use differentiated instruction in their classroom, it is quite difficult without support from the school and its administrators. Time should be made available in the curriculum by administrators for proper planning to ensure the best possible results in the classroom. (Holloway, 2000) In essence this 'segregation' is about providing alternatives and not just giving the higher level students more work. (Tomlinson,1996) [5] .     This various research and observation supports differentiated instruction and how it positively affects educational differences and needs of students.

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These teachers had obviously included a variety of different learning styles of students into their lessons, which in this particular observation determined that differentiated instruction was definitely the most effective method to ensuring the best learning outcome for students as a whole. All students deserve the opportunity to be thriving in their individual levels, especially when it does provide a positive outcome for their future.