Understanding Students and Their Diverse Educational Needs
An important point to consider in the planning of teaching methods to be adopted by a teacher is the diversity that exists among the students. Diversity is witnessed in different perspectives including age, gender, culture, and other forms of social diversity. If diversity is not considered, then the overall output of the teaching process will be undermined. It is evident that in any class, the abilities of each student to learn and understand a concept differ significantly, ranging from the very slow learners to the faster learners. In the first place, teachers need to identify these individual weaknesses so that more effort can be put to help the disadvantaged students to cope up with the rest.
The Strategies That Promote and Enhance the Learning of Students with Different Educational Needs
Proper time management
The first step towards managing diversity is identifying the diversity that exists in the educational needs of the students. A good way of identifying diversity in the educational needs of students is ensuring proper time management by both teachers and students. If a teacher can spend much time with the student, then the individual educational needs will be identified and fulfilled. On the other hand, poor time management can pose challenges to teachers and can make teaching a very demanding and stressful career (Capel et al, 2005, p.32).
Proper time management will entail ensuring that much of the school time is dedicated to curricula activities. This in turn requires that the time taken by students and teachers in preparing for the lesson like commuting and settling would be minimized as much as possible. To achieve this, a teacher needs to set aside a larger part of the available time for the lesson first. Secondly, the teacher needs to allocate the time he uses for teaching, assessing the work done, and organizing the teaching plan proportionally. The assessment will enable the teacher to identify weak, average, and bright students. Closeness to the students will also enable those with disabilities related to sight and hearing to be given the necessary attention. There are also procedures in the learning process that become a kind of daily routine; teachers can come up with devised versions of such procedures to save time. Moreover, they can also do away with less significant procedures but not to the extent that it will affect the teaching process. Teachers also need not engage in unnecessary duties that could be allocated to the students and other teaching assistants to save time (Capel et al, 2005, p.33). For instance, a mathematics tutor does not need to take much time distributing mathematical equipment that is to be used for Scale Drawing; instead, using an assistant together with the students will help to prevent the unnecessary loss of time.
Knowledge of the societal setup
A teacher will best manage diversity arising from culture if he is well informed of the culture of the society in which the institution is established, as well the culture of other social groups that form the community. However, a standard culture needs to be established in the school to be adopted by every student (Fabian and Dunlop, 2002, p.133). Conflicting issues arising due to differences in religious beliefs are better handled if the teacher had prior knowledge of the religious composition of the class to be handled.
Use of good teaching methods
Teaching methods differ from subject to subject and the use of the appropriate teaching method will enable a teacher to identify and manage the diverse educational needs of students. The best method to adopt is to create an interactive learning atmosphere for the students. This is achieved by using illustrations and descriptions that are familiar to learners, explaining any new tremor concept, inviting learners to ask questions occasionally, and shooting questions to them to evaluate their understanding of concepts (Capel et al, 2005, p.33). Mathematics will require more illustrations and descriptions than explanations. Posing questions to the learners will make them attentive throughout the lesson since each one will strive to prove his/her capability and knowledge against other students in the class. It will also help the teacher to identify the naughty learners who often claim to have understood the concepts yet they have not.
Student motivation and formation of learning groups
Motivation refers to applying incentives that boost the interest of the learner to learn more. It is an essential tool in restoring the interest of poorly performing students to the subject. Giving a reward for good performance, praising a student who has improved, and giving a progress report are some of the extrinsic (outside) motivations that can be of importance. However, intrinsic motivations like explaining the relevance of the area of study are better placed in motivating students (Capel, 2005, p.122). Motivation also involves challenging the performance of individual pupils. It has been observed that students who are challenged “are more likely to improve their performance than those who are not challenged” (Capel, 2005, p.122). Moreover, teachers are supposed to challenge students who perform well to have them maintain the standards.
Besides, the difference in students’ capabilities should not be used as a basis for discrimination. Forming discussion groups among the students has been seen as a way of helping slow learners to catch up with the others. A bright student helping others in a group often learns more of the concepts, and so in, either way, no one loses.
Instead of using the traditional methods of issuing the same task to every student in the class and evaluating their performance, a better approach is to give tasks that are proportional to the capabilities of various groups of students. This will enable every student to strive to achieve the set goals.
Capel, S., 2005. Learning to teach in the Secondary School: a companion to school experience. Oxon: Taylor and Francis.
Fabian, H. and Dunlop, A., 2002. Transition in the early years: debating continuity and progression for young children in early education. NY: Routledge.