Although teachers may have same curricula targets to achieve in learners, it is necessary to use varying teaching methodologies, which will ensure they meet all learner needs. Different learners have varying ways of acquiring knowledge that depends on their intellectual giftedness. Inclusion of value and diversity in teaching strategies by teachers can guarantee meeting all learners’ needs, depending on their understanding and comprehending abilities. Teachers can use different strategies in different class scenarios, which may include individualized instruction, provision of varying materials to different learners, use of communication books, and varying visual aids. All this help learners to understand and remember knowledge learnt easily, because they make learning more interesting and concrete (Paterson, 2005, pp.7-8).
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All strategies that teachers adopt should reflect what content and methodology are best to achieve best outcomes in learners regardless of their learning abilities, weaknesses and strengths. In addition, the strategies should be at par with learner’s readiness and preferences. Differentiated learning is the main strategy that ensures teachers meet all learner needs in a class. It involves the structuring of content and learning materials, which can involve collective participation of all learners or personalized instruction to meet learner needs. This methodology’s main principle is that, all tutors should structure instruction and content to ensure learners’ needs receive the required attention. In addition, it blends learning theories and methodologies that are constructive to learners. The style blends different factors which determine learner likes and dislikes, motivation, and participation levels (Anderson, 2007, pp.49-54).
To succeed in applying differentiated learning, then a teacher must use teaching methodologies that ensure all learners participate actively in class. This is because it contributes greatly to levels of understanding and remembering knowledge learnt. Three main factors make differentiated learning the best approach for a classroom with varying learner abilities namely: learning characteristics, interest, and eagerness. Learners must be ready to learn for teacher instruction to be of value to them it being the main promoter of intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation promotes eagerness to research and learn new concepts, hence more rewarding as compared to situations when learners have less motivation. For example, in a mathematics class it is very hard to teach learners who have no interests in arithmetic. This is because mathematical concepts require a lot of attention for one to achieve excellent results (Levy, 2008, pp161-164).
Strategies of meeting Learners’ Needs
Modern day classrooms have a mix of students whose learning abilities vary depending on their mental capability, background, and health condition. To help learners achieve maximum education standards, it is necessary to integrate different teaching approaches, which will limit negative effects resulting from differing learner abilities in a classroom. Modern classroom situation have diverse learners ranging from those that are academically gifted, slow learners, to learners with learning disabilities, for example learners suffering from autism and ADHD (Taylor& Whittaker, 2003, pp.14-26).
Before structuring content and instruction methodology into any format that a teacher may consider important for a certain class, all instructors must conduct some pre-assessments on learners. This helps to determine learners’ level of knowledge, hence avoid repetition of content and use of wrong teaching methodologies. Most of pre-assessments are inform of short quizzes or discussions aimed at predicting students’ capabilities and knowledge level. In some special cases where a teacher suspects some learners have multiple intelligences, they can use the multiple intelligence methodology, although it has many weaknesses. This helps tutors to understand learners’ preferences, hence structure knowledge and content in a way that is pleasing to learners (Garlovsky, (n.d.), pp. 1-3).
Teachers also can use oral-defence methodologies to assess learners’ knowledge level and understanding capabilities. This methodology does not need any pre-assessment; hence, learners can gauge themselves on their capabilities and knowledge level. Generally, teachers should structure their pre-assessments to test learners’ knowledge, preferred learning methodologies, and target goals.
Results from pre-assessments should help teacher structure content in ways that will ensure content adopted eliminates all learning barriers in a common classroom. Content chosen by teachers should cover different learner abilities. This is possible through considering tasks and outcomes of learning. These two differentiation strategies have different impacts on learning outcomes in that their way of structuring content is different. Differentiation based on tasks can help tutors to match learners’ learning gifts with tasks. Although this strategy is good, in most cases it receives criticisms in that it limits learners’ motivational levels. Differentiating content using outcomes gives learners an opportunity of working collectively, although their goals vary. From research findings, this methodology is discriminatory in that, it singles out learners with special needs. In this regard, it is important for tutors to merge both methodologies in trying to meet all learner needs. In addition, the teachers can use the bloom’s taxonomy to ensure they cover all content areas. For example, depending on learners abilities teachers can structure class activities in a way that all students, whether gifted, with learning disabilities, or with partial understanding gain (Pettig, 2000, pp.14-18). Teachers must always remember to include all lesson objectives in lesson plans. This helps them to adopt a distinct delivery approach that will ensure organisation and coverage of all content areas.
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To ensure learners enjoy the full benefit of content selected, teachers should structure the instruction process in an interesting way. This will not only ensure teachers capture learners’ attention, but also their performance standards. Teachers should use methodologies, which will help learners breakdown knowledge they consider complex. In this regard, instructors should use varying teaching resources, which play the central role of helping learners process and remember information. For example, majority of kinesthetic learners always require manipulation of real objects for learning to be meaningful, hence instructors should ensure they use visual and real objects during teaching. In addition, teachers should structure the instruction language to comprehendible levels. This can aid understanding of learners with reading problems, for example dyslexia (Sethuraman & Rose, 2000, pp.26-60).
To make sure that content and instructional method chosen has achieved desired outcomes, teachers should use assessment strategies, which test all content areas. Final tests can be individual, group projects, class evaluations, or reports. The structure of these final tests should take into considerations the varying skill levels of learners and content mastery. Instructors at this point must be very careful because many conflicting issues may result because of different tests taken by learners. Conclusion
In conclusion, all instructors have the duty of ensuring they meet all learner demands regardless of their learning abilities. This is possible by structuring instruction through considering the content, methodologies, and desired outcomes. In addition, it is important for all for all instructors to try to structure the learning environment in desired patterns to ensure learning occurs in a motivating environment (Theroux, 2004, Para. 12)
Anderson, K. M., 2007. Tips for teaching: Differentiating instruction to include all students. Preventing School Failure, 51(3), pp. 49-54.
Garlovsky, K. J., (n.d.). What about multiple intelligence? (2009). Web.
Levy, H. M., 2008. Meeting the needs of all students through differentiated instruction: helping every Child reach and exceed standards. The Clearing House, 81(4), pp. 161-164.
Paterson. K., 2005. Differentiated learning: language and literacy projects that address diverse backgrounds and cultures. Markham: Canada: Pembroke publishers.
Pettig, K.L., 2000. On the road to differentiated learning. Education Leadership, 8(1), pp.14-18
Sethuraman and Rose, D., 2000. Universal design for learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 15(2), pp. 26-60.
Taylor, L., and Whittaker, C., 2003. Bridging Multiple Worlds: Case Studies of Diverse Educational Communities. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Theroux, P., 2004. Enhance learning with technology: differentiating instruction. Web.