Thursday, August 24, 2017

Everyone’s Different

In When do we want creativity? From  Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson shares,

“In my experience, even the best teaching method, best resources, and best intentions never work with every student.”

That was the hardest thing for me to learn as a new teacher. I wanted to find the one key that would unlock the door to success for all my students. After years of searching without finding it, I realized that it was an impossible mission.

Like all fingerprints are different, no two students are alike. Every student is different and learns differently. There may be similarities but no one is the same. I don’t believe that identical twins learn the same way. I think personalities and preferences can affect people’s learning styles.

When I work one on one with students, I would start off by saying that if I start acting like I was annoyed or angry (which I might not notice), it would only be because I was frustrated with my own ability to help the student succeed. I also said this same thing might happen to the student. When this happens to either one of us, we need to take a break, take a breath, and relax for a few minutes. Sometimes that helps clear the mind and maybe we can figure out a different way to figure things out.

I would also explain to all my students that we need to think about their learning just like we would grocery shopping. We all go to the grocery store and buy different foods because we have different tastes and different needs. In the classroom, everyone has different learning styles and different needs. Some of my students will have different accommodations listed in their IEPs and I may even have to modify some assignments for students. Because of this, they may see me do different things with different students but ultimately, we are all working to get to the same end goal which is success.

Explaining things like this beforehand helps my students understand what is going on and they are less likely to think I’m treating someone else better than them. Many times, they feel I’m being unfair if I haven’t explained why I’m doing things differently for another student.

I might have to remind them this before every unit they do. I ask the ones that remember to help me remind others why we do things this way. The more they hear it, the easier it gets for them to accept it.

It helps all the students from feeling uncomfortable when they need something done differently because they see that others are in the same boat. I don’t want anyone to feel dumb or stupid but rather I want them to feel okay that they might have a different learning style than others.

How do you deal with explaining difference teaching/learning styles in your classroom? Please share. 

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