students read below the "basic" level, meaning they exhibit little or no mastery of the knowledge and skills necessary to perform work at grade level (Collins, 79).
My free time I spend with my family and friends, doing active sports, and traveling to different beautiful places in order to get ideas and inspiration for my creative writing experience and share it with my readers. I am always looking for new creative ideas for my stories.
Many students experience math anxiety. Much of this stems from a one style fits all approach to teaching. Traditionally, approaches to teaching mathematics have focused on linguistic and logical teaching methods, with a limited range of teaching strategies. Some students learn best, however, when surrounded by movement and sound, others need to work with their peers, some need demonstrations and applications that show connections of mathematics to other areas (e.g., music, sports, architecture, art), and others prefer to work alone, silently, while reading from a text. All of this is reflected in , which has found its way into schools (Moran, Kornhaber, & Gardner, 2006; Smith, 2002), along with the concept of learning styles.
Effective lessons incorporate best-practice. According to Daniels and Bizar (1998, as cited in Wilcox & Wojnar, 2000), there are six methods that matter in a " best practice classroom." These are integrative units, small group activities, representing to learn through multiple ways of investigating, remembering, and applying information; a classroom workshop teacher-apprentice approach, authentic experiences, and reflective assessment. Further, Mike Schmoker (2006) stated that "the most well-established elements of good instruction [include]: being clear and explicit about what is to be learned and assessed; using assessments to evaluate a lesson's effectiveness and making constructive adjustments on the basis of results; conducting a check for understanding at certain points in a lesson; having kids read for higher-order purposes and write regularly; and clearly explicating and carefully teaching the criteria by which student work will be scored or evaluated" (p. 25). In mathematics classrooms, teachers might tend to ignore writing about the discipline; however, to develop complex knowledge, "students need opportunities to read, reason, investigate, speak, and write about the overarching concepts within that discipline" (McConachie et al., 2006, p. 8).
is growing in the U.S. as a result of the TIMSS study (O'Shea, 2005). The process involves teachers working together to develop, observe, analyze, and revise lessons and focuses on preparing students to think better mathematically through more effective lessons. For more on the work of TIMSS, see and.
From an instructional styles perspective, Silver, Strong, and Perini (2007) noted that teachers who use mastery strategies focus on increasing students' abilities to remember and summarize. "They motivate by providing a clear sequence, speedy feedback, and a strong sense of expanding competence and measurable success." When focusing on interpersonal strategies, teachers use "teams, partnerships, and coaching" to help students better relate to the curriculum and each other. Understanding strategies help students to reason and use evidence and logic. Teachers "motivate by arousing curiosity using mysteries, problems, clues, and opportunities to analyze and debate." Self-expressive strategies highlight students' imagination and creativity. Teachers employ "imagery, metaphor, pattern, and what ifs to motivate students' drive toward individuality and originality." Finally, it's possible to use all four styles at the same time to achieve a balanced approach to learning (sec: Part One: Introduction, Figure B).
A second challenge for success lies in the teacher's ideological perspective, as this latter affects how one teaches. According to David Ferrero (2006), educators are divided by traditionalism and innovation. However, teaching that leads to achievement gains (e.g., via standardized testing) does not mean that educators have to choose between one or the other. There is a concept of "innovative traditionalism" that is student-centered, yet has been shown to improve standardized achievement test scores. This has been accomplished in two Chicago-area high schools by "a combination of test prep, classical content, and collaboratively developed thematic projects grounded in controversy and designed to cultivate student voice and civic engagement" (p. 11). The following table (Ferrero, 2006, p. 11) illustrates the essential differences in education's ideological divide, which can be bridged.
Acquiring this expertise will require that educators play greater attention to differentiated instruction. "Differentiated instruction is a process to approach teaching and learning for students of differing abilities in the same class. The intent of differentiating instruction is to maximize each student’s growth and individual success by meeting each student where he or she is, and assisting in the learning process." Educators who differentiate instruction strive to "recognize students varying background knowledge, readiness, language, preferences in learning, interests; and to react responsively" (Hall, Strangman, & Meyer, 2003, Definition section). As promoters of differentiated instruction, Carol Ann Tomlinson and Jay McTighe (2006) indicated that it is primarily an instructional design model that focuses on "whom we teach, where we teach, and how we teach" (p. 3). Tomlinson's website, , will enhance your knowledge of differentiated instruction. She also clarifies myths and misconceptions about differentiation in an ASCD podcast,.
Teachers have several reasons for using television and video in their instruction, according to results of a 2009 national online survey of 1,418 full time pre-K and K-12 teachers on their use of media and technology. The study, "," was conducted by Grunwald Associates for PBS. Teachers believed television and video reinforces and expands on content they are teaching (87%), helps them respond to a variety of learning styles (76%), increases student motivation (74%), changes the pace of classroom instruction (66%), enables them to demonstrate content they can't show any other way (57%), enables them to introduce other learning activities (51%), and helps them teach current events and breaking news (38%). Further, teachers perceived benefits to instruction. They agreed that using television and video stimulates discussion (58%), helps them be more effective (49%) and creative (44%). They agreed that students prefer television and video over other types of instructional resources or content (48%), and it stimulates student creativity (36%). (PBS & Grunwald Associates LLC, 2009, p. 8)
Caution: Readers should also be aware that although determining learning styles might have great appeal, "The bottom line is that there is no consistent evidence that matching instruction to students' learning styles improves concentration, memory, self-confidence, grades, or reduces anxiety," according to Dembo and Howard (2007, p. 106). Rather, Dembo and Howard indicated, "The best practices approach to instruction can help students become more successful learners" (p. 107). Such instruction incorporates "Educational research [that] supports the teaching of learning strategies...; systematically designed instruction that contains scaffolding features...; and tailoring instruction for different levels of prior knowledge" (p. 107). Cognitive scientists Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, and Bjork (2009) supported this position and stated, "Although the literature on learning styles is enormous, very few studies have even used an experimental methodology capable of testing the validity of learning styles applied to education. Moreover, of those that did use an appropriate method, several found results that flatly contradict the popular meshing hypothesis" (p. 105). They concluded "at present, there is no adequate evidence base to justify incorporating learning-styles assessments into general educational practice" (p. 105) and "widespread use of learning-style measures in educational settings is unwise and a wasteful use of limited resources. ... If classification of students' learning styles has practical utility, it remains to be demonstrated" (p. 117). This position is further confirmed by Willingham, Hughes, and Dobolyi (2015) who concluded in their scientific investigation into the status of learning theories: "Learning styles theories have not panned out, and it is our
responsibility to ensure that students know that" (p. 269).
(Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic) is only part of a learning style, according to developer Neil Fleming who states "VARK is about one preference -our preference for taking in, and putting out information in a learning context"; "VARK is structured specifically to improve learning and teaching." The VARK questionnaire (just 16 short questions) is available online.