I have been working in the past few days along more than one line. I need to 1) find an interesting, clear – not overwhelming – way to share whatever I am learning with my colleagues, 2) find practical ways to implement the most important pressing strategies into my teaching/learning context, and 3) study the feasibility of integrating / making use of technological tools as often as needed.
In “channel 2”, I find that formative assessment is essential for better instruction and better results. We should in fact make it at the basis of our lesson plans and not keep it a matter of oral feedback given by teachers to students. Rubrics are a must in this context so that gradually both teacher and student are aware of the latter’s learning strengths and weaknesses. It follows that these weaknesses have to be addressed and students have to be given the right contexts and guidance to work on them. That’s one place where getting to know students’ learning styles and helping them get to know what kind of learners they are is important. A variety of instructional strategies should be employed in class to cater to the various styles. However, having a learner-centered class that calls more for students’ engagement in lessons – which could be technology-enhanced – and focusing on enquiry, creativity, and problem solving in authentic situations does help teachers track their students’ performance and detect their learning style better than teacher-centered lessons that end in summative tests.
Last but not least, encouraging students’ reflections is an asset to the above. It helps them be more involved and aware and gives teachers an insight about their needs and how to account for them.
All of the above corrects one misconception I had concerning learning styles. My focus was solely on pace and on providing extra activities when needed. Now I am aware that these are integrated in the main lesson plans and that gives me a means of assessing these lesson plans.