We live in a world where information is shared globally and the potential for innovative instruction and skill-building has expanded exponentially. Students are now students of the globe––absorbing information from their formal instructors at school as well as people all over the globe online. This information superhighway facilitates the development of individuals by unlocking the possibilities of who one can be, what one can be interested in and how one can learn.
Recognize Individual Learning Styles
This new world of possibilities has created a breadth of research into how educational institutions can cater to this new group of students, more aware of their differences in every space including the classroom.
There is much more discussion surrounding how students learn and how teachers, schools and digital programs can cater to this diverse set of learners. One of the most important first steps is getting to know one’s students and what their unique talents are.
According to this article from Time4Learning, there are many different learning styles that students can prefer or be more aptly suited for. These include:
- Visual (Spatial)
- Aural (Auditory-Musical)
- Verbal (Linguistic)
- Physical (Kinesthetic)
- Logical (Mathematical)
- Social (Interpersonal)
- Solitary (Intrapersonal)
Many students are a combination of many of these, and it is the job of the instructor to nurture each of these learning styles within the students. The next step, discussed in this article from the University of San Diego, is creating a safe space for learning, where all of these styles are accepted. A classroom cannot just cater to the loudest students or the ones that work best with others.
Take Students Out of Their Comfort Zones
It is important to challenge a student’s comfort zone while tailoring lessons and activities to where they’re going to perform the best and learn the most. Students from everywhere simply want to learn and will rise to the occasion when given the chance.
Dr. Yaw O. Adutwum is a former teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District and the current Deputy Minister of Basic & Secondary Education for the Republic of Ghana. He founded the New Designs Charter School with the goal of providing students from disadvantaged parts of Los Angeles with a rigorous environment that would prepare them well for college.
This strategy involves a variety of subject matters and types of lessons taught at New Designs and a curriculum that challenges the limits of what a high school education can be. Students at New Designs are able to take college courses while pursuing their high school diploma, and each student accumulates an average of 20 college credits before they graduate.
His approach has succeeded, very much so, as in 2014 100% of the graduating class of New Designs was accepted to college, including 6 to UCLA. New Designs has “proved that often disadvantaged, urban students could perform exceedingly well when provided a rigorous curriculum in a nurturing environment.”
New Designs is proof that giving students a choice and a variety of different types of lessons enables them to figure out where they’re best suited and subsequently, to thrive. In these spaces, they will perform the best, learn the most about the material, as well as gain crucial knowledge about themselves and how they learn.
Take Advantage of Technology
Technology is becoming a key tool in teaching and building these inclusive spaces, as it gives students access to seemingly endless amounts of information instantly and instructors a whole new set of options for structuring lessons.
Laptops for students are becoming a staple in nearly every classroom, business, and productive space. They serve a crucial role in developing students’ abilities to perform well in college and beyond, gaining the skill sets to work successfully in a variety of environments.
Through the use of laptops and other computer technology, such as virtual reality, students feel their horizons have been widened and their access to education has been completely transformed.
Now more than ever, teachers and students alike are benefitting from the innovation and creativity in the education industry. From applying new philosophies of teaching to classrooms to taking advantage of the technology that continues to bring cultures separated by oceans closer together, there are endless possibilities for the future of education. After all, today’s most remarkable students will become tomorrow’s most inspiring teachers.
Author Bio: Tiffany Rauschenberger is a freelance writer, content strategist, and former graduate assistant. She writes about the latest developments in teaching, public policy, standardized testing, and educational technology.
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