Thursday, November 20, 2014

In the Classroom, One Size Does Not Fit All

. . . If you really want to make sure that all students have the chance to maximize their learning, you need to tailor your teaching to the ones sitting in front of you. That means finding out how much they know about a topic, trying to discover how they learn best (and encouraging them to discover for themselves), and figuring out how the particular group dynamic in your class affects learning. It may also mean diverging from the usual way you do things.

So the next time you stand in the front of a classroom, instead of starting the way you usually do—however you usually do—begin instead by talking with your students. Ask them about their experiences with your subject before they enrolled in your course. Ask them what they think about the syllabus topics that you haven’t gotten to yet. Try to uncover their misconceptions, confusions, and prejudices. Take a little time, in every class period, through formal or informal means, to really listen to your students, and let that shape how you teach . . .

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