How do I adapt learning and teaching strategies to meet the needs of individual learners effectively?

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  • Use inclusive teaching and learning strategies and promote respect for individuality and diversity

All learners a capable of learning, sometimes it just takes more time, or a different strategy to get the information across. For this reason I use different teaching techniques. 

Primary teaching and Learning methods Effectiveness/Strengths/How it works Challenges
Lecture Useful for large groups and presents factual material in a direct and logical manner. This the traditional way of giving information to the learners and the easiest to prepare for me. Learners copy definitions or point form summaries from the board. Learners are passive and it is not easy to gauge whether learning is taking place
DVD’s It is an entertaining way of teaching content and raising issues and it definitely keeps most of the learners attention. Some learners feel that when the teacher is not talking the content is not important and they would rather sleep
Class discussions Effective after a presentation or DVD and it allows everyone to participate in an active discussion process. Many learners gets involved and takes a stand for or against various topics. Not all learners have the self-confidence to participate and discussions may become time consuming and can sometimes go off track
Worksheets Allows the learner to think for himself without being influenced by others. In my class the worksheets are from past papers and in this way the learners gets experience in answering exam questions. Some learners feel its easier to copy someone’s work than to try it for themselves – they don’t feel up to the challenge
Practical Hands-on-activities Learner acquires knowledge not only verbally but also through discovery and inquiry in an active format. I set up four practical desks with four to five learners in a group and each learner has a task during the practical session Practical work takes time as each learner works at his own pace and as they are still unskilled this often means valuable time can be lost. In some cases learners are afraid of touching the apparatus and may not always want to participate.
Projects Learners acquire a variety of skills including research techniques integrated with theory work and practical skills. Some learners, in spite of all the help and time they have, do nothing until it is too late offering excuses every time they have to hand in for assessment.
  1. Promote learner self-esteem so that they are motivated and self-disciplined

 I never use sarcasm or derogatory language with learners as this has a negative impact with relationships. I create a supportive and caring environment with discipline.

I try to promote self-discipline in the learners by handing the year plan ( a summary of the term plans) with dates of when certain activities must be completed, and then I expect them to follow these times. I also write the due dates on the white board in the class as a constant reminder.

Self-esteem…. I refer to my gold star program. I use the accomplishments of other learners to inspire those of this year –on my Hall of Fame Wall in my class room. Also the more they participate in practicals and extra-curricular activities the more confidence they develop

No-one can be motivated to work. If they don’t have a passion for a task at hand it is simply a chore that seems like a mountain. I simply try to be as passionate and excited as I can be about the topic and pray it rubs off on the learners.

  1. Use different techniques to promote research skills and independent learning

The science Escom EXPO can again me mentioned here as learners must work on their own to discover the answers to questions they had to ask themselves and all the work is done by them and they have to analyse the results and make valid conclusions. On their own they learn a lot.

Also doing the worksheet that I provide gives a learner a chance to think for himself and to solve answers for himself thereby learning independently 

  1. Organizing space to enable all learners to be productively engaged in learning

All my desks have been removed and replaced with longer tables bolted to the floor and benches bolted to the floor. As acoustics in the large lab is a problem the reduction in noise has made it easier to concentrate

I have placed curtains over the windows in the front half of the classroom for two reasons

  • One : the learners cannot peers out the window at activities outside the classroom
  • Two: the Projections on the board is clearer

In the back part of the lab I have lab benches where four to five learners group together for practicals, and they are responsible for their practical table and cupboard containing all necessary materials for the duration of the year.

I have posters on the walls that is related to the content I teach

I have a display of models in the class that I can access easily while teaching different topics

Backroom in the class for assessment portfolios, textbooks and test files or additional reference materials

And until recently I had a herbarium in the back of the class with plants used during practicals – but they all died the winter when the power shortages caused the temperature to drop and the watering programme to stop.

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