Understanding how a student learns is probably one of the most important tasks you will ever undergo as a teacher. There is no one-size, each child is unique. They bring a unique learning history, they bring unique strengths & needs, they have unique interests, each student will have a unique set of experiences making up their individuality.
Understanding these differences in our students and how these differences affect each student as a learner is not only a huge undertaking, but it is a necessary one. You see, if teachers continue to stick with their preferred teaching approach without offering choices or variation in how they present and represent information, there will be students who struggle with connecting to the lesson.
I acknowledge how challenging of an undertaking this is for teachers- it is time consuming & can be frustrating to fit in when you have so much to do. However, it is essential.
Keep reading for a few ways you can start to develop an understanding of the differences in the ways our students learn.
Interests play an important role in how our students learn. When our kiddos are interested in certain topics or subjects, they tend to retain information and focus at a higher rate. Learn about your students' interests and help them develop new ones.
Pay attention to your students' social interactions, social habits, and social connections. See how they weave into the fabric of your learning community: are they collaborative, relaxed, independent, competitive, et cetera. Understanding how they 'fit in' in the learning community will help you to develop roles and responsibilities based on their strengths.
Get to know them as individuals: who are they? what are their likes? dislikes? interests? what is their culture? what is important to them? what makes them happy? The more you understand your students, the more you will be able to anticipate their perceptions, the importance of certain experiences on their learning, and their reactions to new situations. Understanding your students as individuals will help you in building connections to new materials and lessons. It will help you to provide meaningful choices and options.
Our students' interests, social interactions, and individuality are all important components to understand when figuring out who our kiddos are as learners and how they learn. When teaching to a range of learners it is essential to understand who they are as both individuals and as learners. Understanding each student allows you to connect with them, start to build a relationship, and to appropriately support their learning journey.