Before planning the lessons,we should understand the characteristics and needs of different students. For example, some are passive learners who do not like many class activities while some are active learners who like class activities so much. Then teachers should try best to balance their needs. For example, 70%lecture and 30% class activities.Moreover, teachers should involve all students participating in class. For instance, every one should have their own group.or maybe each student is required to answer one question in class.
I agree that it is essential to give students a sense that they are all involved in a lesson and their needs can be addressed properly. However, regrading the point that using physical means to let them participate in class, i.e. requiring all of the students to answer questions. Once they are passive learners, they may feel extremely uncomfortable to speak in class or express ideas publicly. One of the many ways to cater to these kind of learners is to provide channels for them to voice out their thoughts,like writing down ideas anonymously and discuss the ideas in class or asking them to have some online forum as a platform to exchange learning outcomes.
Yes, I strongly agree that requiring each student to answer one question in class would make some passive learners uncomfortable and hate the lesson much, since I am this kind of learners myself. Some students like to learn quietly just by listening to lecture, and think by themselves silently. Teachers should not force them to voice out their own ideas.
Ref. to Tsz Kwan and Shirley's comments,thanks for reminding me abt the willingness of the passive learners to answer one question per class. For my very first idea, I think there are different types and levels of questions,simple as close-end questions to open-end questions,ranging from understand to creactive thinking. Originally, I think those easily-answered questions may suit those passive learner,esp for those passive learner with low ability. But thanks for your reminder. I do think teachers may not need to force them to answer questions but encourage them to answer or express their ideas. As Tsz Kwan mentioned, online forum is a good way. But one thing to be concerned, as those students r passive, I'm afraid they may not express their ideas to teacher through any means. For such case, how can teachers understand their need? Observation ?
There are some studies concerning how to use online discussion as a means of motivating low achieving / passive learners. You may take a look at the following references to support your claims.
One more about the effectiveness of using blended learning (ICT into learning and teaching) is found:
In integrated education context, the possibilities are highly varied. An extreme case may involve more than four types of special educational needs at a time. To better prepare the lesson beforehand, pre-assessment is a choice. If teachers can get to know the readiness, interests and learning profile of all students in advance, they can prepare it better by resorting to appropriate differentiation strategies.
Your second query questions the relation between teaching strategies and teaching methods in integrated education context. It's worth discussing. In my opinion, teaching strategies should be different while we are using different teaching method.
For example, if we are doing group discussion, grouping options are used, be they mixed grouping or homogeneous grouping. When we are doing direct teaching, more focus will be shed on individual differences. Some students may finish their work faster while some may not. In such a situation, anchor activities are recommended to occupy the students who do faster and free the teacher up to look after the relatively sub-standard ones.
Anybody has better ideas?
So what kind of pre-assessment would you suggest?
Hello Sally. For your query of what kind of pre-assessment I would suggest, it really depends. First of all, we should have an overview that what kind of differentiation best meets their needs, be they readiness or interest or learning profile. Within integrated education context, the learning profile of students are highly varied. We can have them do a pretest and identify the students with SEN. According to EDB, they will arrange an Individual Education Program for those students. ( Effectiveness is an other topic, though)
Thanks Yip Kam Tin's comment!
Refer to Sally Wan and Tin's comments ,I think questionaire can be used to know about our students.We can also make use of ICT such as google doc. and questionaire.com.The other way is having conversation with the students but it is relative time-consuming.
Next, I agree that the focus on diect teaching should be shed on individual differences.You suggest using anchor activities to occupy those fast learners.I think this is a good way.For example, teacher can design a challenging corner which challenging questions or refernce books are put there.Those students who finish their work early may go to the challenging corner to have further self-learning.
I think a thorough situational analysis may help tackling individual difference. In the class EDUC 2110 and EDUC 3110, we have come across the importance of situational analysis, especially when designing school-based curriculum, in which tackling individual difference is a major objective.
In the situational analysis, we can analyse the students' readiness, interests and learning profile, as Kam Tin mentioned. When I designed the school-based curriculum in the course EDUC 3110, I adopted field visit, group discussion, lecture and worksheet to suit different students' learning style and interests. I also designed different questions with different standards, allowing students to choose the questions they want to answer, or the question they know how to answer.
This is my experience and suggestion. How about yours?
Thank you for the comments above. I think Ka Yu's suggestions is quite good as he adopted different kinds of activities in a curriculum to suit the needs of different students. However, when we need to tackle with some passive and quiet learners, teaching activities like field trip or group discussion may not be suitable, These two activities would be more suitable for active students with higher learning interest and are more willing to participate in learning activities.
I do think school-based curriculum is a way to tackle individual difference. Teachers base on the abuility and interest etc. to design their own curriculum for their students.
Btw,you suggested some teaching activities such as field trip,group discussion could be used to suit different sttudents learning style and interest.To certain extent,it works. But those activities should be well organised and planned,especially do not go to too many field trips. For me,I'm a relatively passive student,I do not like outdoor activities.So field trip may not be a good class activity for me and those passive learners.To balance the need of active and passive learner, a limit number of field trip should be organised.
Based on Tang's concern, I think that a survey can be done before designing the learning activities. Bu survey, we can know more about the students' interest and their view toward certain kind of learning activies. It can help us to plan the frequency and type of learning activities.
I agree with Ka Yu that situational analysis is important. Ans i would like to focus on the strategie of group discussion. I think the grouping and the guiding is important. Students can form a heterogeneous group so that students can brainstorm different ideas and help each other in the group.
Besides, we may provide our students some guiding questions or hints in order to give them a direction or some sparkling points before their discussion starts. Questions or hints can be of different levels according to the Bloom's taxonomy(remembering, understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating and creating). Students can decide if they want the hints or not. Teacher can give the hints step by step in order to facilitate the students' learning. In this way, each student can get the help according to their needs and ability. Of course, the students' metacognition of their own ability may affect their action of requiring hints. And some students may relies on the hints without trying. Therefore, teacher needs to monitor and encourage them to try without hints based on the understanding of the students ability.
Refer to Erica's idea, I think grouping is always an important strategy.But I would like to have further discussion on the grouping. Erica suggested to use heterogeneous group so that students can brainstorm different ideas(互補不足). Then when should we make use of this strategy? Sometimes I think homogeneous grouping may work better for some class activities such as reading( I think Tsz Kwan can talk more abt that!). Students with similar ability should do similar task and be divided to homogeneous group,otherwise, the one with lower ability cannot catch up with the progress.Those homogeneous groups may read same levels of books. So that they can learn in the similar speed. Besides ,as their region of proximal learning r similar,I think they learn more efficiently. What about your idea? When should we use heterogeneous grouping and homogeneous grouping?
In response to Chui Ying's question, I think it depends on the aim of grouping. If we want to provide special help to a specific type of students in a more focused way, like the level of ERS books you mentioned , we can use homogeneous grouping. And if we want the students to think with different dimensions and learn how to cooperate with different types students, like projects, we can use heterogeneous grouping.
I agree with KaYu suggestion. Using different types of learning experience is a good method to tackle the problem of individual differences.
However, I have a concern about field trip. It is true that field trip can suit different students' learning style and interests, but commonly teachers are not able to take care every students in the trip. So, some students will be ignored in the field trip and their learning will be disturbed.
In addition, we haven't approach any strategy for tackling individual differences during field trips. Is there any suggestions about this?
Yes!You mention a good point"commonly teachers are not able to take care every students in the trip". I think preview should be done before field trip. Teacher should go through the knowledge and the arrangement of the field trip before going the field trip.It may help. Besides, try to get TAs involved,it may lower the ration of teachers-to-students ratio and thus better to cater students' needs.
I think to tackle individual differences during field trip,grouping may also help. Students can be divided into several groups.They work in pairs to have observation or finish some task.I think 2/3 people per group may be fine--1 student with higher ability+ 1/2 students with relatively lower ability.Do you think it helps?
I think that teachers can provide worksheets to students during field trip.Worksheets can help us to guide students to pay attention to the learning objectives. Moreover, teachers can arrange different levels of learning objectives to the students on different worksheets to meet different needs of students.
Also, I think that teachers may find some helpers (sush as parents or senior students) to help them to guide students pay attention on the field trip, to make sure students do not be ignored.
Ref. to Tsang's comment, i agree that worksheets should be provided to students in order to promote our learning objectives.We may also design some challenging questions which are optional to answer so that students with higher ability can do those challenging question once they finish the basic questions set.
Next, you suggest we may find some helpers.Though the idea is good,it usually doesnt work,especially inviting senior students.To go field trip,a certain teacher-to-student ratio should be maintained. If we find senior students to assist the junior students, the teacher-to-student ratio increases. Then how about the safety? Inviting parents are relatively good. However, a training or set of guideline should be provided to parents. It is time-consuming.
That's why I think TA is so important for taking care of the needs of students.
Before planning a lesson, we should analyse our class and realise about the general needs and, of course, try to cover all of them. During the class analysis, the teacher will select the students who need more help and the ones who are good at English. Then, the teacher will make groups combining different levels, therefore, apart from the help provided by the teacher, students can help among themselves. This would be one possible example of dealing with different levels.
It is necessary to analysis our students' general needs, and heterogeneous grouping is a good method to deal with individual differences. However, I have a concern. Actually, class time in Hong Kong is usually very tight. If we have to make groups with different levels every time for group work, it may too much time of class. Or if we manage students to sit in groups for every lessons, it may decrease the effect of heterogeneous grouping. It is because students in the same group may not be "ability heterogeneous" in every subject or even topics. So, how should we deal with this problem?
Hi Cheung Yee Kei!
Maybe you have misunderstood my comment because I did not give a proper explanation. Regarding grouping, I was making reference to make groups in an English as a foreign language class not in other type of class. However, I have noticed that you are right when doing the groups, theacher can mix students who do not get well. Therefore, the group technique would not work at all. As to level, making groups is a good idea to get a balance in our English class.
I don not know if I have answered to your question. If not, please reply me and I will try again.
I've had the experience like that in the English lesson in secondary school. I found that effective as the high achievers can help with those low achievers in many ways, say like organizing their thoughts and helping with grammar problems. I had a good experience.
However, some classmates reflected that they didn't really like that. In their group, the high achievers finished everything while the low achievers didn't need to do anything. The low achievers felt like they were being left out.
Then, how can we avoid this problem?
Ref to KaYu's comment,I think grouping works best when high achievers r working with middle achievers.when high achievers r working with middle achievers ,the high achievers could train their organizing ability while the middle achievers could learn or clarify those unclear concept.As their ability difference is relatively small,they will both learn fast and efficiently.
For those low ability students, I think they can work in pair but teachers should pay more attention and give more advice to them.Do you think it is better?
About the questions that Ka Yu concern, I think teachers role and instructions is very important. Teachers should tell the high-ability students not to do every tasks in group but also teach the others, especially the low-ability students. Teachers should not hang over the task to the heterogeneous group but not telling the role of every students.
Chui Ying's idea about putting high achievers and general students in a group is a good way to avoid the problem. But if we put the low achievers in a group, their morale may become very low. I think teachers should change the grouping every time to avoid students finding out the 'pattern'.
Yee Kei's idea is feasible as well. In addition to giving explicit instructions, teachers should monitor through out the process to see if anyone is ignoring the students with lower standard. Teachers should intervene when such situation appears.
To Ka Yu's concern, I am also thinking how can we avoid the "labeling effect" of grouping. Even teachers change the grouping from time to time according to their interests or abilities, students will eventually know the hidden principle of the grouping (e.g. who are of higher ability and lower ability). And that will also affect their self esteem and learning motivation. Is there any method or idea to deal with this problem?
Ref. to Erica's comment. I attended the talk organised by The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education. The guess speaker mentioned that "labelling effect" will always exist no matter how teachers treat it carefully. What teachers could do is building up a sense in class that having "hetergeneous/homogeneous grouping" is not a bad thing but a way to enhance their learning.
In my opinion, every teacher should be aware of the diversity that can exist in a class. There are people that need especial attentions in order to follow the lesson properly, so, taking into acount what I have learn in order coureses, the first thing that the teacher should do is to pay attention to the class to see the differences that can exist. Then, the teacher should plan different types of doing the lesson. For example, if one student feels bored in the class because he or she knows what the teacher is explaining, then the teacher should prepare other activities for those students that are more advanced. The same has to be done with students that need more time and more explications and maybe preparing specific work for them could be a good idea. Also a good way to perform a class is by trying to separate the class in groups in order to do the possible homework in groups; that will help the students to get used to work in groups and to feel more confident. Of course, a lot of work needs to be done by the teacher and the different teaching methods change from one teacher to another. Also, we need to take into account that some strategies will work in one specific clase but not in another class, so the teacher needs to know his or her class in try to do it the best he or she can.
Thanks Manga! As you mentioned,"the teacher should do is to pay attention to the class to see the differences that can exist."This is always true. However, I wonder if it's too late to start finding out the differences of students after the lessons start.Can teachers do some pre-assessment before lessons start? For example,ask abt the ex-class teachers,look at the learning profile of students. But of course,teachers should always pay attention in class to observe the difference among students.
Next, I agree that "the teacher should prepare other activities for those students that are more advanced".Teachers can set a challenging corner in the classroom which books r put there. Then, teachers can encourage the advanced to go to the challenging corner to read more and learn more.
Last,"we need to take into account that some strategies will work in one specific clase but not in another class" is a good reminder for all teachers. Teachers should always reflect abt their teaching. I would say it is not easy but we need to do it.
Actually,I would like to know more about your comment on grouping. Which types of grouping,homogeneous/heterogeneous grouping should we use?I think it depends on the types of class activities. Do you think so?
Chau Ming Yan S1155017138Cheung Yee Kei S1155015232Kan Yick Hang S1155017524Lee Tsz Kwan S1155017307Tang Chui Ying S1155015910