The information below is taken from the Leaders Resource – Getting Started developed by the Teaching and Learning Services team DECD.
In the last post I talked briefly about finding out about student’s current knowledge of content (part 2 ‘What do they bring’). It is important however to remind ourselves that there is so much more that impacts on student learning than just students content knowledge. As teachers we must try to find out as much useful information out about our students as we can to assist us with teaching and designing new learning (making connections with students and not just teaching isolated ideas or concepts). Things that students bring to the classroom that impact on how they will learn include:
- There personal view of themselves as a learner – is it from a fixed view of intelligence? i.e. I will not get any smarter, I will always be dumb or I enjoy learning new things, I know I can get smarter (see the two videos below).
- What is going at home can impact on the learning that happens in the classroom.
- Cultural experiences and perspectives.
- Do they have the foundation they need to proceed? What is needed for them to proceed? i.e. appropriate research skills, debating skills, skills required for using technology software, time management skills, communication skills etc…..
- Student’s perception of the teacher.
- Learning styles and preferences.
- Students bring different motivations? What challenges and motivates each student? Do they see challenges as opportunities to learn or do they shy away in fear of looking wrong?
Teachers have always understood that there are a wide range of things that impact on students learning. It is critical that we try to understand all knowledge/attitudes and misconceptions that students bring to the classroom. We should ask ourselves:
Video 1: Carol Dweck talks about how some students are motivated by learning and not worried about how others perceive them. What are the things that these students bring to the classroom that give them this attitude towards learning?
Video 2: Dr Martin Westwall talks about Learner Self Theories (this video was taken from the TfEL DVD produced by DECD) . Does how a learner percieve themselves impact on their learning?
Carol Dweck – Stamford University