How can I recognize different learning abilities and work with them individually?
- Recognize different learning abilities early on and make it clear to your
students if you think they are not equipped with the requisite knowledge or
skills to succeed in your class. Ask your students to tell you about their
experience that might prepare them for your class and to tell you about any
learning disabilities that they believe will affect their performance. Of
course, this information should remain confidential. If some students seem
to be less prepared, and others more advanced, provide supplementary (optional)
material for each, so that all the students are challenged, but not overwhelmed.
When creating assignments, be sure that they vary in the types of learning
styles to which they would appeal. If one assignment is abstract, consider
designing a more concrete assignment next time. Do not try to teach to the
worst or the most advanced student. Teach to the B+ students. You can address
the concerns of a few struggling students, or the questions of the most advanced
students during review sessions or you office hours. Make your expectations
clear. A good way to do this is to distribute examples of good - not extraordinary
- work, so that students can see how they might improve their own work. If
students struggle, despite your attempts to help them individually, refer
them to tutoring services, such as those offered by The Teaching and Learning Center. Finally, encourage students to learn from each other.
Help students form study groups of five or six students and encourage them
to help one another with homework or studying.