Examination of factors influencing inclusive learning
A teaching strategy is defined as a particular set of instructions that encourage a set of desired behaviours from learners. A teaching strategy is a deliberate action of the teacher to vary the way in which their learners work in order to achieve a particular outcome. (Hanson, 1996) There are various teaching strategies that I use in my own specialism. I always try to use as many different teaching strategies as I can when teaching such as; demonstrations, debates, role play, case studies, lecturing, Jigsaw technique and many more. The reason I try to use so many different teaching strategies is that every learner I have ever worked with has been different and what works well with some groups might not work that well with another (Hanson 1996) for example if I am working with a group that was full of people that were quite introvert and didn’t really like to speak in front of the class or share their thoughts or feelings with one another, would having a debate be very useful to this group? Well in some ways in might help to develop the skills of the learners and in might increase the self-confidence of the group especially if the learning outcomes of the session require you to do this. However if the outcomes can be achieved without having a debate and another teaching strategy can be used in which the learners prefer then it might be better using another strategy such as getting the group to do a mind map exercise. The teaching strategies that I use are dependent on the needs of the learners and the outcomes and aims I set out in my lesson plan. In reality the group is going to be made up of learners who thrive under different learning strategies and that every learner is going to have teaching strategies they cope well with and other teaching strategies they despise. Therefore the more teaching strategies I can use creates more opportunities for my learners to have a positive learning experience and therefore they are more likely to positively engage in the sessions I teach them. The work I do is usually in a informal setting or a work related learning setting therefore I try to keep away from traditional teaching methods that are used in schools. The reason I do this is that most of the learners I work with did not do well in the formal education system and thus the reason they have been referred to us. We have had positive results with the learners we work with and I believe this to be down to the variety of teaching strategies that we use and tailoring them to the individual needs of the learners. There has been vast amounts of literature published on learning styles and questionnaires designed to dictate what is the preferred learning style of the learners undertaking them. For example the VAK questionnaire dictates that after answering a series of questions you will be able to know whether or not your learners are a more visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learner. However through my own learning and teaching experiences I have found that not every learner has a preferred learning style but usually have a mixture of learning styles and depending on what they are learning and where they are learning it then the learning style may also change. So even though it is important to identify teaching strategies that work well and identify different learning styles within the group, it is important to remember that every learner has individual needs and it is important as a teacher to identify these needs of the individual learners. There are many ways in my own specialism where we identify the needs of learners these include collection of data, discussions, tutorials, emails etc. The identification learners needs usually starts straight away with the consent / application forms we had out to the learners where we ask them to disclose important personal information that includes, Gender, race, age, any disabilities, address and so on prior to the start of a course...
References: Hanson (1996) Teaching Styles and Strategies: Interventions to Enrich Instructional Decision-Making [WWW] http://www.dedicatedteacher.com/samples/DDTr/ctr1328s.pdf [Accessed on: 15/11/2012]
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