Read PDF Focused Instruction: An Innovative Teaching Model for All Learners (Teaching in Focus)

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Differentiation Central offers insightful information, as well as a short video of educator, author and speaker Carol Ann Tomlinson sharing her experiences and views about classroom differentiation. Involving children in the goal-setting process is an excellent way to encourage them to take ownership of their learning. In the early stages, goal setting needs to be done in a very clear and simplistic way — for example, frequent two-way conversations with children about their progress in specific areas.

Teachers can further facilitate goal setting through the use of organizers, anchor charts and similar aids. Free Printable Behavior Charts provides models of personal charts for early learners. K-5 Math Teaching Resources shows a selection of goal charts for math instruction. In general, helping children reach their goals calls for teachers to provide specific, frequent feedback as well as ample time for self-reflection.

In contrast to the traditional teaching of subjects in isolation, teaching multiple subjects simultaneously can help students go much deeper in learning concepts and skills. Naturally, this approach asks more from the teacher. It can be easy to blend math, science, or social studies content with reading or writing. However, it is more challenging to combine all the subjects at once.

Developing a Student-centered Classroom

Here are some of the major approaches to simultaneous learning. Project-based learning involves children carrying out a project that ends up with a concrete result of some kind. Problem-based learning asks the teacher to guide children in developing solutions to real-world problems.

The district was in crisis twelve years ago due to low student reading ability, and the school district committed to a systemic transformation effort.

Teaching with technology

The students are given the flexibility to achieve levels at their own pace, not having to wait for the rest of the class or being pushed into learning beyond their developmental level. From preschool to 12th grade, brain-based, learner-centered learning environments were combined with a larger set of systemic changes, leading to both better student achievement and significant changes in the culture and operation of the system itself.

Given the need for paradigm change in school systems, what should our schools look like in the future? A large amount of research has been conducted to advance our understanding of learning and how the educational system can be changed to better support it. The report presents 12 principles and provides the research evidence that supports each principle. It categorizes the psychological principles into four areas: 1 cognitive and metacognitive, 2 motivational and affective, 3 developmental and social, and 4 individual difference factors that influence learners and learning see Table 3. Table 3. Another important line of research was carried out by the National Research Council to synthesize knowledge about how people learn Bransford et al. Their analysis of a wide range of research on learning emphasizes the importance of customization and personalization in instruction for each individual learner, self-regulated learners taking more control of their own learning, and facilitating deep understanding of the subject matter.

They describe the crucial need for, and characteristics of, learning environments that are learner-centered and learning-community centered.

Develop trust and communication

They identify two important features of learner-centered instruction:. Differentiated instruction is an approach that enables teachers to plan strategically to meet the needs of every student. Researchers found that with differentiated instruction students learned more and felt better about themselves and the subject area being studied Tomlinson, Caine and colleagues , , provide a useful summary of work on how the brain functions in the process of learning through the 12 principles of brain-based learning.

Brain-based learning begins when learners are encouraged to actively immerse themselves in their world and their learning experiences. What might a learner-centered school look like? An illustration or synthesis of the new vision may prove helpful. Imagine that there are no grade levels for this school.

Associated institutions

Each student has different levels of progress in every attainment, according to his or her interests, talents, and pace. The student moves to the next topic as soon as she or he masters the current one. While each student must reach mastery level before moving on, students also do not need to wait for others who are not yet at that level of learning. In essence, now, the schools hold time constant and student learning is thereby forced to vary.

In this new paradigm of the learner-centered school, it is the pace learning time that varies rather than student learning. All students work at their own maximum pace to reach mastery in each attainment. The teacher takes on a drastically different role in the learning process. She or he is a guide or facilitator who works with the student for at least four years, building a long-term, caring relationship Reigeluth, Therefore, each student has a personal learning plan in the form of a contract that is jointly developed every two months by the student, parents, and teacher.

This system enhances motivation by placing greater responsibility and ownership on the students, and by offering truly engaging, often collaborative work for students Schlechty, Teachers help students to direct their own learning through the contract development process and through facilitating real-world, independent or small-group projects that focus on developing the contracted attainments. Students learn to set and meet deadlines.

The older the students get, the more leadership and assisting of younger students they assume.

Reimagining Classrooms: Teachers as Learners and Students as Leaders - Kayla Delzer - TEDxFargo

The community also works closely with schools, as the inventory of attainments includes standards in service learning, career development, character development, interpersonal skills, emotional development, technology skills, cultural awareness, and much more. Tasks that are vehicles for such learning are authentic tasks, often in real community environments that are rich for learning Reigeluth, Most learning is interdisciplinary, drawing from both specific and general knowledge and interpersonal and decision-making skills.

Much of the focus is on developing deep understandings and higher-order thinking skills. Each teacher has a cadre of students with whom she or he works for several years—a developmental stage of their lives. The teacher works with 3—10 other teachers in a small learning community SLC in which the learners are multi-aged and get to know each other well. Students get to choose which teacher they want stating their first, second, and third choice , and teacher bonuses are based on the amount of demand for them.

Each SLC has its own budget, based mainly on the number of students it has, and makes all its own decisions about hiring and firing of its staff, including its principal or lead teacher.

Each SLC also has a school board made up of teachers and parents who are elected by their peers. While this illustration of a learner-centered school is based on the various learner-centered approaches to instruction reviewed earlier and the latest educational research, this is just one of many possible visions, and these ideas need revision, as some are likely to vary from one community to another, and most need further elaboration on details.

Nonetheless, this picture of a learner-centered paradigm of schooling could help us to prevail over the industrial-age paradigm of learning and schools so that we can create a better place for our children to learn. Nevertheless, transforming school culture and structure is not an easy task. Isolated reforms, typically at the classroom and school levels, have been attempted over the past several decades, and their impact on the school system has been negligible.

It has become clear that transforming the paradigm of schools is not a simple job. Teachers, administrators, parents, policy-makers, students, and all other stakeholder groups must work together, as they cannot change such a complex culture and system alone.

In order to transform our schools to be truly learner-centered, a critical systems approach to transformation is essential. Hopefully, with state leadership through FutureMinds, the critical systems approach to educational change in the SST Protocol, and the new knowledge about learner-centered instruction, we will be able to create a better place for our children to learn and grow. However, this task will not be easy. One essential ingredient for it to succeed is the availability of powerful tools to help teachers and students in the learner-centered paradigm.

The fourth article in this series will address this need. Alexander, P. McCombs Chair , Taking research on learning seriously: Implications for teacher education. Baker, F. Organizational systems: General systems approaches to complex organizations.

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Homewood, IL: R. Banathy, B. Systems design of education: A journey to create the future. A systems view of education: Concepts and principles for effective practice. Battino, W. Systemic changes in the Chugach School District. TechTrends, 50 2 , 51— Bransford, J. How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school.

Caine, R.

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