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EPB4053 LANGUAGE AND TEACHING METHODOLOGY

LESSON NINE:
LEARNING STYLES AND DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION

1.0

INTRODUCTION

The English language curriculum recognises that learners differ from each other in the way they learn. Learners possess their own strengths and unique intelligences, and where possible these considerations are to be taken into account in the learning outcomes (KBSM English Language Syllabus, 2000:2) . This lesson deals with aspects of students learning styles and individual differences, and the implications on classroom teaching and learning of English language (i.e., differentiated instruction). At the end of the lesson, you will be able to: (a) Explain the terms and relationship of learning styles and individual differences (b) Plan English language lessons for differentiated instruction.

2.0 LEARNING STYLES AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES 2.1 What are learning styles? Learning styles are various approaches or ways of learning. It emphasizes that students are different and therefore they have their own preferred learning styles. Most students prefer individualised learning styles. For example, some students learn better if they can see the information; others through hearing, or touch, while others like to just sitting down and listen. However, most people will learn through more than one learning style, they will learn best through a specific style. ( Eileen, http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/education-260201-5.html) As such, you as teachers, should assess your students learning styles and adapt your teaching methods to best fit each students learning styles. 2.2 What are types of learning styles?

There are three main types of learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic. However,
most people learn through a combination of learning styles, but everybody is different.

Types of learners Auditory

Characteristics They learn effectively through listening. They like to listen to things being explained than read about them, and they like to engage in discussions so that they can talk and listen to their classmates about content, ideas and opinions. They learn more through more

through listening to talks, lectures and discussions. They solve problems by talking things through and listening to what other people have to say about a subject.
Visual The visual learners learn the most through seeing. They learn better by looking at graphics, watching a demonstration, or reading. They use cues such as body language and facial expression to help them learn and understand what others are saying. It is easy to look at charts and graphs than focusing while listening to an explanation They are physically active in the learning process. They like doing and moving and they process information through a hands-on experience. They may become quickly bored than other students

Kinesthetic

while listening to a class lecture.

Task 1: Analyse the three main types of learning styles. Identify which learning style(s) suit you the most. Explain why. Share it with your friend.

2.3 What research said about learning styles and the classroom? Dunn, R and K. Dunn (1978) write that learners are affected by their: (1) immediate environment (sound, light, temperature, and design); (2) own emotionality (motivation, persistence, responsibility, and need for structure or flexibility); (3) sociological needs (self, pair, peers, team, adult, or varied); and (4) physical needs (perceptual strengths, intake, time, and mobility). They analyze other research and make the claim that not only can students identify their preferred learning styles, but that students also score higher on tests, have better attitudes, and are more efficient if they are taught in ways to which they can more easily relate. Therefore, it is to the educators advantage to teach and test students in their preferred styles. Teachers should try to make changes in their classroom that will be beneficial to every learning style. Redesigning the classroom involves locating dividers that can be used to arrange the room creatively (such as having different learning stations and instructional areas), clearing the floor area, and incorporating student thoughts and ideas into the design of the classroom. Small-group techniques often include a circle of knowledge in which students sit in a circle and discuss a subject collaboratively as well as other techniques such as team learning and brainstormingby using the following elements: 1) clear statement of what the students needs to learn; 2) multisensory resources (auditory, visual, tactile, kinesthetic) that teach the required information; 3) activities through which the newlymastered information can be used creatively; 4) the sharing of creative projects within small groups of classmates; 5) at least 3 small-group techniques; 6) a pre-test, a selftest, and a post-test.

Sprenger ( 2003) recommends classroom learning on three premises: 1) Teachers can be learners, and learners can be teachers. We are all both. 2) Everyone can learn under the right circumstances. 3) Learning is fun! Make it appealing. By using a variety of teaching methods from each of these categories, teachers are able to accommodate different learning styles. They are also able to challenge students to learn in different ways.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_styles)
3.0 WHY ARE LEARNING STYLES IMPORTANT? When a person has a difficult time learning in one specific class, the reason could be the different learning styles. The teacher may use one dominant type of teaching and the student may not learn in this way. Understanding your learning style is certainly important in a school setting.

(http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/education-260201-5.html).

4.0 DIFFERENTIATED (TIERED) INSTRUCTION The following passage answers the following questions. (a) (b) (c) (d) What is differentiated instruction? Why is it essential to have differentiated instruction? What are the four steps in planning a differentiated instruction? How you would vary your materials, process and assessment in differentiating your instruction to a mixed group of learners.

Discuss in your class.

A Teachers Guide to Differentiating Instruction (http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Teacher_s_Guide/?page=7)

Introduction Does effectively teaching 30 students in one classroom require teachers to develop 30 lessons, one tailor-made for each student? Or should teachers aim for the middle and hope to reach most students in a given lesson? The answer is not simple. While most would agree it is impractical to try to individualize every lesson for every child, research has shown that teaching to the middle is ineffective. It ignores the needs of advanced students, often leaving them

unchallenged and bored, while it intimidates and confuses lower functioning learners. Best practice suggests an alternative: differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction is an approach that assumes there is a diversity of learners in every classroom and that all of those learners can be reached if a variety of methods and activities are used. Carol Tomlinson (2000), a noted expert on differentiation, points out that research has proven that students are more successful when they are taught based on their own readiness levels, interests, and learning profiles. What is Differentiation? Simply stated, differentiation is modified instruction that helps students with diverse academic needs and learning styles master the same challenging academic content. Although it might seem like a daunting task, designing and applying a variety of strategies within one classroom can be done at a variety of levels. Teachers can differentiate instruction with an individual student, within a small group, or with a whole class. Differentiating does not mean providing separate, unrelated activities for each student but does mean providing interrelated activities that are based on student needs for the purpose of ensuring that all students come to a similar grasp of a skill or idea (Good, 2006). How to Start Four planning steps set the stage for effective differentiated instruction. First, teachers must have a thorough understanding of the academic content or skill they want their students to learn. Second, they must determine how much their students already knowand what they do not knowabout that content. Then they must decide which instructional methods and materials will most successfully address those needs and, finally, design ways to adequately assess student mastery of what is taught. Taking stock of student knowledge and understanding is a key first component of successful differentiation. While end-of-year tests provide some information that can help differentiate instruction, regularly used, classroom-based assessments are much more effective in achieving this purpose. These assessments help teachers accurately measure their students academic strengths, weaknesses, and interests on a day-to-day basis and provide a roadmap for next steps in instruction. An initial skills assessment can be conducted at the beginning of the school year, but teachers also should gauge student knowledge and needs before introducing a new concept, starting a new unit, or when developing lessons to review or expand on topics already covered. These assessments can be formal, such as diagnostic tests that evaluate specific skill levels, individual student performance notebooks in which teachers keep track of objectives or skills the student has or has not mastered, or student surveys and questionnaires that determine interests and preferences. But skills assessments also can be informal. Teachers can review existing student work such as writing samples or test results, conduct conferences with students, or observe them to get a sense of their current skill level. (See The Centers December 2006 newsletter, Using Classroom Assessment to Improve Teaching, athttp://www.centerforcsri.org/files/TheCenter_NL_Dec06.pdf for more information.) Formal or informal, the key to the successful use of these assessments is keeping track of the findings and using them to design instructional strategies tailored for the individual student.

Vary Materials Author Joyce Van Tassel-Baska (2003) suggests that the selection of materials for use in the classroom is a crucial next step to effective differentiated instruction. For instance, students in a third-grade class might be learning how to determine main ideas as a part of the language arts curriculum. A variety of materials can be used to support instruction in that concept, including the following: Nonfiction and fiction, written at a variety of reading levels. For struggling readers, the text might be accompanied by a spoken version. The use of leveled materials challenges accomplished readers but does not intimidate students who are less skilled. Pictures that invite students to identify the visual main idea. Video clips. Newspaper or magazine articles that reflect student interests or cultural backgrounds. The use of varied materials will encourage these students to understand the concept of main idea not only within language arts but in other settings as well. Vary Process When teachers differentiate instruction, they vary not only the materials students use but also the way students interact with them. Varying instructional activities allows all students to learn the same concepts and skills with varied levels of support, challenge, or complexity (Tomlinson, 2000, p. 2). And differentiating does not mean teaching students one by one. Good (2006) suggests that teachers plan several activity options, not one for each student. Instead of generating isolated tasks, on any given day the teacher may work with the whole class, small groups, individual students, or a combination of all three (p. 14). When introducing new content, for example, the teacher might address all students but make use of graphs, pictures, or artifacts in addition to lecturing. At another time, teachers might ask most students to work in pairs or independently while they assist a small group of students, using questioning that encourages critical thinking or assesses the students level of understanding. For literature instruction, small groups can be arranged by achievement level, but they also can be grouped by a common interest in the subject matter even if materials at varying readinglevels are used (Willis & Mann, 2000). Teachers can differentiate even in their one-to-one work with students, teaching the same concept but using an interview with one student and flashcards with another. As always, the keys to choosing the right strategies are capitalizing on student strengths and possessing a clear understanding of students current academic needs. Vary Assessment Teachers who effectively reach all of their students stay focused on teaching challenging academic content but vary the materials and strategies they use. They also give students options when it comes to demonstrating their mastery of that content, and these options allow for another form of differentiation. Teachers might vary the length of time a student has to complete a task or allow a written essay rather than an oral presentation. Making use of rubricsguides that identify the criteria for demonstrating mastery of assigned workcan empower students to choose how they will show what they know and also provide them with a

way to assess the quality of their own work. Willis and Mann provide concrete examples of how to differentiate the means by which students demonstrate mastery, from creating a newsletter in which students write stories on a topic of their choice to staging a mock trial to demonstrate their understanding of the concept beyond reasonable doubt. Conclusion Differentiating instruction alone will not automatically improve student performance. Tomlinson (2000) points out that efforts to differentiate are most successful when they are combined with the use of a high-quality curriculum, research-based instructional strategies, well-designed activities that address the needs and interests of students, active learning, and student satisfaction with the lesson. Tomlinson (1999) also notes that moving from traditional instruction to this approach takes time and recommends that teachers introduce differentiation strategies gradually. Schools and districts can support teachers in learning these new skills by designing professional development activities that provide clear models fordifferentiated instruction in action (p. 115). The consistent, effective use of differentiated instruction also requires considerable amounts of practice and feedback. To increase their repertoire of skills, general education teachers also can consult with colleagues with specialized training in differentiation, such as special education teachers and teachers of gifted students. Keck and Kinney assert that once teachers learn the needs of their students and incorporate strategies to meet those needs into their instruction, differentiation ensures equity in the learning process (2005, p. 15). Although it requires attention, skill, and commitment to its use, differentiated instruction is a practical and attainable method of facilitating learning and academic growth in all students. References

Good, M. E. (2006). Differentiated instruction: Principles and techniques for the elementary grades. San Rafael, CA: School of Business, Education, and Leadership at Dominican University of California. Retrieved January 18, 2007, fromhttp://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/33/17/b 4.pdf Keck, S., & Kinney S. C. (2005, September).Creating a differentiated classroom. Learning and Leading with Technology, 33(1), 1215. Retrieved January 18, 2007, fromhttp://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/2f/31/de.pdf Tomlinson, C. A. (1999). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Tomlinson, C. A. (2000, August). Differentiation of instruction in the elementary grades. ERIC Digest. Champaign, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education. (ERIC Document No. ED443572). Retrieved January 18, 2007, fromhttp://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/2a/30/e f.pdf

Van Tassel-Baska, J. (2003, January).Differentiating the language arts for high ability learners, K8. ERIC Digest. Arlington, VA: ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education. (ERIC Document No. ED 474306). Retrieved January 18, 2007, fromhttp://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/2a/38/f 4.pdf Willis, S., & Mann, L. (2000, Winter). Differentiating instruction: Finding manageable ways to meet individual needs. Curriculum Update. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved January 18, 2007, fromhttp://www.ascd.org/ed_topics/cu2000win_willis.html

4.2 Activities for Differentiated Instruction

Learning Styles Auditory

Techniques/activities/strategies Record your notes into a tape recorder so that you can listen to the notes again. Discuss the ideas presented in class with other students, the teacher or parents. Explain the concepts learned to other people such as classmates or parents. When studying, read information aloud.

Visual

Use images, pictures and color to enhance your notes. Use layout and organization as a way to see the concepts being taught. Increase understanding by looking up pictures, reading words or finding charts to explain what you have learned. Use different colored pens to take notes to add visual cues to the information you are learning.

Kinesthetic

Use flashcards to memorize information. Use different color pens, pictures or color to add interest to notes. Add descriptive words to information to add to the sense of movement. Practice skills with someone else to increase interaction with material. Role-play concepts to increase interaction.

4.3 A sample lesson plan Activity 5 The following lesson sample is taken from the internet: http://makeworksheets.com/tools/lp.html. Please comment. What can you learn from it on planning a differentiated (tiered) lesson? Can you plan your own lesson?

Date: March 18, 2002

Grade Level: 5th

Teacher Name: D. Ricci

Content: Language Arts

Title : Overview :

School Newspaper Pupils will run a school newspaper on the school website. They will use different literary forms to present the news of the school. Key vocabulary: Fact; Opinion 1. Pupils will create a school newspaper containing three aspects: Latest News, Editorial, and Sports. 2. Pupils will post the school newspaper on the school website.

Goal(s) :

Objectives :

1. Pupils will write three different types of articles- editorial, sports, and latest news. 2. Pupil will write Latest News articles as fact based articles, excluding all opinion. The article will be at least two paragraphs in length and will not exceed five paragraphs. 3. Pupil will write the Sports article as a mixture of fact and opinion. The article will be at least three paragraphs and not exceed five. The first paragraph will present facts only . The second paragraph will be a mixture of fact and opinion. The remaining paragraph(s) will be either a mix of fact and opinion or solely opinion. 4. Pupil will write editorial article as an opinion based article at least three paragraphs in length, not exceeding five paragraphs. The editorial will be an overview of events that have happened within the school or community within the past two weeks. 5. Pupil will write at least two rough drafts of their article and one final copy. All copies will be typed. 6. Pupils will organize the articles in a newspaper format, presenting first the latest news articles, second the editorial, and third the sports articles. 7. Pupils will post the newspaper on the school website monthly. It will be posted on the first Friday of each month. These students will also be responsible for updating website illustrations. 8. Pupils will work cooperatively in groups of two. Each month the group will rotate to a different responsibility. Overhead projector (for computer) School website that posts a school newspaper Our school website programmed for our school newspaper List of pre-determined partners List of pre-determined topics

Materials and Resources:

Computers(2 classroom) Word perfect Internet access Adaptive keyboard Computer paper Procedures: A. Introduction1.Use an overhead projector to read a school newspaper from a different school. 2.Have the pupils read the different types of articles. 3.Explore the newspaper.

B. Development1. Use newspaper for development. 2. Demonstrate that articles are written in different formats. -Editorial-opinion -Sports-facts/opinion -Latest News- facts 3. Explain that the class will be creating a school newspaper. 4. Explain the newspaper will contain the three aspects the example contained: Latest News, Editorial, and Sports. Inform the class that the articles will appear in this order in the paper. 5. Tell the students they will be working in pairs to create the paper. Each pair will be responsible for a different aspect. These responsibilities will be changed monthly. 6. The paper will be posted on the first Friday of every month. 7. Explain the five different responsibilities in creating the paper. 8. Assign partners (pre-arranged)

C. Practice1. Assign a topic for each of the following: Latest News, Editiorial and Sports (use current events from the school) 2. Allow students ten minutes to come up with "articles". 3. Circulate during the activity 4. Have a few groups share their ideas. Work through them together as a class.

D. Independent Practice1. Divide the pairs into three groups. 2. Assign each group a section (Latest News, Editorial, or Sports) 3. Give each pair a pre-determined topic. 4. Pupils will write a rough draft of an article.

E. Accommodations (Differentiated Instruction)1. Pre-arranged partners according to ability level. 2. Word perfect: spell check grammar check word prediction software 3. Adaptive keyboard with sticky keys. 4. Oversized displays

F. Checking for understanding1. During guided practice, circulate and read the materials the pupils are writing. 2. Have pupils read their practice articles aloud. 3. During closure, review the criteria for each section by asking different pupils in the class.

G. Closure1. Assign independent practice. 2. Review the criteria for each section of the newspaper. 3. Explain class tomorrow will be spent preparing these articles for a newspaper- determining which order to place them on the website and how they will link articles to each other. Evaluation: 1. The pupils will have met the criteria for their determined topic. (The correct number of paragraphs, opinion or fact based, and will remain on the assigned topic.) They will not be graded at this point.

5.0 CLOSURE This lesson dealt with aspects of students learning styles and individual differences, and the implications on classroom teaching and learning of English language. Essentially, it emphasized on the application of various learning styles on classroom teaching, i.e., the planning of differentiated instruction.