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How is the best way to clearly assess a new class? Is it better to generalize a classroom as to whether they are more visual or more practical and then attend to their needs as a whole or individuals?

Hi Robert,
You can use different learning preference assessments to find out the way your students prefer to learn. Once you get the baseline of your students you then can develop different delivery activities that will offer the content in the different preferences. Some of the content will be activity based, other will be written word, and some through lecture. This way each student will have his/her individual preference(s) targeted at sometime during the course.

I typically assess a new class by first laying out my ground rules orallly. Then I ask the students questions to see if they understand the rules. If they are oral learners I'm fine. If not, I revert to writing on the board, and then ask them to write down what it was I wanted from the class as rules.

Generalizing is best in classes of adult learners as they bring so much to the table that it would be impossible to assess them individually from the get-go. I try to give a quiz early so as to be able to evaluate whether or not my approach is reaching the majority of the students.

My classes don't allow for "hands on" learning but do allow for group projects and group interactions. Monitoring these activities help me assess individuals.

Hi James,
Good strategies. Each of these methods really help you to target the learning needs of your students and then adjust your instructional delivery. The use of student interactions and discussions is a really good way to get students invested into the course content.

I recall discussing this type of assessment in another course. On the first day of class I go around the room and ask the students to tell us about themselves. I ask them why they chose our school, and what outcome they hope to achieve. During this exercise (ice breaker) I am able to discover many helpful hints about the type of person they are and the way they learn

I try to get to know the class the first day by asking each person to share their background with the class. this way i get to know if they were in any way involved with what we will be learning in class, then i can judge what my instructual goals will be and how to approch them.

An example that works for me when teaching a stand alone topic example bloodborne pathogen, I like to first provide a pre-test assessment for the students. After completing the lecture, group discussion and training DVD, students are given a post test that differs slightly from the pre-test. Students are more attentive during the lesson as they recognize from the pre-test that they need to learn this valuable information.

Hello James,

I like your student approach.

Hi Patricia,
This is a great way to set the stage for student success. You are showing them what is going to come, what they need to know and then assessing if they know it. This leads to greater retention of content.

This is a good way to "know your students" better, not personaly, but how they are as a student. With the majority of the students you can grasp how they are going to learn just by this simple exersize. i have noticed that there are some students who will expand a little bit more about theirselves and their goals, while others are too timid to talk much. This, i feel is a good way to start teaching them how they will learn.

Hi Cole,
This is a good way to "read" the students so you can develop your instructional delivery around their needs. Each class has its' own dynamics so instructors need to analyze their learning preferences and support needs so they can be more effective in their delivery.

I am an intrustor in a culinary schoo.I am the last instructor they will have before they go out in the real world,most of the time the student are very tired. I assess a new class by laying down vrey strong rules s on the first days and then I give them a demo of my expectation

in my oppinion, one of the most important issues for a teacher at the beginning of a semester is to have a understanding of the level of learning abilities of the students in the class and adjust the delivery of content accordingly.

By using differet methods I can reach my students easier based on their learning styles .when I want to emphaisze a particular method I make sure which is the predominant learning style in that particular class and that helps considerably.

When teaching our school's College Success class, we do an assessment with the students, which they often find very helpful. We also have a lecture on learning strategies and tips based on each type.

However, in my other classes, I have found it is important to consistently instruct and provide delivery utilizing several different methods, so that regardless of the learning style, the student can adjust.

As I teach at a Culinary school, it is a pretty safe assumption that many of our students are dominant visual and kinesthetic learners, thus regardless of the class, those styles should be incorporated.

I find that no matter the type of learning that is predominant for the individual student, they can all benefit from varied presentations of material. If some things are oral, others are visual, others are kinesthetic, and all of these occur in every class. This prevents the students from falling into a lull and gets them involved engaging all parts of their brain.

Hi Erica,
You are right and this is why instructional planning is so critical. If instructors don't plan well and offer variety then their course is going to be a long one for both the student and themselves.

I don't beleive there is a best way to clearly assess a new class. Each one is so diverse the assessment should be based on that particular class and it's diversity make-up. I will say say if one is to generalize identifying Adult learners vs right out of high school will hepl determine whether Visul or practical learning is more effective. As far as attending to the students needs as a whole or as individuals I feel whenever you can individual is always preferable.

I also start by laying out the ground rules of the school and hospital we are affiliated with. I then give the students a survey with several questions which will help me understand them and their learning processes.My students experience both hands on demonstrations and return demonstrations and group interactioins.
Mariann U

If I understand your advise one could begin a class by using several methods of delivering information (content), then determine which methods yield the best response?

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