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educating all knowledge

How do you bring all forms of knowledge together in one class room with out lossing the smart or the dum when teaching to the middle student

Hi Tracy,
This is a question that challenges all teachers. How to blend all of the students' needs into learning opportunities. One way of doing this is to assign students to groups that can work together using everyone's strengths and experiences. Another is to offer case studies or problem solving situations. This way students with different abilities can use their expertise and newly acquired knowledge in the different applications.

One way in which I try to deal with this issue is to encourage my "smarter" students to answer questions - then ask the "mid-level" students to breakdown the answers given - while encouraging the "lower level" students to ask further questions, to respond to what the "mid-level" students are saying. Sometimes getting the "slower" students to participate is hard - but always seems worth the effort.

Teaching in a shop environment I can use the group idea that has been suggested in another post in this forum (grouping the different levels together and allowing the students to "levelset themselves" or I can allow the slower to work at their own pace and the faster to move forward. When I first started I made sure that I assigned shop groups to levelset the class, now I tend not to do that, I allow the students to pick their own groups - I find that by assigning groups I am sometimes unintentionally punishing those who have more skills by holding them back with those that don't.

Perhaps we need to face reality that every student who graduates from our program will graduate with the same basic skills; but they will have different levels of understanding and different outcomes. This sort of makes sense because they are different people coming into the program.

Hi Chris,
This is sometimes a hard concept for people to understand. People are different and as a result of the differences they use their knowledge and skills in different ways. This is why some individuals stay with one employer for their entire career doing the same work. Others start their own businesses, move up in companies, etc. It is how each of us use our talents and the skills we have to "grow" our careers in relation to what our goals are.

I like the suggestion that Carl has made with regard to all levels of students. It makes all the difference in the world when you can involve all the students to work and feed off of each other. It's what teaching is all about! Bravo, Carl!

My idea on that is that you will always have outliers either way. There are students that will always be challenged by the material and others that won’t. The first thing you need to do is to identify people in either group. Then, you may use the “smart” ones to help you with examples or illustrations in the class. You can also use them to summarize or decode the material for the rest of the class. Another strategy is using in-class group exercises where you mix “smarts” and “not-to-smarts” together and make the smarts the leaders of the group; make them responsible for the group interaction and outcome. Then make the groups compete with each other in the resolution of the “problem” or case study.

I like this, having the better students help and encourage the others in small ways will help the overall climate of the class, bring the struggling students up to speed while doing away with any cliques. It promotes teamwork which is crutial in the world.

Treat every students the same way. race color age etc...

I would have never thought of this. This sounds like it would realy work, i wll try to do this in my classes.

teamwork is one of the most effective ways to promote learning in a environment which brings together students of many different ages as well as ethnic - education and social backgrounds.
in fact, teamwork is assessed and graded in my classes.

I try to reach every student across the board, in a manner that they can relate too. If the students feel that they cannot relate then they are more likely to get distracted or ignore the information that is being given

Totally agree. It encourage some students to participate and also, encourage students to help others and work more as a team.

As a teacher, I find this statement offensive on several levels and I am surprised it is still here.

Nonetheless, addressing different learners in the classroom is one of the most challenging aspects of a teacher's job. It requires you know your students, the material and various learning styles and angles from which to approach the material. It requires a constant interaction with students to gauge your effectiveness across the board.

For me, much of it is also in the attitude the teacher conveys. Regardless of the IQ of my students, I truly believe they can all offer something. For those of us teaching at Career Colleges, it is understood many of our students struggled in traditional classrooms. We must embrace this challenge. If we have a desire to only teach to the "smart," then we are likely to put forth an attitude that encourages only those students, not all students, to participate. Much of the dislike students have of traditional education comes not from lack of ability, but of a bad learning experience as the result of a poor instructor or environment.

Hi Summer,
You make a very good point about teaching to all students. This is a must for instructors. Each student deserves that level of respect. If they are treated with respect they will respond accordingly. It is up to them to put forth the effort to be successful in the class knowing their instructor is behind them to lend support when needed.

This is a great way to teach. I will grade on an individual basis. I will then create mini-groups within the classroom and then I will give those mini-groups tasks. I then have the mini-groups interact with each other. The classes really enjoy this and it makes them interact with everyone. They get to know each other, be more comfortable around everyone and they also start to really help each other out when it's needed.

I have assigned group projects that are graded individually to several of my classes and what I find is the students will warm up to each other and learn to compliment each other's work.
I believe that if they know that they are evaluated separately and that their performance (or lack there of) will not jeopardize the grades of other students they are free to learn to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
They soon learn to work together to help every participant to be successful. Some become tutors, some learners, and some become motivational speakers or cheerleaders. And most importantly, they all learn to appreciate their team members and embrace their similarities and their differences.

I agree that this is an effective way of being sure that all levels of students are involved in the process. It also helps the students, no matter what level they are currently at, to feel on an equal playing field.

Hello Tracy,
One technique I have used is to identify the "smart" student and empower them. Let them know that as a "leader" it is their responsibility to help coach the other students along.

what a great idea - i'm going to try that with my students

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