UTILIZING BEST PRACTICES TO AID LEARNERS LEARN


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Several literature exist with respect to methods of teaching applicable in the educational sector. Learners are individually unique, they learn differently and reason in a varying fashion. This implies that learners do not learn the same way, it is thus incumbent on the teacher to identify appropriate means to ensure learners’ active participation and apt learning. No learning can be said to have taken place in the learner until there is a relatively permanent change in the learner’s behavior as a result of his or her experience. It is relatively permanent because learning does not necessarily take place as a result of impulse or stimulus, rather learning exist as a result of carefully arranged and sequentially logical encounters between the learners and the learning experiences which are in most cases planned. It suffice to add that various learning theories exist each explaining modes through which learners acquire their learning.

In the traditional school system, the teacher is seen as the one charged with the responsibilities of ensuring that learners learn. However, evolution in the educational sector spell out the need to deviate from this traditional approach and embrace the rather all inclusive best practice in the teaching and learning environment. Educators advocate the need for students to be actively involved in the learning process, in other words, the drift advocates the fact that learners should not be given all facts to work on, but rather be given the appropriate resources to enable them acquire their learning in the best modes possible.

In recent times, terms such as discovery learning, constructivism, team learning, team building, group works are readily identified as essential and best practices in the educational sector. Constructivism advocates the need for learners to discover their learning, becomes active key players in the learning process, take ownership of their learning amongst others. This approach to learning places the teacher as a facilitator rather than a custodian of knowledge. The teacher functions solely as a guide, a facilitator and encourages learners where necessary. The learners are given the opportunities to explore their environment, discover facts that are vital in their learning process and at intervals present detailed reports of their findings. This stage is essential to enable the teacher correct misconceptions, provide additional resources and identify students requiring diagnosis.

Diagnosis is a key concept in the teaching and learning enterprise. The teacher functions just as the way a doctor in the hospital functions. The teacher affords the learners the opportunities to interact with him or her, listens to the learners with rapt attention and provides individual recommendations. It should be added that the teacher should endeavor to interact from time to time with his or her learners, even when they feel timid, shy or afraid of approaching him or her. The teacher is thus advised to be welcoming and accommodating. In most cases, for most developing countries, the teacher is confronted with a massive population, where-in the ideal recommendation for teacher-students ratio are grossly not adhered to. This situation sees the teacher in a constant state of pressure. An inexperienced teacher might feel unproductive particularly if class control becomes practically impossible.

Clearly, the aforementioned situation is one which readily mar the efforts of the teacher. However, for most experienced teachers, they devise means and avenues to cater for this massive population bearing in mind the individual differences in these learners. Teachers are encouraged to utilize among other methods; students grouping, resource materials, raised platform, team teaching amongst others. It should be added that no single therapy can be said to be the best possible, teachers are thus advised to utilize approaches that are readily effective with respect to the peculiarities of their location, learners, school environment and other prevailing factors capable of impeding the success of the teacher’s task.

When the teacher utilize learners’ grouping, he or she should be meticulous enough to identify the stars and isolates in the classroom. Stars find it difficulty working with each other. They are most times engaged in unhealthy rivalry, which may mar the success of the teacher’s intention for the grouping. Hence, the teachers should be adequately familiar with the individual learners in the classroom, he should identify the high flyers, the introverts, the extroverts, the gifted, the bullies amongst others readily present in the classroom. The classroom is usually a heterogeneous combination. Learners are not defined by a single feature. Once the teacher identifies this, he or she is already confronting the challenges in the classroom. Based on the peculiarities, the teacher should ensure that the learners are grouped without any form of bias while still ensuring that high flyers are readily available and present in each groups.

It should be added that teachers should be creative while grouping students. Group leaders should not in most cases be selected by the teacher, he or she should allow room for the opinions of the learners in each group while selecting their leaders, this develops the spirit of team work and team building in the learners. Often times, group leaders are allocated to high flyer or extroverts with the low performing learners and introverts relegated to the rear. Teachers are encouraged to avoid this practice, as this tend to demoralize learners of this categories, and often times, they see themselves as not being welcome in the group.

Teachers should be able to develop various domains of the learners. Sometimes, high-flyers are usually shy while taking leadership positions, they are either too scared of been in the public, or simply cannot create the time to be in charge, thus, they only act in the group as mercenaries, solution providers, problem solvers amongst others, leaving the group members in a relaxed and ever dependent mode of all is well, there is “a power house” in the team. When teachers notice this in a group, teachers should endeavor to find out why this is so. It may be that the high-flyer who in this case the engine room, may feel uncomfortable while taking up leadership roles, hence solely functioning as the engine room. The teacher should prescribe the “talking to” therapy for such a learner.

The talking to therapy simply means talking to as depicted in the words. Teachers should create room for engaging their learners in productive discussions. While discussing with these learners, teachers should present them with a conducive atmosphere wherein they are relaxed and comfortable without any fear of intimidation or shyness. When this is achieved, the teacher should ask salient questions as to public speaking, leadership roles, team work amongst others from such students, based on the feedback received, the teacher can either continue with the talking to session or refer such learner to the school counselor where such exist.

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