teaching for differences

Here are a few valuable webpages that would help us explore this aspect  of what makes a professional teacher. It stimulates thought and hopefully drive us to make a difference. I’ll add more links as I explore the issue.

1.

http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/content/cntareas/reading/li400.htm

This site explores the issue of multiculturalism and linguistic diversity. It offers a review of some research, and provides some general ideas on what we must do to address the needs of our non-native english speakers.

Globalisation and the high mobility of society today are visible  in  schools and classrooms.  This could be the great levelling ground for society, providing all students with the opportunity to be exposed to and learn to understand various cultures and practices. But in order to create this level ground, we need to acknowledge differences and help everyone make the leap from cloistering in the comforts of familiarity to the brave new world of exploring the new and unfamiliar.

Within the classroom, we do a disservice to students when we don’t acknowledge their rich culture and literacies. Imposing the demands of standard english to non-native speakers through uncompromising lessons in the classroom, rigid assessments and standardised testing does a disservice to the needs of english language learners. We need to recognise that times have changed and we need to acknowledge this change in society’s demographics by modifying our policies about english curriculum and assessment.

2. Gender differences

http://crr.math.arizona.edu/GenderKeynote.pdf

An interesting read, with many practical ideas, this PDF file “Teaching to Gender Differences” by Bill McBride shares information on what makes boys and girls different. It offers a range of ideas on how the needs of these students can be met in our classes. Some things I have done to address these differences are

a. in my selection of reading texts – I never choose too “girly” a book, or a book solely about sport for general class reading. Group reading   as in reading circles etc are best. I have noted that I do sometimes have keen sporty girls who have chosen to read a book about sports with the boys group.

b. Incorporating kineasthetic activities to address the needs of restless boys. Actually the awareness of multiple intelligences comes in useful here too, as incorporating a range of activities to acknowledge these intelligences will invariably address the needs of all the students. I try to have a range of  visual, mathematical, intra and interpersonal activities each day.

 

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