Treating every student as equal is the first mistake most teachers or educators make. The learning need of every child differs—sometimes significantly—from one student to another. Sadly, they are placed in the same classroom and it up to the teacher to come up with a teaching method that will balance the different needs of the students.
Different students have their optimum learning method. Some will learn pretty fast when they read texts while others prefer to listen to the teacher. There is yet another group of students that will need a practical demonstration for whatever they have learned to stick. The teacher is left with the difficult task of finding the balance that will be favorable to every student.
The term ‘knowing your students’ is often overused such that educators stop seeing the importance of doing so. however, I would not underscore the fact that coming to know your students is challenging for any educator particularly if the student is having difficulty with their schoolwork. Knowing your student goes beyond social and administrative skills such as acquiring information about family and other personal details. To maximize the learning experience, it is important for educators to dig beyond superficial acquaintance.
The learning need of students is usually a product of diverse factors including socioeconomic factors, individual learning history, and background language. A student that is taught in a language that is not their primary language has an increased chance of encountering more difficulty than a student learning in their mother tongue.
There are students who are highly gifted or talented. They may be gifted in a single subject or across several areas and tend to score high on achievement tests. Most gifted students benefit more from a learning method that encourages the use of higher thinking skills, independent study, and faster-paced learning. This explains why the first task of every teacher is to know their students. One of the key factors that can transform gifts to talent is the student’s educational environment.
Every teacher is likely to have all set of students in their class. To make sure that I carry all the students along, I divide the lesson into different sections to accommodate the various learning preferences that each of the students may have. This strategy is perfect if you are new with the students and have not had time to know them on a personal level.
For example, if I am teaching about ionic compounds, I will give the students notes, let them read a couple of paragraphs on the topic from different resources then use buttons to mimic the movement of the electrons and if I have access to computers and the right software I can let them practice the movement of electrons using computer simulations, Inasmuch as I try to fuse in four to five learning techniques into a single lesson, I try to limit the use of electronic gadgets which can lead to distractions.
Unfortunately, there are teachers that are hostile to students with one form of disability or the other when we all know that it is important to treat all students with dignity as well as give them the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of education in a supportive environment.
If you have a student with one form of disability or the other, the first step is to make necessary adjustments to accommodate them in that class. Such adjustments should be geared towards helping students with disabilities participate in training and learning just like their counterparts without disabilities. Before making such adjustments, the educator should determine; if there has been any previous adjustment, the nature of the student’s disability, and the student’s preferred adjustment.
Educators that make efforts to know their students often unlock a number of benefits including; the ability to create an environment that is psychologically safe for learners, ascertain the readiness of each student to learn so that they don’t waste their time, identify the various was a curriculum can be handled to increase success and engagement, as well as develop enhanced emotional intelligence within the classrooms.