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Changing Teaching Pratices (1)

Changing Teaching Pratices (1)

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presented. In assessing, this we can consider variations in factors such as student
learning style, questioning techniques and level of participation. Some of the ques-
tions we need to answer are:

THow are the concepts going to be presented to the students?
TAre the concepts or skills to be presented relevant to students’ needs,
interests and experiences?
THow can the concepts or skills be made relevant to students?
The second step in this process takes into account a variety of techniques
for gathering and presenting information. The methods of presentation do not mean
that we as teachers impart all information. It may mean that we provide materials and
the students gather the information for themselves.
There are numerous ways to present or include a concept or skill in a les-
son. Smith and Bentley as cited in Schulz and Turnbull (1984) identified a variety
of methods for presentation which are referred to as input modes. They identified
five major modes used to gather information. These are: view/observe; read; listen;
smell/taste/touch; and try/do/use. Each of these has a number of techniques. For
example, under the input mode of view/observe, some methods include visuals, bul-
letin boards, transparencies, posters, field trips and television. Taking the view/ob-
serve mode and applying this to introducing the concept of setting, a variety of ap-
proaches can be used. For example, students can view a video or familiar television
programme that depicts one setting or various settings, read a play where each act
depicts a new setting and listen to an audio-recording of a short story where the set-
ting is described.

A variety of teaching modes can be used to differentiate the methods of
presentation. For example, teachers can present information to their students in a
number of ways such as through lectures, discussions, asking questions and demon-
strations. Using a variety of teaching modes can help meet individual student needs
and engage the child. For example, teachers can structure “asking questions” from
simple to complex, thus, facilitating students’ participation in lessons at their own
levels of thinking.

Different modes and techniques assist us in selecting a variety of methods
for presentation which are appropriate for teaching a particular concept or skill.
These different approaches are used to meet the diverse interests, learning styles, and
abilities of students within one class. In assessing the various modes and techniques
for presenting a concept, it is essential to recognize differences in student learning
styles and the factors that affect them. For example, when concepts are being taught,
they can be presented using visual, auditory and kinaesthetic/tactile modes simulta-
neously or consecutively within one lesson or a number of lessons.
When teaching the concepts of setting, we can focus on presenting infor-
mation in each perceptual mode. For example, in presenting one of the lessons on
setting, we can introduce the concept using the auditory mode. Students can be asked
to listen to part of a sound track from a movie. Pairs of students can be requested to
walk through a store, or particular sections of their school or other building. Within
each group, one of the students can do this with his/her eyes closed; the other acts as
the guide. Then, the students can present the settings which they experienced audito-
rily. They can depict their “findings” in an oral, written or pictorial format. Creating a
setting for something heard and not viewed might require considerable skill for some
students. For other students who prefer the auditory mode, it may help them perceive
information and be more descriptive than when using the other perceptual styles.
Student participation and group size are important components used in
accommodating variations in learning style and ability. Students may partake partially
or fully in presenting or in gathering information for further study. Students may
participate partially by being paired with another student (partners) or doing only a


T Changing Teaching Practices, using curriculum differentiation to respond to students’ diversity

segment of the presentation based on their skill level. For example, one student may
make a short presentation based on a personal experience or an interview; whereas,
others in the class may be doing longer presentations based on investigations, experi-
ments or other types of research.

Students can be presented with information or gather it as individuals,
pairs or groups. Some students are self-directed and motivated, and consequently may
prefer to seek information independently of us and other students. Others are more
receptive to presenting and working in pairs or small groups. As stated above, the
needs and background experiences of individual students will help us in making deci-
sions about methods of presentation that involve pairs and group work. Large classes
present a real challenge to the teacher; but it should still be possible to do some pair
or group work.

Methods of Practice. The third step in the process of curriculum differentia-
tion is the methods of practice and performance. It takes into account a variety of tech-
niques and other considerations for students to process the information presented.
Smith and Bentley as cited in Schulz and Turnbull (1984) identified five ways in-
formation is synthesized by the learners (referred to as output modes). These are
make/construct, verbalize, write, solve and perform. A few techniques offered in the
make/construct mode are dioramas, graphs, maps, pictographs, and timelines. It can
be seen that many different strategies can be used to teach and practice the same
concept or skill. For example, if students are learning the concept of setting, then ac-
tivities under make/construct might include making a diorama, model, picture, and
bulletin board of a setting.

As in the methods of presentation, changing the level of complexity can
be applied to the methods of practice. For example, some students may give an oral
report using factual information by describing a setting from a story they have read.
Other students may give their report based on synthesizing information (a higher
level of thinking) by describing a setting they have created or evaluating the effective-
ness of a setting as depicted in a novel.
If the concept of setting is being taught, then some methods of practice
at the middle school level may include those depicted below. In this example, the
teacher selects one activity for each student to complete and allows students to make
choices for the other assignments. A number of students focus on the enrichment

: Methods of Practice for the Concept of Setting



Small Groups

Draws or finds a picture
to depict a described
(e.g., rural setting)

Briefly describes a
setting of a television
program or rock video.

Writes a paragraph
describing a setting
from an oral reading or
a narrated story.

Presents a description
of a setting orally.

Discuss home setting.

Find a picture similar
to one’s home setting.

Design a setting for a
traditional dance.

One describes setting;
the other determines

Develop the relation
of setting and atmos-

Construct a diorama
of a setting to match a

Paint a wall mural with
a setting that wel-
comes visitors to the

Construct a setting for
a class or school play,
concert or other event.

U Unit 5

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