Week II:The Culture of Differentiation
This weeks proposed question was:
What strategies can adult educators use to enhance the learning environment in support of differentiated instruction? What strategies do you already use? What’s one thing you’ve read about or seen in the activities thus far in this course that you plan to incorporate into your own repertoire of differentiated strategies that you are currently not doing?
As an Army instructor, I will never know everything, but I will know where to get the answers and conduct thorough research if need be. There will be times when a student asks a question, and I as an educator may not know the answer. As a professional, I will utilize my fellow instructors for their knowledge and see if they may have experienced something that falls in line with what the student has questioned. As an Army instructor, I have not conducted every job, nor have I been everywhere. I feel that one of the good things about differentiated instruction is being able to resource and utilize what you have available in order to accomplish the mission, task or whatever it is within the classroom. There will always be someone within a team that has experienced something that someone else has not.
As an Army instructor, I know my students well because I am with them everyday within the classroom during the almost 20-week course. I will be able to continually assess my students, provide counseling and professionally develop my students as their instructor, role player, supervisor and sometimes as a father. I will understand if my students have questions by the non-verbal cues they demonstrate and will ask them follow up questions to ensure they are grasping the material being taught. As an instructor, I will ensure my students conduct collaborative working assignments, which allow students to learn with and from their peers, as well as test them individually for specific tasks. Students will be given the chance to utilize what they learned and apply the knowledge from the course material to conduct military occupational skill (MOS) related tasks.
Self-Direction in adult learning has been a topic of increasing interest and investigation by scholars and practitioners of adult education since the mid 1900’s. Different educators have represented it with a variety of terms, such as self-education, andragogy, self-directed learning, independent study, autonomous learning, self-planned learning, adults’ learning projects, independent study, lifelong learning and auto-didacticism. But each of these terms emphasizes the self-imposed responsibility of the individual learner in the learning process (Guglielmino et al, 2005). Self direction is something that adult learners aspire to do as they seek oppurtnuties to focucs and navigate their individual learning.
Rarelyhas organizational or social change practice been truly of, by, and for the people; rarely have the marginalized and vulnerable populations been looked upon as reservoirs of wisdom and agency; and rarely have all members of communities been invited to listen, dialogue, reflect, and self-discover the wisdom that lurks among them. Even rarer are instances where invitation, dialogue, and self-discovery lead to community actions, guided by data that the community collects, processes, and uses for monitoring progress and goals (Singhal, 2010; Singhal & Dura, 2012).
Students are given the opportunity to succeed which enables them to learn whether it is visual, auditory or kinesthetically. There is a 3-step phase: Crawl, walk and run method. Each student must be able to understand the fundamentals needed to conduct the job right. Once the student has been taught the fundamentals, the student can know apply the fundamentals to the situation or task given. Once the student has been given ample time to apply the fundamentals, the student is ready to be assessed on what they learned as they are graded on the application process.
Most adults spend a considerable time acquiring information and learning new skills. The rapidity of change, the continuous creation of new knowledge, and an ever-widening access to information make such acquisitions necessary. Much of this learning takes place at the learner’s initiative, even if available through formal settings. A common label given to such activity is self-directed learning. In essence, self- directed learning is seen as any study form in which individuals have primary responsibility for planning, implementing, and even evaluating the effort. Most people, when asked, will proclaim a preference for assuming such responsibility whenever possible.
What strategies do you already use?
I personally like to mentor and coach my students because this builds them professionally as well as individually. Carre and Hiemstra (2013) in Chapter three refer to a study by Hiemstra of Syracuse University on Facilitating Adult Self-Directed Learning. The Figure 3.1 on page 32 is comprehensive.
I am already familiar with the 5 steps Carol Ann Tomlinson describes in Chapter 3, page 16 – (1) assess student readiness through a variety of means, (2) “read” and interpret student clues about interests and learning preferences, (3) create a variety of ways students can gather information and ideas, (4) develop varied ways students can explore and “own” ideas, and (5) present varied channels through which students can express and expand understandings.
Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Hiemstra, R. (1994). Self-directed learning. In T. Husen & T. N. Postlethwaite (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Education (second edition), Oxford: Pergamon Press.
ICT Connection – Http://ictconnection.edumall.sg