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- Elementary, Middle School & High School
Stadardized Testing and No Child Left Behind
Encouraging Different Teaching Styles
The educational research literature taken together suggests that understanding of and willingness to use differentiated (individualized) instructional styles properly must incorporate traditional and non-traditional methods. This can enable teachers to achieve significant increases in student achievement scores as well as enhance learning and learning retention. This is true even at the elementary school level and includes science as well as reading and mathematics.
A necessity in this differentiation of instruction is the recognition and acceptance of the diversity of students and teachers. These groups include different learning styles and a range of different teaching styles. Effective education needs for teachers to understand the various differing learning styles among students. Using teaching methods that target specific learning styles is a recognized "best practice" (proven) that receives positive results in learning, which manifest on standardized testing as higher scores.
Applying a range of productive learning-style related instructional methods allows teachers to change learning from the traditional teacher-centered (lecture) to student-centered (inquiry and project-based in which the student "goes after" the information) instruction like that of inquiry-based science instruction encouraged by America's National Science Education Standards.
Student-centered inquiry-based education also offers inclusion for a wide range of students with special needs, so it can reach more students than the traditional lecture. It can reach more at-risk youth successfully that have previously developed lowered reading and math skills. This type of instructional targeting will produce active learning, learning retention, and higher test scores for NCLB (No Child Left Behind).
What Are Learning Styles?
Tthree well-known learning styles exist, defined by Williamson and Watson in 2006. These are auditory, visual, and tactile (hands-on or "doing").
Associated learning enhancement categories were determined as well: strongly, moderate, and extremely analytical; and global learning; all these being tendencies in different groups of learners.
Instruction must meet the needs of diverse students. To this end, there are a growing number of tests that can be used to assess learning styles and a single student may have more than one style.These students can learn and be taught in more than one way.
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Children Left Behind
Ongoing Teacher Education and Resources
A use of more of the available teaching methods permits teachers to achieve academic improvement while enhancing elementary level science curricula in order to help students ready themselves to compete in a global economy. High test scores do not indicate educational success (learning and retention), but they can indicate successful memorization of information. Differentiated teaching can raise the level of active learning itself.
Effective ongoing professional development classes and continuing education aids teachers in understanding and developing concepts of inquiry-based instruction. Academic supervisors benefit from implementing interactive meetings that support inquiry-based instruction
to increase school achievement and the quality of working relationships between and among teachers and the school administration.
Understanding various students' learning styles provides a way to determine individual student needs that benefits teachers. Using this understanding and inquiry-based differentiated instruction, teachers more readily identify strengths and weaknesses and modify curricula to meet these needs.
Administrators and Supervisors Can Help
Administrators can raise individual school report-card improvement by proactively supporting the use of different teaching styles. They can do this by supplying resources that promote and maintain upward development in the classroom. Additional funds possible through future NCLB legislation can benefit students by increasing needed resources at the classroom level and reduce the out-of-pocket expenses of the classroom teacher.
Supervisors and administrators would most benefit form supporting effective teaching styles, project-based and inquiry-based instruction, integrated instruction (e.g., teaching math, science and English together in a project) ongoing professional development, and the adequate provision of resources to teachers and students