Is your teaching approach tailored to the needs of each student?

Sometimes “it is not the program itself that presents a challenge, but something [in the student] that is not up to the educational challenge” (Bailey and Pransky, 2014)

I have spent the last ten years understanding cognitive science to the point where I understand very well how learning happens. However, I now believe that knowledge of working memory is not enough for teachers to be successful.

Teachers need to have a clear vision of the students in front of them and a clear understanding of what they already know, where they need to go, and when and how best to get there.

Having established the above, the ultimate “secret” of every great teacher is knowing which intervention to use for a particular person at a particular time.

Learning is a social process
I have been using memory for 4-5 years in classroom work – fantastic book – again and again; There is lots of additional information and references.

All of our students always create their own schemas from representations of their knowledge, influenced by their culture, inside and outside the classroom. According to Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development, we should never lose sight of the fact that learning is a social process.

This book draws attention to the cultural roots of learning, which means access to “home support” to develop students in literacy skills. Simply immersing yourself in the classroom environment does not necessarily allow students to grow academically.

If teachers taught everyone in their class the same way, we could easily overlook the academic needs of other students, particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and those learning English as an additional language (EAL). This requires teachers to go beyond the curriculum and explicitly teach independent skills, metalinguistic awareness, and problem-solving skills.

How can teachers help students?
In the book, the authors provide seven recommendations for teachers to facilitate learning:

1. When beginning a new subject, take as much time as necessary to ensure that students see the meaning and value of the new learning . Check in regularly to see how students are doing.

2. It is important to help students connect with their past experiences.

3. Start the lesson as motivating, stimulating or exciting as possible.

4.For students with learning difficulties, it is important to set clear goals.

5. It is important to only teach when students are paying attention. I can’t stress this enough!

6.Teachers should provide students with ample opportunities to actively respond to and apply new knowledge.

7. At the end of the course we must give our students time to reflect on the learning process (course and content).

Understanding the cultural roots of learning is important because students come to our schools from diverse communities with different orientations toward literacy and instruction (Bailey and Pransky, 2014).

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