I identified two elements in the pre-assessment that I know I need to develop: “knowledge of students’ interest and cultural heritage” and “knowledge of the learning process”. In order to address these I’ve created a plan for learning more information about my students and applying that to classroom instruction.
Developing my knowledge of students’ interests and cultural heritage is a challenge because my community is rapidly growing and many students arrive and leave during the year. It can be difficult to get to know them.
My current understanding of my students mostly comes from information given to me by administrative or guidance staff about each student’s background or their IEPs from the Special Education office. It would be useful to gather information about family connections within the school system and a clear indicator of language proficiency. I can gather this additional information with class activities that encourage students to describe their family and create a family tree to identify connections and heritage.
I can also do quick language proficiency tests to get a quick view of the students’ abilities. This information will guide my classroom practice by helping me differentiate instruction according to their current knowledge levels. I can also present new skills and material in a frame that addresses their cultural heritage to make stronger connections.
Second, I need to develop my “knowledge of the learning process” because I have a variety of students that attend the learning center. I need to expand my knowledge of each student’s learning styles and interests to build better techniques.
I currently adapt instruction with questioning techniques and presenting material as it relates to real-world events. It would be useful to gather more information from my students about how they prefer to learn and practice material so I can make stronger connections to the material.
I can gather this information by presenting my students with different learning styles and ask students to identify examples of each. They can then express to me their preferences. When I’ve taken a better inventory I’ll use the different learning styles and preferences to present and practice material and better engage my students.