| Volume 61 | Number 2
Teaching All Students
EL Study Guide
The October 2003 issue of Educational Leadership on “Teaching All Students” offers opportunities to discuss how to meet the needs of diverse learners in classrooms, schools, and districts.
Fostering Students’ Strengths
Carol Ann Tomlinson (“Deciding to Teach Them All,” p. 6) advocates asking the kinds of questions that can foster equity and excellence for all students: “Not, What labels? but, What interests and needs? Not, What deficits? but, What strengths?” (p. 11). Mel Levine (“Celebrating Diverse Minds,” p. 12) also advocates fostering students’ strengths: “The real challenge for schools rests more with identifying and fortifying individuals’ strengths than with caulking academic crevices” (p. 14). Levine talks about how struggling students often have special skills and talents that go unrecognized in the classroom; conversely, those who thrive in the classroom may not be developing skills that they will need later in life.
Describe a course or skill that you found easy but others found difficult, or a course that you found difficult but others found easy. Analyze how your individual learning style made one course easy and the other difficult. What strategies have you used to help you learn the difficult material?
Read Levine’s profiles of Michael, Becky, and Bruce. Do these portraits remind you of students in your classroom or school? Choose two or three students in your classroom or school who are not doing well on standardized tests and who are particularly frustrating for you to teach. After observing them carefully for several days, write down a list of what you perceive to be their strengths and in what situations you observed them demonstrate these strengths. Imagine how they might use these strengths in a career 20 years from now. Share your observations and analysis in small groups. Share strategies for fostering these strengths and for assessing students’ diverse learning styles. Report back to one another several months later to discuss how your new approaches to teaching these students worked.
Read Elite Ben Yosef’s “Respecting Students’ Cultural Literacies” (p. 80) Discuss the “local literacies” in your classroom, school, and community. Are there some students whose experiences you are unfamiliar with? How can you learn more about their culture and background? Think about how to bring students’ personal histories and experiences into the classroom and school to enrich the curriculum.
In “Tracking: The Good, the Bad, and the Questions” (p. 44), Janet T. Atkins and Judy Ellsesser present extracts from an online discussion of tracking, presenting diverse views of its value in instruction. Using an intranet discussion board or scheduled meeting, share your own experiences with grouping students and your view of the potential value and harm of tracking. Does tracking for specific courses make instruction easier? Is tracking fair? Equitable? How can schools or teachers track students and still ensure equity and challenge for all students?
In pairs and small groups, describe some of the benefits and challenges you have experienced as you developed different kinds of groups. Did individual students thrive or suffer in certain kinds of groups? How did you facilitate these groups? How can you arrange your lesson plans and schedule to guarantee flexible grouping of students?
Discuss Tomlinson’s statement: “Differentiation can reinforce status, or differentiation can liberate students from stereotypical expectations” (p. 11). Discuss strategies for ensuring that differentiation provides challenges for all students.
Role of Paraprofessionals
Richard A. Villa and Jacqueline S. Thousand (“Making Inclusive Education Work,” p. 19) discuss the importance of making inclusion the job responsibility of all educators.
Thus, when paraprofessionals are assigned to classrooms, they should be presented to students as members of a teaching team rather than as people ‘velcroed’ to individual students. (p. 22)
How does your school and classroom integrate the work of paraprofessionals in the classroom? Read Michael F. Giangreco’s “Working with Paraprofessionals” (p. 50). Discuss the questions in the sidebar (p. 53) that ask, “Would this situation be acceptable if the student didn’t have a disability?” In pairs or small groups, share strategies for integrating the work of paraprofessionals in the classroom; then report to the larger group.
Click on keywords to see similar products:
Copyright © 2003 by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development