<strong>“ Education is not about learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” Albert Einstein.</strong>
Differentiated learning simply means providing different ways of learning to different students to help them understand a concept. Students vary in terms of socio economic backgrounds, cultures, languages, their ability to understand, their inclinations, their temperaments. Today most schools believe in this school of thought. Along with differentiated learning is the concept of inclusive learning. Hence despite all the differences and variations these students have to be accepted as one in a classroom and they have to be taught in a way that they all learn, understand the process, ideas and concepts thoroughly.
The curriculum should be so designed that it caters to the above needs. Along with students varying in aspects of socio economic backgrounds, cultures, language they also are different learners, while some are auditory learners, some are visual learners and some kinaesthetic learners. While some understand a topic when taught once, the others need a lot of practice and reiteration. Along with the curriculum a lot depends upon how the teacher tackles differentiated learning. Every curriculum advices continuous assessments to access the level of understanding in the students. This is a sure way of letting the teacher know if the topic introduced was well understood. In case it was not, the teacher can reintroduce the topic in a different way.
To illustrate the above point with an example, if in one of the assessments it was observed by the teacher that the students haven’t understood the chapter ‘Soil’ in Geography there could be various reasons for it.
<li>The teacher may have taught the lesson by way of auditory teaching, which will only benefit the auditory learners. Auditory learning is a learning style in which a student learns through listening.</li>
<li>Hence students who are visual and kinesthetic learners find it difficult to understand.</li>
<li>Also auditory teaching can get monotonous and hence students lose focus and could get distracted.</li>
<li>If the concept is not understood the student has no interest in learning it and will lag further in his studies.</li>
<li>If a class has distracted learners the class turns unmanageable which is again not conducive to learning.</li>
Visual and Kinaesthetic Learners
A visual learner will say” show me and I will learn.” A Kinesthetic Learner will say “Let me feel and experience it and only then will I learn it.” Hence a topic on ‘Soil’ has to be taught with audio visual aids along with field visits and application based learning. For instance different types of soils have to be shown to them, crops that grow in different soils can also be shown etc. Demonstrations, real life examples, application based learning will enhance learning. It is very important to understand the various different learners.
During my soft skills sessions I love playing a game of ‘Follow The Leader’ and invariably people make a mistake when I say <strong>touch your chin while I am touching the cheek</strong>. They follow my action rather than my words and this happens in adults. I do this above exercise so my audience who are teachers, parents, working professionals, realise that children are different learners just like them. My exercise is a fun game and everyone has a good laugh and at the same time understands the intensity of my message, but when students do not understand a certain concept because of their different learning styles they are looked down upon and sometimes even reprimanded. This can have an adverse effect on their confidence level.
This point is very well brought forward in the movie ‘Tare Zameen Par’ where the child is dyslexic. Off course dyslexia is a very vast topic in itself, but what I am trying to put forth is every child is special in his own way, while some are logical, some have a flare for languages, etc. Unless and until a Math class is not made interesting enough with visual aids, practical or application based learning, not all students will grasp the concept. This is especially true for younger classes where the base of learning has to be made strong.
To illustrate my view point further my older son is logical strong and hence teaching him math was a breeze but my younger one has a flare for languages and hence I had to find new techniques while teaching math. I used a kit which had blocks of units, tens, hundreds in it while teaching him decimals, the concept of carry forward etc. I also used real objects while teaching different Math operations. This was the only way he understood and it also kept our temperaments cool.
<strong>Asst. Prof. Trupti Jadhav</strong>