(S)ome people take a primarily linguistic approach to learning, while others favor a spatial or a quantitative tack. (S)ome students perform best when asked to manipulate symbols of various sorts, while others are better able to display their understanding through a hands-on demonstration or through interactions with other individuals. – Howard Gardner
Students have multiple intelligences and learn best in different ways, so I utilize various modalities of learning during the course. These learning modalities include kinetic, visual, verbal, interactive, cooperative, experiential, and immersive. This dynamic range of learning strategies connects the student with knowledge in the modalities that augment their learning strengths, while approaching learning weaknesses most effectively. I also believe it is crucial to set clear objectives, provide frequent and fair feedback, and refer back to the text to establish these connections. During classroom discussion, I address the purposes of using specific texts so students can make links across multiple sources.
I maximize the amount of time for in-class participation, collaboration and engagement by offering large portions of my lectures as homework downloads. I use a guided mixture of whole class teaching as well as small group collaborative work, enhanced with occasional individual teaching. I incorporate methodologies and techniques into the classroom a variety of ways, including hands-on demonstrations. I accompany these demonstrations with explicit explanations of why we are doing them.
Adhering to clear time frames helps to keep students on task, and allows the proper space to conclude assignments with a review process. Students benefit from the peer review because when reviewing, they develop critical reading and writing skills, and when presenting, they learn to absorb feedback, listen critically, respond, reflect and revise.
When each new semester begins, I establish learning goals, review how we will track progress, and discuss how activities and assignments are connected to the learning objectives. I teach concepts in ways that show the application to the real wold and challenge students’ intuitive understandings of the world by suggesting where they are deficient.
When the semester concludes, the grade each student earns is a closely match to the feedback the students received. The final grades also accounts for how well the students performed overall by demonstrating command of the knowledge, but also how well they improved and adapted to the material throughout the semester.