Obtaining a quality education is essential in our society. Someone without an education can survive in the world, but they may struggle when it comes to competing with someone who has an education. Education is good for society as a whole as it can promote friendship, understanding, and tolerance of different views, ideas, and cultures. Indeed education affects every part of our lives. With education being such a necessity, it seems all students regardless of diversities would be receiving the best education possible.
Unfortunately, students with diverse learning styles may not grasp what their teachers are teaching. Some children suffer from reaching their full potential because they may not understand the teacher’s instructional strategies. These students should not be chastised if they do not learn as quickly as others. Instead, teachers should attempt every avenue until they find what works for that student. With constructivist learning strategies and an integrated curriculum as my preferred instructional strategies for diverse learners, I will make sure my students succeed.
The constructivist theory has many definitions and characteristics in educational literature, but at the heart of the constructivist approach to education is the understanding that students are in control of their own learning (Milbrandt, Felts, Richards & Abghari, 2004). The constructivist learning theory is the work of Dewey, Montessori, Piaget, Bruner, Vygotsky and other researchers and theorist. Through constructivism students must shape their own perception of the world. Hence, learning is the process of changing minds to accommodate new experiences.
In Piaget’s view, we engage in assimilation when we employ previously used actions to explore new information, whereas accommodation is used when we adjust to the new information. (Atherton, 2011) In a traditional classroom where direct instruction is used as the teaching strategy, teachers distribute knowledge to the students and the students are expected to acquire knowledge passively. This has become a major problem in our classrooms because all students do not learn the same.
Using the constructivist learning theory as an instructional strategy for diverse learners, the student will be able to construct their own knowledge of the information presented to them. In the classroom, I will focus on interactive learning building on what the student already knows. Lessons will be presented as a dialogue where the students can interact by asking questions to construct their own knowledge. Students will work in groups so that they can gain knowledge from one another. I will try my best to provide differentiated activities to interest the students.
Activities will include pre-teaching new concepts, providing practice, and multiple means of learning the same material such as visual, auditory, and tactile. I will also allow students to set personal goals so that they can monitor their own progress. Until recently, I did not know what an integrated curriculum entailed. After doing some research on the subject I must admit that I find it quite interesting. Along with constructivist learning strategies I think curriculum integration would also be a great instructional strategy for diverse learners.
Curriculum Integration is a teaching approach that enables students and teachers to identify and research problems and issues without regard for subject-area boundaries (Beane, 1997). Diverse students benefit from curriculum integration because it allows them to learn in a way that is more natural. An integrated curriculum provides adequate coverage of curriculum, use of natural learning, building on children’s interests, teaching skills in meaningful contexts, more flexibility, and an organized planning device (Krogh, 1990).
Along with the different strategies in integrated curriculum, I would add teaching lessons by themes. When teaching themes students will recognize that subjects are interrelated. Every day experiences are not broken up into subjects so it makes sense for things to be taught the same way in class. For instance, choosing the ocean as our theme; in social studies we may discuss Columbus discovering America; in Science we can explore animals in the ocean.
Continuing the theme in reading and language arts the class will read about the sea and write on related topics. Other activities could be used on the same topic in other subjects. I believe combining two successful learning strategies such as an integrated curriculum and the constructivist learning theory will benefit diverse learners because they are not completely different from one another. The two strategies will help diverse learners so that they are able to construct their own knowledge and participate actively in instruction.
Students are encouraged to work in groups in both strategies and the teacher act as a mediator in delivering instruction. Diverse learners are able to ask questions, allowed more time to complete assignments, and are able to interact with each other which may promote friendship, understanding, and tolerance of different views, ideas, and cultures. I believe when combining both strategies student and teachers are able to learn collectively allowing both parties to reach new success. References •Milbrandt, M. K. , Felts, J. Richards, B. , & Abghari, N. (2004). Teaching-to-learn: A constructivist approach to shared responsibility. Art Education, 57(5), 19-19-24, 33. •Atherton, J. S (2011) Learning and Teaching; Constructivism in learning [On-line: UK] retrieved 27 August 2011 from http://www. learningandteaching. info/learning/constructivism. htm •Beane, J. A. (1997). Curriculum integration: Designing the core of democratic education. New York: Teachers College Press. •Krogh, S. (1990). The Integrated Early Childhood Curriculum. New York: McGraw-Hill.