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Monday, November 23, 2015

PLC Focus: Teaching Variability and Value

If a teacher only teaches in one way, that teacher will only notice the talents and traits of the students who respond to that one-way path of teaching and learning.

When teachers teach in a large variety of ways, they will notice the varied talents, skills, and abilities of their students. This brings value to the teaching/learning community and to each student.

When we think of the variety of learning/teaching modalities, what do we include?

It would be a great PLC session to focus on creating a list of multiple modalities for teaching and learning. At the PLC teachers could share their preferred modalities as a way to better understand each others teaching and learning profile. As teachers share, the modalities could be listed. Then, once all have shared, the PLC members could review the list and then add other modalities that students enjoy or prefer.

Once a list is completed, teachers could return to their classrooms and share the list with students as one more way to elicit ideas for the list. At the next PLC, teachers could share the additions students made. Then they could create a list to hang in each classroom as a resource to use when planning lessons with and for students. When teachers come up with new ideas, they could share those ideas in an ongoing way so that everyone's list continues to grow.

The list could be used during collaborative learning design sessions at PLC. It could become a source of shared conversation and effort with regard to teaching children well.

Too often we get stuck in one modality of teaching and learning. When this happens we leave out those students who don't respond well to that modality. I was reminded of this today when I read the university students' blog posts. Some students who have less to contribute in class shine when it comes to the analysis, writing, and reflection in their blog posts. Hence, we have to think of the whole child as we teach and offer children multiple ways to teach and learn.