Reduce the Number of Students a Teacher Sees
The first step in this process is for administrators to work on reducing the number of students a teacher gets to see in any given week. If a teacher sees 240 plus students a week, I’m not sure if she or he can possibly know their kids. What’s the perfect number? I don’t know. I guess 1-1 teacher student ratio isn’t achievable or desirable within a school system, but anything over 80, I would say is too much.
Metacognition as an Essential part of the Curriculum
Once over this hurdle then we need to identify what kind of learners our students are. The student needs to be able to look at her or his own learning style and work out how they work best in a given circumstance. We can support this process by making room for metacognition in our curriculum. Not just make room, in my opinion, but make metacognition an integral part of the curriculum. Knowing about knowing. Teachers can use many tools and activities for helping students identify their learning style. The teachers and students can then work out when and how they use particular strategies for learning.
Getting to know the Student’s Individual Interests
As well as having a good idea of each of their students’ learning needs, the teacher also needs to get to know their students. What are their interests outside school, how many siblings do they have, what makes them happy, what makes them frustrated etc. Once this is known we can as educators, connect to those interests and use real life examples and experiences in their learning. Not just real world in terms of relating to the world around them, but real world in the way the learning connects with what the student finds interesting.
Each child is different. Each will have their own learning styles and interests. This makes designing learning experiences very difficult for a teacher. Of course, in a class of 25 students or more, a teacher will need to generalize. She or he cannot possibly plan their classes around each individual student in a situation like that. But what the teacher can do is help the student to learn about themselves and to take control and responsibility for some of their own learning. This is after all our goal. To help students become independent learners for the rest of their lives.