|Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.10||October 2008|
Cover Story by Eric P. Jensen|
A Fresh Look at
More than 20 years since it was first suggested that there could be connections between brain function and educational practice, and in the face of all the evidence that has now accumulated to support this notion, BBE guru Eric Jensen urges educators to take full advantage of the relevant knowledge from a variety of scientific disciplines.
|Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching|
|Boaz City Schools:|
Professional Learning Teams
|»||Change Isn’t Just for PoliticsCheryl Sigmon|
|»||Are you an Informal Teacher-Leader?Hal Portner|
|»||Strategies to Meet Standards, Promote Reading and Boost SkillsSue Gruber|
|»||Helping Children Cope with LossLeah Davies|
|»||The Future Votes NowTodd R. Nelson|
|»||The Brain and SleepMarvin Marshall|
|»||The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac|
|»||Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman|
|»||My Supervisor Hates Me! & Are These Kids Just Crazy?Kioni Carter|
|»||Spam! Spam! and More Spam!|
|»||FHA-Hero Program Creates Leaders|
|»||October 2008 Writing Prompts|
|»||A “Disruptive Behavior” Plan|
|»||More Than A Desk - Changing the Learning Environment|
|»||A Teaching Guide for Night Journey to Vicksburg|
|»||Computers in the Classroom|
|»||Cyberbullying Tips for Educators|
|»||The T-Netters Who Saved My Life|
|»||Teacher Starts Rock Band to Help Students Learn|
|»||Printable Worksheets & Teaching Aids|
|»||School Photographs for October 2008|
|»||Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: October 2008|
|»||Video Bytes: Brain Based Education, Monday Morning, Rockin' the Standards and More|
|»||Today Is... Daily Commemoration for October 2008|
|»||Live on Teachers.Net: October 2008|
|»||The Lighter Side of Teaching|
|»||Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers|
|»||Alternatives to Halloween Party and Costumes|
|»||Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers|
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More Than A Desk - Changing the Learning Environment
With help, the quiet, marginal student who falls invisibly between the cracks can love learning. Here's how to recognize and light a spark for those who have ability, but lack interest.
|by Mamie L. Pack
New contributor to the Gazette
October 1, 2008
She sits there. Eyes vacant. Face blank. She doesn’t even bother to be rebellious or disruptive. Like some of the others off task—she just doesn’t seem to care. How often have we met this student in our classrooms? Never a discipline problem, this is the student who is falling invisibly through the cracks. She is the one in whom we see droplets of interest here and there before the waves of standardization and legalisms of teaching washes them out. She is the one who doesn’t lack ability, but rather lacks interest. One point from being considered a success, one point that classifies her as below the mark. She is the one, that marginal student, and our classrooms are filled with students just like her.
In this article I'll share practical ideas for educators that will help with identifying the marginal student, assisting these students develop their love and interest for learning; and simples changes that can be added to the classroom to become a more positive, safe, inviting learning environment.
So how do we identify students like her amidst all the paperwork, meetings, and lesson plans in a way that is not time consuming? To be honest, you cannot. Identifying marginal students takes investing our time to do the research necessary in the beginning to be able to make a lasting impact in the long run. Here are some tips to help you identify marginal students:
Tip #1: Use what you have
Tip #2: Start Somewhere
Tip #3: Use parents and students
Assisting students in developing their interest or love for learning does not have to be an arduous task for the educator or student. There are three basic tips educators may use to foster a student’s acquiring of academic abilities while appealing to their interest.
Tip #1: Use profile sheets
Tip #2: Know the style
Tip #3: Provide options
Environment makes an impact on everyone. There are numerous research reports that expound on the connection between the brain, colors, and smells. We have all felt the ambiance of a room or home when we entered it. There were times the environment seemed warm and inviting whereas others are cold and lack personality. Our classrooms are no different. We have the ability to create a positive, safe, inviting learning environment in practical ways.
Tip #1: Be you
Tip #2: Use stations
Tip #3: Use of music, lighting, and seating
Based on information gained from the learning style inventory, you may discover some students learn better in bright light whereas some will work better in dim light. If possible, change the lighting for different assignments. Have one side of the classroom in bright lighting and the other in dimmer lighting. Be cautious when doing this because dim light may cause some students to become sleepy.
If you are able, include various places to sit within your class by using bean bags, stools, rugs, rocking chairs, benches, and even sofas. Marginal students will often work better in nontraditional seating because it makes the learning and environment less threatening. Be sure that you are able to see all the students in the nontraditional seats to ensure they are on task.
Educators play a vital role in increasing the achievement of marginal students. By making small changes to instruction and the environment, these students are more likely to be engaged in their learning. Since many marginal students are sometimes threatened by the information they are required to learn, changing the environment can help to remove the scary factor of learning and create a zeal for learning in its place.
Dunn, R., & Dunn, K. (1992). Teaching secondary students through their individual learning styles: Practical approaches for grades 7-12. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Gardner, H. (1993b). Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. New York: Basic Books.
Some valuable resources are:
Student Profiles & Other Forms for Educators (purchase through mail only)
The Plan Book with Pizazz manufactured by Frank Schaffer