EDU629: Module 8 Blog Post
I really resonated with the listing of learning styles that Tomlinson outlined. Two models which are environmental which I can remember dealing with as a student were cooler vs. warmer rooms and working at one time of the day vs. another. I have not really thought of these as negotiable ways of differentiation for my classes and student as I cannot control these variables. My courses do not cycle like I experienced growing up. Also, my math teacher who swore we did better in a cooler classroom in the winter was able to control the temperature in his room, and I am not in my highly regulated woodshops. However, in reflecting on the last two years at my school I can see times where lighting, variance in task complexity, and the inclusion of predictable routines were beneficial and in alignment with student learning styles. Within my shops I see many students whose intelligences are visual-spatial or bodily-kinesthetic. I find that many of my inclusion students flourish when the latter is addressed, and while the former allows student to excel I must leave accommodations for those who don’t are more analytical or practical than creative. As a teacher who relies heavily on material goods I find that a culture shift from personal property to sharing is difficult to create. I have found that by having students help me process stock wood for a project as well as having them help me do initial organization for electronic components helps create a respect for shared resources that otherwise doesn’t exist. It’s something that I want to continue to work towards as students slowly understand that the tools and materials we have must be cared for and are for all. Within my freshman courses I find it harder to mix genders due to the imbalance of girls vs. boys in my courses and their greatly varied maturity levels. I do agree with the coded ability of each gender to an extent, but because I have dealt with students aged 13-24 I see most of these preference conditions related to puberty and age rather than gender(Tomlinson 58).
I do feel that adapting to learning styles can sometimes feel “is about everything and nothing” sometimes. I am intrigued that the book addresses that students are dynamic and therefore defining their learning style is not ideal. Labeling students as concrete vs. abstract learners as they gain mastery makes sense in my project and skill based domain(Tomlinson, 160). Also, by uncovering that no learning style has a clear advantage in activating the brain over another(Tomlinson,161) it’s ideal to continue to cycle through a multimodal approach as best as possible.
I really enjoyed the overview of Project Based Learning as outlined by Hansen. What I have found a struggle at my current school is to create a public product(Hansen 103) in the sense my students should be presenting it to outsiders. At my previous school in Philadelphia it was much easier as the school fully backed PBL and was quite open to the public. For now I have found that my students can benefit from public product through posting their work on public websites, or making their project documentation to web communities who share work similar to theirs. Going forward I hope to better implement physical presentations to outsiders via digital tooling or better planning on my part to bring in expert guests.
Hansen, C. B. (2019). The Heart and Science of Teaching: Transformative Applications That Integrate Academic and Social–Emotional Learning. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780807777497/ Tomlinson, D.A.S.C. A. (2018). Differentiation and the Brain. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781945349539/