“If you’re an education entrepreneur who is looking to break into education, here’s a tip: technology is not the only area where teachers need assistance,” says Robyn D. Shulman in an article in Forbes in August 2019. (1)
Learning outcomes will always matter above everything else—not the amount of money startups can make or the number of apps or subscriptions one sells.
Effective education is built on personal relationships teachers form with their students, positive social and emotional development, and learning outcomes that apply to the real world.
Learning how to interact with peers, make solid friendships, create projects, solve problems, use creativity, apply critical thinking, and master the art of communication are essential pillars of an effective and productive classroom.
Students come from various situations and backgrounds regarding learning and need different resources and educators to address how and what they learn, Robyn D. Shulman says. She has listed up a few of these different learning needs that may affect the learning outcome:
- How students learn best
- Multiple intelligences
- Learning levels
- Background knowledge
- Culture differences
- Language ability (English as a Second Language or Bilingual)
- Socioeconomic status
- Personality traits (introvert or extrovert)
- Family issues
- Mental health concerns
- Varying experiences before they come to school
How students learn best
When we dig into the different learning needs we will find a great number of ideas and suggestions. Maybe each person has his own answer and believes his way is the best. An approach can be to ask the students what they need in order to learn better. In an article from 2016, we found a list of 50 answers (2). All the answers are about the relation between the teacher and the student. Not many answers include technology. You go through the list and find your opinion about how the student learns best:
- The students tell that they learn best when the teacher –
- Has us do work hands-on and with more discussion. It just seems like more fun.
- Is hands-on and doesn’t just talk at me. They need to be interested in what they’re teaching and encourage class discussions. Not only does this encourage us to use what we learned, but it also helps us see the information in a different way.
- I learn best when the class is interactive and the teacher makes it fun and meaningful for my life
- I learn best in class when the teacher teaches one-on-one
- Explains it, then shows it, then asks us to demonstrate to make sure we know how to do it and if we don’t then further explains
- Assigns groups.
- Is engaging and attempts to relate to the students, not talk down at them
- gets the class involved and has hands-on activities.
- I’m a hands-on learner
- Allows us to ask questions and goes into detail.
- Teaches me in a hands-on way, in other words, I need to do an activity in order to learn it
- Shows a personality. Like when a teacher is humorous or shares personal experiences. When a teacher shows they are human and don’t just do robotic teaching.
- Is showing me something visually instead of just talking at the students
- Shows the class what to do by demonstration
- Shows me step by step on how to do things and clarify any misunderstanding. Also has fun activities that involve interaction between other students in order to gain new insights. Has having field trips to experience real-life situations.
- Is there to answer questions and gives us a lot of practice that is related to what we are going to be tested on.
- Interacts and gives us hands-on things to do
- Helps me one on one
- Has us do things during class for us to learn
- Is enthusiastic about what we are learning and makes the learning fun and jokes around with us
- Interacts with the class and doesn’t just answer the questions on their own
- Slows down and does hands-on activities
- Hands-on with notes and examples
- Helps us learn by using visuals
- Teaches the class. Not when the students have to teach each other. That was horrible
- Actually wants us to learn about the subject and asks us questions about why we should learn this and gives us activities that tie it to the real world and outside of school hands-on activities like anatomy.
- Has something (activity, homework, etc) that effectively demonstrates the concept
- Gives us debate or something to discuss with each other
- Make learning active and fun
- I learn best when the teacher stands up in class teaches the lesson and then gives hand-on activities instead of busywork. It also helps when if you don’t understand something the teacher is willing to help instead of just saying they can’t help us.
- Involves the whole class and we have in class discussions and everything is really hands-on.
- Is hands-on, gives us group activities and we share ideas.
- Hands-on activities and expressing my ideas with others
- Is excited about what they are teaching and has many class discussions
- Anything that’s visual like when a problem is written out or when I have one on one with the teacher
- Engages students and makes the content interesting.
- Is fun and makes me engaged
- Is fun and knows how to work well with the class
- Goes slow and spends many days going over what we are learning
- Gives examples & actually shows you what to do
- does more hands-on things
- Talking in an exciting voice acts like they want to be there, and help
- Doesn’t lecture the whole class and gives us lots of worksheets
- Actually teaches the class instead of simply sitting in the back of the room and play on his computer. Or when the teacher provides no constructive criticism.
- Has activities for us to do and is more hands-on and actually makes learning fun and want us to come to school, not just another dreadful day waiting for the last bell to ring at 2:45
- Is more hands-on, and cracks a joke here and there to keep my attention. When class is more layer back rather that really strict. Open discussion is a great stress reliever.
- Lectures and then lets students work.
- Is interacting and asking us questions. It keeps me alert and I like getting the answers from fellow students as well as the teacher.
- Makes the material interesting to learn. Sometimes reading out of a book or listening to a lecture isn’t enough – I need to do hands-on activities to see the point of things.
(1) Robyn D. Shulman: Why Education Entrepreneurs Need To Move With Education—Not Disrupt It, Forbes Aug 20, 2019.
(2) Grant Wiggins: Students Learn Best When You Do This, Teach Thought January 11, 2016 (https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/students-learn-best/)
Lucubrate Magazine September 2019
The picture on the top: Adobe Stock