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Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners - Research Paper Example

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Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners: Developing a Thematic Unit Introduction Over the years, educators and experts have recognized that diversity should be a rule, rather than an exception, in the classroom. Consequently, pedagogy had to adjust bearing this knowledge in mind…
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Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners

Download file to see previous pages... Throughout the discussion, I will integrate conceptual frameworks and relevant research to justify the strategies I have chosen. Thematic Unit: Ecosystem The thematic unit is designed to involve multiple subject areas and engage a number of teachers in instruction. Taking the form of an interdisciplinary project, the task is accommodates for different types of learning styles. This approach takes off from the tradition of “multiple intelligences” introduced by Howard Gardner. For every student to succeed, the teacher must provide different window of opportunity acknowledging the fact that different students learn in different ways (Conklin, 2006). The main objective of the unit is to create a model ecosystem which uses different principles in the physical sciences and mathematics. Different subject areas have their own respective objectives and this can be reflected in the activities that I will outline below. Day 1 – Planning. On the first day of the project, the students are divided into different groups, and asked to plan on different dimensions of creating an ecosystem. At the beginning, the class discuss their vision of the ecosystem, and then identify the different groups needed to achieve the vision. Then, they break down into groups based on their interests. They are informed that groupings may change throughout the whole term for them to experience different roles. Groups may include purchasing, “Flexible grouping is an important strategy for meeting diversity and for developing talent, particularly in elementary schools” (Arrends, 2004, p. 62). This stage also serves as a pre-assessment to identify the intelligences of particular students and the ones that need more support. Days 2-3 – Background Knowledge. On the second day, the teachers take turns in discussing the concepts behind an ecosystem. Students are given different materials including literature and videos to understand the concept behind an ecosystem and its importance. The last day highlights the threats that ecosystems globally are faced with. During the discussion, students are invited to share the conditions in their respective communities. “The heart of working with cultural diversity is the teacher’s ability to connect the world his or her students and their cultures to the world of the school and the classroom” (Arrends, 2004, p. 71, emphasis on original). One of the major activities in these two days is for students to debate on an issue: “Can man create ecosystems or do ecosystems create men? For each stand, what are the implications of diminishing ecosystems?” On day 2, the students are given the half of the day to do research in the library or online to prepare for the debate on the following day. These two days involve teachers in Science, Math, English, Literature and Social Studies. A combination of cooperative learning, individual study and differentiated instructions are given. Rutherford (2010) reiterates the utility of these tools to facilitate scaffolding. Days 3-4 – Project Making. Throughout the week, the students have been involved in both knowledge and practical skills. They have participated in planning and gathering the necessary materials and knowledge to create the project that is expected of them. Teachers have been continuously intervening and drawing on the students’ competencies. At these final stages, it is important that all students gain a sense of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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