Meeting Student Needs in the Classroom

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  • 0:03 Designing Learning Programs
  • 1:10 Creating Learning For All
  • 2:06 Responding to Needs…
  • 3:13 Using Learner Profiles
  • 4:34 Building on Background…
  • 5:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Effective teachers design curriculum and learning activities with individual student needs in mind. This lesson details how students' needs, backgrounds, perspectives, and interests can be reflected in a learning program.

Designing Learning Programs

Educators know that all students in their classrooms are unique. Each brings experiences to the learning environment that impact who they are as learners. This means teachers need a wide range of methods to reach all students. They need to plan, monitor, and respond to each student in order to promote academic growth.

In other words, when designing learning programs, or lessons and activities in the classroom, they need to make sure they consider several aspects about students, including:

  • Student needs
  • Student backgrounds
  • Student perspectives
  • Student interests

Educators need to develop a wide variety of strategies to respond to student needs - both socially and culturally. They need to consider the lives students lead outside of school and learn their unique perspectives. Finally, they need to get to know students and consider their interests. By providing a range of approaches to educate students, they create confident learners. How can they do this? Let's take a peek.

Creating Learning for All

Sue is a teacher committed to making sure she considers all aspects of her students. Over the years, she's learned that it takes more than asking her students questions about their personal lives at the beginning of the year and throwing parties to reinforce learning. In fact, Sue knows that in order to create an environment that supports learning for all of her students, she needs to pay special attention to three important points:

  1. First, curriculum and instruction is determined in response to students' needs and perspectives
  2. Second, instruction is based on student learner profiles
  3. Finally, lessons are designed to build on background knowledge

By designing curriculum and instruction based on students' needs - not on what worked in previous years - she allows for individual growth. Sue also designs learning based on student profiles and builds experiences using background knowledge. How does this look in a classroom?

Responding to Student Needs and Perspectives

In Sue's classroom, she makes sure she prepares lessons and learning activities, events students participate in that support learning, considering her students' unique needs and perspectives. How does she do this? As we discussed, students come to school with diverse academic and personal dispositions. For example, her students last year were a mature group; she was able to differentiate her lessons, or change up content, the process of teaching, and how material was assessed, to challenge them. This year, students are a bit more emotionally needy and require more support with things like classwork and homework.

When Sue sits down to plan lessons, she looks at the learning objectives, topics her students are expected to master, and considers how she can help her students meet these goals. She adds elements to bring in valuable personal feedback and perspectives students can offer. For example, when teaching about the Revolutionary War, she initiates a conversation asking students their personal opinions about freedom, and asks them to consider what it would be like for them to experience life during that time frame.

Using Learner Profiles

Students' cultures, genders, learning styles, and other aspects all go into making them who they are and contribute to what is called a learner profile. Sue considers this when planning lessons and learning activities. Recognizing that each student has a unique approach to learning and different strengths and struggles, means Sue needs to differentiate to make sure all students can succeed. Sue accomplishes this in several ways:

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