Meeting the Individual Needs of the Adolescent Learner
As a Middle School teacher, I firmly believe that learning can only take place when adolescents grow to trust their teachers and when they understand that their teachers are on their side. Adolescents are in the best learning environment when they realize that their teachers believe in their potential to learn, grow, and meet the challenges given to them in the classroom. Teachers build trust with their adolescent learners whenever they take the time to get to know their students. It is only when a teacher gets to know their students that they can ensure to meet their individual student's needs. Once a teacher is aware of his or her students' needs, differentiated instruction can take place. Differentiated instruction will be playng a huge role in my clasroom. This is because, in my opinion differentiated instruction maximizes each individual learners' potential to learn material, gain enduring knowledge, and succeed in future learning environments.
In order to differentiate instruction, I must know what type of work my student is ready to do. This means that no task should be too easy for the student, but at the same time, no task should scare students into being humiliated. Both of these things distract and take away from valuable learning. Secondly, differentiation implies that myself, as the teacher, knows what each of my students cares about. This requires getting to know who my students really are! Knowledge is only applicable and interesting whenever it makes sense in a student's world. Thirdly, differentiated instruction requires that students have the time needed to learn in a way that facilitates their success. Differentiated instruction will be used in my classroom, ensuring that the individual learning needs will be discovered and met for each of my classroom's adolescent learners.