Start With a Good Curriculum
One of the most important ways to enhance student learning is to be sure that the curriculum is flexible enough to suit students’ needs. A course that’s too rigid could cause a loss of interest. This means that your students can lose interest in a course that they are assigned to, or one that they aren’t particularly interested in, and their learning could suffer as a result.
It’s also a good idea to be open-minded when it comes to modifying curriculum. This way, you can have some flexibility in your students’ schedules, which can improve the effectiveness of your curriculum. You can work with them in helping them to understand that their schedules may change and that you’re always available to help them accommodate changes in their schedule to the best of your ability.
But even with a flexible curriculum, students are not always satisfied with it.
They may also find themselves having to sacrifice time with friends or family, or meeting personal goals. And this is where your curriculum is being sabotaged.
For instance, it’s possible that some students who are in special needs may have other learning needs. They may need more specialized instruction, or they may need more time to master a skill or take a course. So if your curriculum isn’t flexible enough to accommodate these needs, you could be doing more harm than good.
However, there are some students who are extremely motivated and enjoy being given the opportunity to learn at their own pace. It’s possible that they’ll work through an entire semester of work, even if it takes a full day or two. Their personal learning goals can be met if you provide them with the support that they need.
There are other areas of student learning that may be severely hindered by rigid curriculums. It’s not only students who are experiencing difficulties with a rigid curriculum. Even teachers and other professionals may feel the pinch of a rigid curriculum. These people may not have the ability to adjust the course as needed.
But the best way to meet the needs of all your students, and even your own learning styles, are to provide flexibility in your teaching. Make the course more fun and exciting, and have students look forward to the class. Don’t just assume that they’ll do the work, but encourage them to try.
“Will you please try to hold out on me?” is not the best encouragement to get, but it’s also not the worst thing you could say. Most students love challenges, so encourage them to use the skill they’re studying for, regardless of whether or not they can hold out.
Another possible method is to be a good teacher. So don’t just teach the basics, or how to use a technology, or some aspect of the curriculum. Teach them how to think about and explore their own ideas, and encourage them to contribute their ideas to the class.
Students don’t always learn the best way when they’re just memorizing information. They might find themselves struggling in class because they don’t know how to learn. Don’t be afraid to give them opportunities to learn how to learn better, and encourage them to come up with their own learning strategies to use.
Even if you don’t agree with their ideas, you can build on their understanding with a classroom model of student involvement. Teaching through participation is a great way to enhance student learning. Encourage students to participate in class discussions, and they’ll respond by participating in research projects, small group activities, and other ways that they can show their participation.
You want to provide flexibility in your student learning. Even when you agree with the direction the class is going, don’t shy away from the students who seem to be struggling. Give them the same support you would give any other student, and you’ll see them succeed and enjoy learning.