In January 2013, the MET project released its third and final set of findings, which sought to answer three questions from practitioners and policy-makers: Can measures of effective teaching identify teachers who better help students learn?; How much weight should be placed on each measure of effective teaching when combining classroom observations, student surveys, and student achievement gains?; And how can teachers be assured trustworthy results from classroom observations?
Episode Five is all about Learning Styles. Phil Keegan, Will Corner, Oliver Hipkins and Marta Dzido Barreto chew the fat in the studio while Marjorie Rosenberg is on the line with insights and expert opinion.
Differentiated instruction is not a single strategy or formula. It is a way of thinking about the diversity of learners in our classrooms and acting on this knowledge throughout the process of planning, implementing, and evaluating so that we can promote the deepest possible understanding for all students.
Disconnects between policy mandates/supports and desired practice were found in most of the schools and all of the systems in our sample. For example, teachers were often being asked to innovate while being incented and judged solely by measures of the facts that students had acquired through traditional means, or given ICT to use without related curricular materials and models for ways to use it powerfully and effectively in subject matter learning. It was rare that teachers experienced standards, curriculum, professional development, assessments, and incentives that all aligned to support the development of students’ 21st century skills.
Just as blocks have no inherent curricular power other than experience in making big things by stacking smaller things in the right order, the ability of computer-controlled pixels to convey important knowledge depends entirely on what (and how) they are used. That’s where teachers come in…and why some are beginning to use an inexpensive online game to teach everything from philosophy to biology: Minecraft.
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