As mentioned in my previous post after reflecting on students lack of explanation in their written expression and the realisation this may be connected to low- literacy which meant that some students in the class may be struggling to understand the content I had on the level 2 geography site . The majority of this content had been adapted from Year 12 geography text books aimed at students who had reading levels that aligned with the national average- as many of our students at Tamaki College did not read at this level I really needed to adapt the way content was delivered.
We were beginning our Urban Pattern assessment based on Detroit and I decided to adapt my teaching style to suit my students. I did this in a number of ways;
- Although I still wanted to encourage students to read I decided to “chunk” this. I would get students to read sections of text from the website, followed by a class discussion. This worked well as it let students clarify their ideas and it meant students that hadn’t quite understood particular points could get this information elsewhere. Here is some notes from a student led discussion:
- I continued to discuss paragraph structure with a focus on key points to deal with issues around clarity and linking back.
- I provided audio visual alternative to text – as a class we watched a number of documentaries that focused on particular points – once again followed by class discussion
- An added benefit was that as the teacher I could check student understanding through discussion and questioning and clarify points that students didn’t get. This provided more teaching opportunities than simply getting the class to read information in their own time.
Students responded well to these strategies and keenly took part in class discussion and in fact started to ask for this more frequently. I asked the class whether the discussions were helpful and the majority of students felt this was a useful approach.
In conclusion, alternative strategies are necessary for teaching and learning. This provides multiple platforms for students to engage with content and therefore deepen understanding.