Research-based strategies in inclusive classrooms

Today’s teachers are asked to educate ALL students using research-based strategies in inclusive classrooms. The following review will include three research based instructional strategies and one teaching model all of which are elements that can increase the success of students at risk for learning problems. Instructional strategies explored in this review are class-wide peer tutoring, direct instruction and the behavioral strategy of self-monitoring.
As a teacher, I demonstrated my professional approach to the discipline of History and Humanities by promoting these as a school subject. This helped me, identify with the subject and as a teacher who cares about things historical – the days gone by, how we tell stories, how we preserve those stories and how we learn new versions about past events.
I used the following methods during teaching to make the classes interesting and beneficial:
1. Relate topics (from the past) to current national and international events.
2. Designing activities that promote in students a social conscience.
3. Inviting guest speakers into my classroom to talk on a specific topic.
4. Letting students make a choice of topic – from a list I prepared.
5. As well as work done by the whole class, and small groups, allow individual students to do research on a special topic (of their choice or nominated by you).
6. Going out of the classroom and do on-site maps, photography, local surveys, questionnaires or interviews.
7. Always being on the lookout for useful handouts, printed materials and unusual non-print resources.
8. Design and then paint – as a class activity – an historical mural on the wall of the local store, post office or bus stop (get approval first).
9. Screen feature films, documentaries and slides in the classroom.
10. Planning classroom opportunities so that the students can study a variety of evidence:
a) Photographs of significant events or people
b) Investigate the use and making of artefacts
c) Use old newspaper cuttings to discuss how events unfolded after the event was reported.
d) Interrogate old letters (why were they written, who kept them?)
11. Create a special room or corner to store anything historical.
12. Displaying students work at school, in public places and institutions: this helped
a) Promote appreciation of their own and others efforts
b) Offer an opportunity for peer evaluation
c) Foster critical analysis
d) Stimulate different ways of presenting
13. Arranging a history day for my students involving a
(a) History quiz
(b) Historical drama, concert, poetry, songs
(c) Student panel discussions on current issues
14. Making an annual Field trip to a local historical site, old building or a stone ruin.
15. Presenting small awards (each month) for high achievement or performance in assignments and tests.
16. Regularly evaluatedmy role as a teacher and student progress as learners.
17. Arranged regular “History talks” by students at School Assembly, especially on national or commemorative days.
18. Arranged for the local radio or TV station to schedule regular “History Talks” on local topics
ASSESSMENT :There are three types of Assessment that I use in History classrooms:
1 DIAGNOSTIC assessment: This is an instrument that tests student’s prior knowledge and is used to establish links to the new lesson; Examples:-
1. Brainstorming: Test student’s prior knowledge by asking them to respond to key words, names and dates related to the next topic
2. Brief definitions (oral and written): ask students to define key words and terms
3. Concept Mapping (or listing on board, in books or in groups) so students indicate quickly their ideas about the coming topic
4. Informal Question & Answer session; will provide feedback from students and review their understanding of the topic
2 FORMATIVE assessment: This is an instrument to test whether students achieved the objectives set for the topic (using either verbal or written methods)
VERBAL
1. Oral presentations (individually, just talking out the front)
2. Oral presentations with visual aids (eg. Talking about or to a photograph, diagram, etc)
3. Debate between opposing groups
4. Group discussion (general open discussion by the whole class)
5. Role play – dramatize an event
WRITTEN
1. Paragraph writing
2. Essay writing
3. Short answer test
4. Multiple choice test
5. Yes/No answer test
6. A series of comprehension questions based on reading (often done as Homework)
7. Major Research Projects, Reports and multimedia presentations
8. Assignments: Posters, Timelines, Puzzles and historical crosswords, Star diagrams, photograph, film and documentary interpretation.
3. SUMMATIVE assessment: Summative assessment is used to test whether the students have achieved the objectives of the whole unit or series of topics, or a whole semester, term or years’ work. This sort of assessment tests whether “At the end of the unit students will be able to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills; For example;
• Knowledge of Past events and changes over time
• Knowledge of the cause and impact of events
• Understanding comparisons and contrasts between historical events
• Understanding the role of the Historian
• The skill of formulating hypothesis and drawing conclusions
• The skill of analysing and critically evaluating evidence (text, photographs and documents)
• The skill of evaluating historical opinions and interpretations.
Teaching about the Viking age,is undoubtedly a complicated matter; there is no indication of one ‘best way,’ but my understanding of its essential nature is both broad and deep. The Viking age has long been associated with unbridled piracy, when freebooters swarmed out of the northlands in theirlongships to burn and pillage their way across civilized Europe. Modern scholarship provides evidence this is a gross simplification, and that during this period much progress was achieved in terms ofScandinavian art and craftsmanship, marine technology, exploration, and the development of commerce. It seems the Vikings did as much trading as they did raiding.
I organize this essential knowledge into these six principles, unique for the way that I relate them to students’ experiences.
1: Interest and explanation – “When our interest is aroused in something, whether it is an academic subject or a hobby, we enjoy working hard at it. We come to feel that we can in some way own it and use it to make sense of the world around us.” Coupled with the need to establish the relevance of content, instructors need to craft explanations that enable students to understand the material. This involves knowing what students understand and then forging connections between what is known and what is new.
2: Concern and respect for students and student learning – Truly awful teaching in higher education is most often revealed by a sheer lack of interest in and compassion for students and student learning. It repeatedly displays the classic symptom of making a subject seem more demanding than it actually is. Good teaching is nothing to do with making things hard. It is nothing to do with frightening students. It is everything to do with benevolence and humility; it always tries to help students feel that a subject can be mastered; it encourages them to try things out for themselves and succeed at something quickly.
3: Appropriate assessment and feedback – This involves using a variety of assessment techniques and allowing students to demonstrate their mastery of the material in different ways. It avoids those assessment methods that encourage students to memorize and regurgitate. It recognizes the power of feedback to motivate more effort to learn.
4: Clear goals and intellectual challenge – Effective teachers set high standards for students. They also articulate clear goals. Students should know up front what they will learn and what they will be expected to do with what they know.
5: Independence, control and active engagement – Good teaching fosters sense of student control over learning and interest in the subject matter. Good teachers create learning tasks appropriate to the student’s level of understanding. They also recognize the uniqueness of individual learners and avoid the temptation to impose mass production standards that treat all learners as if they were exactly the same. It is worth stressing that we know that students who experience teaching of the kind that permits control by the learner not only learn better, but that they enjoy learning more.
6: Learning from students – Effective teaching refuses to take its effect on students for granted. It sees the relation between teaching and learning as problematic, uncertain and relative. Good teaching is open to change: it involves constantly trying to find out what the effects of instruction are on learning, and modifying the instruction in the light of the evidence collected.
Organization and Clarity
• explains clearly
• is well prepared
• makes difficult topics easy to understand
• uses examples, details, analogies, metaphors, and variety in modes of explanation to make material not only understandable but memorable
• makes the objectives of the course and each class clear
• establishes a context for material
Analytic/Synthetic Approach
• has a thorough command of the field
• contrasts the implications of various theories
• gives the student a sense of the field, its past, present, and future directions, the origins of ideas and concepts
• presents facts and concepts from related fields
• discusses viewpoints other than his/her own
Dynamism and Enthusiasm
• is an energetic, dynamic person
• seems to enjoy teaching
• conveys a love of the field
• has an aura of self-confidence
Instructor-Group Interaction
• can stimulate, direct, and pace interaction with the class
• encourages independent thought and accepts criticism
• uses wit and humor effectively
• is a good public speaker
• knows whether or not the class is following the material and is sensitive to students’ motivation
• is concerned about the quality of teaching
Instructor-Individual Student Interaction
• is perceived as fair, especially in his/her methods of evaluation
• is seen by students as approachable and a valuable source of advice even on matters not directly related to the course

Mentoring: There are many existing models of school-based professional mentoring, so it should not be difficult to select a small number of promising ones for this purpose and evaluate their impact. Key design issues include creating mentoring relationships characterized by trust and feeling supported, while being sufficiently challenging to provoke change. The difficulties of sustaining real change over a long period should also be addressed in the design.
Being organized in the classroom is another key element of an effective teacher. By organizing and planning each day, the teacher surely presented the lesson in effective manner. When the teacher is organizing in the classroom, pupils will observe, imitate and apply it in their daily lives.
As teacher, one must be honest to themselves, to the school and to their profession. A teacher must always be truthful in whatever we do or say.

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