Diverse Students, Diverse Learning
Focusing on diverse student groups in higher education and the importance of embracing inclusive learning and teaching approaches.
For example, Learners may need special help outside the curriculum that will flow naturally into the course of their study.
This stems from the tenets that being Learning Facilitators, we cannot educate while being oblivion to an existing barrier such as language or speak-shy.
For example I teach “Law”. My students aim to graduate and become lawyers. Addressing how to overcome your heavy accent and how to speak clearly.
Can you imagine a Lawyer speaking in court and the Judge missing half of what he is saying?
Addressing the learner’s ability to express themselves clearly, regardless of the language, is an integrated part of the “Educator’s” duties.
One of my students, a brilliant Law Student, suffers from severe “voice monotony” syndrome. He has a straight line voice regardless of the subject he is addressing.
As an example he can describe the fall from the sky of an aeroplane with same monotonous voice of someone reciting the bible.
After a few attempts, I resorted to my colleague Livia Ostafe to provide Drama Classes to my students with special emphasis on theatrical vocal recitals.
There is a lot of development in all of my students’ public speaking abilities and that specific student regained confidence in his ability to express his emotions in different vocal tones.
Lego Padlet Activity Course
Using random pieces of “Lego” we were asked to structure a metaphoric image of our students in class using whatever Lego blocks we have available.
I produced the image above: _ It is of Learners in a class sitting in front of an “Educator” symbolized by a Wizard’s Hat.
1- The structure was intentionally placed on a Laptop computer indicating modern learning methods with the use of advanced media technology and advanced Teaching/Learning skills.
2- The structure was composed of different coloured blocks indicating diversity of learners and their ethnic, learning pattern, language orientation and beliefs.
3- The blocks were placed loose on the laptop cover signifying that the learner is not there unwillingly. Learners are in class because they want to be there. This fact alone, fulfils 75% of the Educator’s task. It’s up to him/her now to draw his learners into finding the delight of learning the subject they came to learn. Otherwise they will leave – that can happen by not attending the class or going away with their minds which can be using the mobile phone, checking their mail or even day dreaming. If learners are not drawn to the method of teaching, nothing can stop their departure.
4- The other metaphor of the blocks representing “learners” is that they are empty Lego pieces ready to be shaped, formed and informed. The “Tutor” can look at them individually, assess their needs and individual orientation then start building.
5- Finally, The Wizard Hat and what it symbolizes. The Teacher is perceived by his students as a Wizard who can perform magic and inspire his learners. On the other hand a Teacher can be perceived as a Witch who is there to inflict punishment or drag boredom.
I like to believe I am one of those wizards, turning the process of learning into a magical experience in the life of each one of my learners.