Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Get to Know Your Students

As a teacher, it is impossible to reach all of your students why using only one teaching method. Every different student has a different way of learning. Some students are visual learners, some students are auditory learners, while others are hands-on learners, also known as kinesthetic learners. One of the most important qualities that you can have as a teacher is to integrate many different styles of teaching in every class so that you can help every student to the best of your ability instead of just reaching the students that take to the teaching style that you prefer.

Visual learners learn best through seeing what they are learning. A large part of the student population is visual learners. The use of visual aids, textbooks, or graphs can be very helpful tools in a classroom to help these types of learners succeed. This is why in Physical Education, it is great to have a poster or some type of visual aid with cues or important parts of a skill on it to help these learners.

Auditory learners learn best through hearing what they are learning. The amount of students that are auditory learners is not as great as visual or kinesthetic learners, but still some students are this type of learners so it is important to incorporate this into your lessons. In Physical Education class, it can be helpful to have the students say the cues out loud and to talk through the steps of the skills being learned in order to help these students.

All throughout my life, I have been a hands-on, or kinesthetic learner. I learn best by performing a task and being given time to practice the task. This is one reason why I loved Physical Education class growing up because I was able to physically perform tasks instead of sitting in a chair in the classroom listening to a teacher teach. In Physical Education class, students are mostly performing tasks that require them to use their hands to physically perform the task. Practice is a large part of Physical Education class.

Along with the different learning types of the students, as a teacher you may also have to deal with the different motivational levels of the students to learn. Some students will enjoy being in class and learning a particular topic whereas another student may have to motivation at all to be in that class. This is easily visible in Physical Education class where participation is important. I clearly saw this throughout my entire educational career. I was one of the students who absolutely enjoyed Physical Education class, hence my choice of becoming a Physical Education teacher. Then there were the students who would either sit on the side and not do anything or be part of the game or activity but not actively participate. As teachers, we need to get to know our students and what motivates them. By learning what your students like, you can take that and incorporate it into your lesson so that the student who was not enjoying themselves before, may not be more motivated to participate because you are doing something that they like to do. You cannot teach every class the same because of this exact reason. You have to teach each class separately because the students are different and they have different interests and personalities.

All in all, get to know your students' abilities and ways of learning so that you can best reach each student in your class. Be able to modify activities so that you can get every student to participate and do your best to attempt to motivate your student to have fun and enjoy Physical Education. No student is a lost cause and it will help them to know that you care about them and want them to participate and enjoy themselves. There is one saying that I will never forget that I heard in my Educational Psychology class here at Cortland. It was "They (the students) do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care." If you put forth the effort, you students will see it and hopefully recognize it and respect you for it.

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