Modalities in the Classroom
Using Learning Modalities to Drive Student Collaboration
Published by mcSquares
We all know the student- the one who is reserved, doesn’t like to share, or be the center of attention. As educators, we've all had our fair share of students who will do whatever it takes not to be called on. When they are, we often don’t get a sense of what they truly know about the topic of discussion while increasing a distaste for participating. However, there are tools we have at our disposal to foster participation and engage even the most silent of students.
How to Gauge Understanding
For students who are more reseserved, sharing in front of the class or being called on is often considered a terrifying endeavor. For a teacher, it is not the best way to gauge a student’s understanding and can promote student distress within the classroom. Instead of cold calling, leverage group activities and assign students roles of their choosing. We’ve know about learning modalities- this is how our students best process information - strategically group students based on the four learning modalities to ensure groups are constructive.
You're not on your own to create this modality centered learning environment, though. There are a variety of edTech tools that help with these types of activities and grouping, and can develop a new love for presenting in the classroom. From SmartBoards to tablets, and even our favorite, mcSquares, there are countless tools at your disposal to increase engagement and learning in your classroom. When utilizing these tools, ensure that each learning modality can be represented through the given medium. For example, using a tablet may not work best for small groups presenting to the class due to it's size.
When using tools like these, the key to success is giving students specific roles and tasks within their group based on individual learning modalities. By delivering group work and grouping students heterogeneously by their learning modalities, a collaborative environment can occur organically. Students are required to rely on each other in order to successfully complete the task at hand, while encouraging their groupmates so they can all be successful.
In addition to addressing all styles of learners, teachers can tap into student personalities. For example, make successes competitive to motivate students who are outgoing and goal oriented. This then enables teachers to pair students who either have similar personalities, or different, based on the specific activity and what the desired outcome of that specific group activity is.
"When using tools like these, the key to success is giving students specific roles and tasks within their groups based on individual learning modalities."
Meeting Their Needs
It has become increasingly important now more than ever for educators to meet students where they are in the classroom. Knowing the learning needs and styles of their students is only half the battle. Engaging those particular styles is a challenge within itself. Through understanding individuals and the use of catered learning modalities in small group settings, educators can begin to grow a classroom environment which is beneficial to all types of students.
By using collaborative tools that require a unique set of skills, students can feel empowered and thus more compelled to share with their peers.
Let us know what strategies you use by commenting below! We would love to hear from you.
Check out the mcSquares education packages to see how you can improve student learning today.
mcSquares enable students to interact individually or in small groups and then present to the class as a whole. This increases student responsibility as well as engagement, all while allowing the teacher to view individual work.