Broadening Differentiation In Teaching and Learning

A lot has been said about the different types of learning styles, namely visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Every effective learning and teaching experience has been designed to meet the three different styles. Differentiation is however increasingly getting broader as various extrinsic factors come into play as major contributors to the way a learner learns.

Emotional and social issues are undeniably playing a major role in the way a learner prepares herself or himself to learn. And how learners engage or disengage themselves with the learning process cannot be divorced from the fact that they have these social and emotional undercurrents barging them at the same time.

A lot of learners come to the classroom with emotional trauma and other social issues that are unseen and go unnoticed throughout the learning process. The teacher will often focus on the researched and obvious different learning abilities and pays no attention to the unseen emotional and social barriers to learning that have encumbered his learners. Therefore these hidden barriers to learning if left undiscovered and unaddressed, will result in ineffective learning experiences for the learners.  

A number of children are affected by conflicts going on in their homes, such as divorce, domestic violence, alcohol abuse and child neglect. Economic issues like parental loss of employment, lack of household income, poor nutrition, poor housing, poor sanitation and forced child labour have a tremendous impact that negatively affects the child's ability to benefit optimally from the learning process. Deaths in the family, disease and other health constraints have their own major share in negatively affecting the child's ability to perform well in class and learn effectively.

This therefore calls for strengthened synergies between the teachers and the school counselors where the latter is in a privileged position to offer counsel to the affected children while at the same time working out a strategy with the teachers that would help the teacher come up with different approaches to his lesson delivery and teaching strategies. This differentiation will therefore take into account the many neglected social and emotional barriers that children carry with them to the classroom hence making them not to learn effectively.

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