April 19, 2014

Reflective Teaching – Understanding Different Learning Styles

Reflective teaching means exploring the way that the material being presented is affected by other factors. This means recognizing, examining and ruminating over what has been learned. Teachers are constantly reflecting on what they teach and responding to what is going on in the classroom. This type of reflection happens on an almost intuitive level. By recognizing this type of reflection in action, a teacher can examine the way that they make immediate and automatic decisions. In addition, reflective teaching may also refer to the way that a teacher approaches the different learning styles of the students within his or her class.

Students generally fall into one of two categories, reflective and active learners. Students that fall on the reflective side of learning tend to have a more studied and analytical approach to new information. For teachers, it is not difficult to identify which students are reflective and which are active. A reflective learner will spend more time waiting before participating in discussions or expressing themselves. These students prefer to carefully consider and mull over information before jumping in to projects, experiments, or activities. In addition, these students often prefer to work alone or with a clearly defined role if they are in a group.

Situations that require quick responses can have negative effects on reflective learners. These types of students often enjoy writing summaries of literature such as book reports. They also excel at using outlines and checklists. A teacher can help these students get the most out of their education by encouraging them to take notes during class. Teachers should understand that every student has a unique approach to taking in information. They should try to provide a comfortable setting for these types of students so that they are able to develop their own opinions and come to their own conclusions.

It should be noted that a reflective learner is not necessarily a passive learner. These students simply take their time to digest information and prefer to interact with it on their terms rather than in a more rushed or high-pressure setting. If the students are given the opportunity to share their perspective, they are often eager to do so if they are allowed to do it in a way that is comfortable to them. Teachers that understand the needs of each student in their classroom will be able to provide a better experience for every student. Teaching an effective way means possessing the willingness and ability to make adjustments.

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