Thursday, April 7, 2011

Are You Speaking Your Student's Language?

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You are a high ‘C’ teacher and you have just entered the classroom well prepared with lesson plans in hand. Your lesson  is well organized and covers the entire required curriculum standards. You have even put in extra time researching the material and have a whole bonus section to share. Part of the lesson involves dividing your class into groups to complete a group project. You know you are going to give a perfect lesson. Your class is the usual mix of students but includes the following:

Donald is a high ‘D” student who dominates every discussion and has an answer to every question. He even makes suggestions to you as to how to teach the lesson. He thinks some of the facts that you are presenting are incorrect. He finishes his work quickly and wants to know what else he can do while everyone is working. When placed in a group to work on a project, he takes charge, divides up the assignment and tells everyone what they should do. He does not listen to other group member’s suggestions and insists his way is the best. Everyone in his group comes to you and asks to be reassigned to another group.

Isabelle is a high ‘I’ student who has a lot on her mind but learning is not really part of it. She has come to see her friends and meet new ones! She loves people and school is simply an environment for socializing. She likes to have fun and has a clever comment to make related to just about everything. She talks to her neighbor, passes notes back and forth and shuffles papers the whole time you are teaching. She loves the idea of a group project because then she can talk with her friends even more.

Carl is a high ‘C’ student who likes to learn. He asks a lot of questions about the material that you are teaching. When assigned to a group project, he wants to know all the details; what are the requirements? What is the topic? Can they change the topic? How long does the report need to be? Who is responsible for each section? How will the grade be determined? Exactly how long will they have to work on the report? ....

Sally is a high ‘S’ student and with all the commotion in the classroom, it is easy to forget that she is even there. She is shy and never volunteers an answer or asks a question, although when called on she always tries hard to please. In her group, she is quiet unless someone else needs help. She is always the first to offer her assistance. When she leaves the classroom, she always gives you a hug and tells you to have a nice day.

Sound familiar? How successful are you going to be in delivering your lesson? What is the secret fuel or motivation for each personality? How can you ensure that the groups work well together and actually fulfill the requirements of the project? Understanding the personality types is the key.

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