Leeson and Unit Planning - Learners
Characteristics of individuals in the class
Relationships are a huge part of the teaching/learning process. To build those relationships a student teacher must learn about their students and their individual characteristics and situations.
They should also begin to identify students in relationship to the class as a whole. They need to start discussing (hopefully without labeling) leaders in the group, learning plan needs, special needs, socio-economic factors, behavior quirks, etc.
Student teachers will gradually begin to learn about the interests of individuals and of the groups they work with. Talking about this and reflecting on it helps solidify the importance of these relationships.
Prior knowledge and learning patterns (how they ‘expect’ to be taught.)
Students, especially in the higher grades, are often reluctant to try new ways of teaching and learning. It will take some time and effort to convince students to try new ways of doing things and it may have to be done gradually. Learners have different ways of learning and varying comfort levels with different styles, and student teachers, while they can’t satisfy everyone all the time, will learn that a variety of methods need to be used. They should also begin to identify these characteristics in students.
Language, culture, community
Teachers need to learn about their community. Sometimes this is obvious when students do not have English fluency. Sometimes it is subtle in the ways people interpret facial expressions, eye contact, body language, time awareness, and other means that we often interpret to show respect or lack thereof.