Every teacher desires and struggles with getting their students excited about their subject. We want our students to be as passionate about it as we are. The percentage of pure passion for a subject is limited to a few in each class. So how can we get the rest of the students to enjoy and look forward to coming to our class? I suggest trying to use multiple intelligence learning styles, differentiated instruction as well as increasing student choice.
Multiple intelligence learning styles are a great way to start to increase interest in a subject and use differentiated instruction. The multiple intelligence theory was developed by Dr. Howard Gardner. There are seven original multiple intelligences and thus the same number of learning styles but there are considered to be more now. Some even think there are hundreds of them.
I like to stick to the original basic seven as to not be overwhelmed during the differentiated instruction planning process. In my experience they will work for most students in the class. In the rare occasion they don’t, teachers can include one of the new multiple intelligence learning styles to reach the student.
The seven original multiple intelligence learning styles are intrapersonal, interpersonal, linguistic, spatial, musical, logical-mathematical, and kinesthetic. You can use multiple intelligence learning styles in all aspects of the lesson to include different ways of presenting each piece of content in a mini-lesson or offering choices for activities during a work session dealing with different multiple intelligence learning styles, which brings us to the next suggestion to get students excited in a class, differentiated instruction.
Differentiated Instruction has been a hot topic for a while now, however many teachers still don’t quite know how to do it, don’t have time to do it, or they just think it’s a phase. It can be a great tool to use to interest and excite your students and, in my opinion, shouldn’t be overlooked as an option for every day lessons.
Differentiated instruction can be done through the use of the multiple intelligence learning styles as well as leveling, scaffolding or tiering.
Teachers can use multiple intelligence learning styles to differentiate instruction in not only the mini-lesson but also the work session activities and pretty much any other part of the lesson. Offer students up to four choices of activities for a work session, all using the same content, but using different multiple intelligence learning styles. The students will choose the one that they think will be the most interesting to do. I’ve noticed that if you allow them to choose the activities the day before, their interests peak. They feel like they have ownership in their education and look forward to coming to the class the next day. I have also noticed a decrease in complaining about work sessions because they can’t blame you as the teacher. After all, they chose it.
I’m sure you are wondering how I actually have time to create four options of activities for students to choose from. I created a system of activity templates that saves me a ton of time. I offer about 55 of them at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico. They even include rubrics. I can tweak them easily to fit almost anything I need my students to work on.
Another way to differentiate instruction to increase excitement is through the use of leveling. Leveling is also known as tiering and scaffolding. This can be done by using the same content once again but at different levels. This is not less and or more work depending on “how smart” your students are. It has to do with taking students from one level to the next through the use of small steps. Differentiating instruction through the use of leveling is easily done with expository writing. Teachers can take a student from a topic sentence and the listing of three facts to a topic sentence with one fact sentence and then listing two facts and so on. Students need to see that there is hope at the end of the tunnel and if they have a learning disability or are ELL, many times writing can be an overwhelming task for them. Using small differentiated instruction leveled steps helps them feel success and improves their attitude in the subject.
Whether a teacher uses leveling or multiple intelligence learning styles to differentiate instruction, they stand a chance of really interesting their students in their subject area or content. To read more about differentiated instruction, click here.