We have always been honest teachers, or at least so we say. We have struggled to learn about new techniques to improve our teaching skills, new methods to achieve our goals, new tools to make our lessons more engaging… but we always forgot something, something that has always been there and we did not have eyes to see.
We all knew there were students who had less talent for languages, or those who were really “gifted”. We tried to keep the balance by asking those more skilled to help the others in their learning process (or was it help “us”?), and that made us feel good. We gave more assistance to those who needed it, some more extra worksheets, some more explanations at the end of the class… but something was not right… what was it? Why ordinary children did not succeed at all in their learning English… or were we so bad that we cold not succeed in our job?
It seems that things are getting clear… we must definitely assume that not every child learns in the same way… their intelligences differ. Of course, some will be more talented that others, but that does not account for complete failure. The important breakthrough that meant discovering and assuming different ways of learning has also meant that teachers must change the way to treat “diversity”. This so called “diversity” should be now based on seeing and understanding how our students learn, have a clear picture of their learning profiles, and adapt our teaching as much as possible… and that sounds extremely difficult… insurmountable?
Not really, indeed. If we stick to old methodologies, to children in rows listening to a master class where teachers teach how to build passive forms and then ask students to fill in the gaps and transform sentences, then it will be really insurmountable. But if we look around and see the scores of possibilities we have to cover the different needs of our students, there’s light at the end of the tunnel!
PBL and technologies create a blend of tools, resources and techniques that can turn our lessons into pools of knowledge research, acquisition, analysis and transfer. It’s about time we turn to Bloom’s taxonomy and get a clear picture of the kind of tasks and projects our students are doing. This way it will be easier to detect what we can offer to every single learner. Distributing different tasks, using different tools and resources and assigning different roles will possibly create a scenario where many more students will find a proper learning path, probably a path full of challenging goals and attainable objectives… suitable for everyone.