Posted by Christy Williams on January 10th, 2017
As with parenting, teaching requires teaching the students you have, not the ones you wish you had. The way to achieve this is through really knowing and understanding your students’ lives in an effort to more effectively reach them. By understanding students’ backgrounds, family dynamics, learning styles and other characteristics, you can create a learning profile for each student. Using student learner profiles allows you to create tailored lessons and provides a number of other benefits within your classroom.
Learning profiles focus on five characteristics of learning identity collected through various efforts:
- Academic Performance – Defined by thinking and reading skills, oral and written language development, and proficiency with categorization, logic and sequencing.
- Biological Traits – Consists of age, gender, health, physical development, and any physical or learning disabilities.
- Cultural & Societal Factors – Includes economic status, ethnic and racial background, language, religion, cultural identity, values, gender expectations, and sense of stability.
- Emotional & Social Influences – Comprised of factors such as family structure, family history, familial changes, attitude, self-esteem and peer status.
- Learning Preferences – Made up of learning style, interests, environmental influences, production style and intelligence preferences.
Using student learning profiles to create instruction yields several benefits. Environment, student readiness, engagement and emotional intelligence are all positively impacted through the collection of learning profile-related data for students.
- Environment – Knowing your students at deeper levels will help you create a psychologically safe environment for your learners. Rapport and trust are built through your genuine care and interest towards students. This rapport will also likely spill over among students. The result will be an environment characterized by trust, acceptance, security and willingness to take risks associated with new learning and ideas.
- Student Readiness – Using student learning profiles will encourage you to gauge student learning readiness beyond general group assessment. Instead, you will be able to personalize learning through thinking in terms of individual readiness coupled with group readiness.
- Engagement – Identify multiple curriculum access points for your learners to teach concepts and content that are relevant to your students. The relevance will activate student connections through similar experience, interest or way of thinking. As a result of the connections, student engagement will be increased.
- Emotional Intelligence – Getting to know your students will result in the development and demonstration of greater emotional intelligence for you. As you exert more effort towards learning more about your students, you will exhibit greater patience, empathy, understanding of thought and responsibility. Your increased emotional intelligence will prompt you to suspend negative judgments as it pertains to your students.
Student learning profiles greatly influence your ability to be more effective as a teacher. Take the time to use various data collection tools to gain valuable insight regarding your students’ backgrounds, learning styles and other details. The results will allow you to create a better learning environment, improve assessment of student readiness, drive engagement and strengthen your personal emotional intelligence.