Facilitating Knowledge and Skills to Our Students Without Barriers
What matters is not what we teach; it’s what they learn, and the probability of real learning is far higher when the students have a lot to say about both the content and the process. – Alfie Kohn
Nowadays, most schools’ missions, visions, values, and guiding statements converge to a student-centered learning and teaching environment where the student is the leading player guided by a facilitator instead of being taught by a teacher. To better describe this pedagogical approach, we wanted to share with you below some strategies and procedures that ensure that all students, without exception, will attain their daily skills within a differentiated learning and facilitating environment:
- Ensure curricula standards and directorial resources’ collaborative planning contribute to learning activities designed to consider the students’ prior knowledge and skills via standard-based diagnostic tests.
- Provide differentiated support for students who face learning difficulties and higher levels of challenge for more able students via an effective SEN Dept. and SENCOs, and within a complete induction and inclusion strategy.
- Introduce more opportunities for students to work independently and collaboratively to undertake problem-solving and research and to present their outcomes via CMT (Constructive, Measurable, and Timely) interactive feedback sessions and peer and self-assessment techniques.
- Ensure that ICT skills are developed through practical computer-based activities instead of a theoretical textbook approach.
- Make effective use of learning assessments to check that all students fully understand critical points during the lesson via reinforcing the formative assessment and CMT Feedback Interactive Sessions.
- Reinforce the need to act as facilitators and not teachers since the goal is to facilitate the query for knowledge and acquisition of skills to the students and not to lecture.
- Identify the SEN and Gifted/ Talented students and make sure that facilitators follow and meet those students’ IEPs, GIEPs, and TIEPs objectives within customized instructional strategies that are clearly mentioned in the directorial resources.
- Implement continuous professional development workshops that prepare the differentiated student-centered facilitator.
- Ensure that ICT and all other subjects are fully integrated via collaborative planning meetings and strategies through commonly prepared and designed unit plans.
- Implement the Curriculum Classroom Differentiation that starts by differentiating the curriculum and will ultimately lead to an entirely differentiated classroom.
- Create complete and diverse horizontal, vertical, and cross-curricular directorial resources that integrates community service, creativity, co/extra-curricular, and clear learner profiles and that uses a fully differentiated and integrated multi-layered curricular approach, guided by “The One Subject Called Knowledge” Approach
- Introduce a Facilitator Profile on day one that highlights traits that embodies the values of the school and that serves beyond differentiated learning and facilitating milieu.
- Require all facilitators to keep a professional portfolio that reflects their professional development, facilitating practices, and student progress.
- Ensure the curriculum, yearly break downs, unit plans, and weekly lesson plans contain rich sources of facilitating strategies that enable students to acquire all the learning skills and knowledge they are expected to at the end of their courses. The facilitating and instructional strategies such as flexible grouping, think-pair-share, 4-corners, baby and the cup and E3RR milieu must be integrated into all the lessons to facilitate the students’ acquisition of their learning skills.
- Assign students projects in groups (such as collaborative, STEAM, STEM projects) to apply their learning skills from the key subjects such as Math, Art, Robotics, Computer Science, English, French, Chinese, Spanish, German, Other Languages, Social Studies, life Skills, Music, Chemistry, Film, Environmental Studies, and Biology.
- Implement newly designed rubrics to quantify and to measure the scale of the students’ learning and skill development in areas such as knowledge, understanding, application, critical thinking, innovation, analytical reasoning, and decision making.
- Integrate all students regardless of level into every group, whether it is a learning session in the classroom or, a lab session, or a collaborative /inquiry-based project. This will enable students of all levels to act confidently, think individually, share views, reach conclusions, and communicate fluently during presentations.
- Participate in “Innovation Week” where students present different working models depicting their learning skills acquired in each subject.
- Ensure students partake in the assessment and collaborative planning procedures via effective peer and self-assessment techniques conducted in their classrooms, and participate in some collaborative planning meetings.
- Have students play a significant part in facilitating other students in lower grades on Saturdays and after-school sessions to build leadership and nurturing traits.
- Create a facilitating and learning environment based on real-life modeling techniques and approaches to ensure that students find the relevance between their real-life needs and their studied material.
- Integrate and Reinforce Extra/Co-Curricular Activities, events, and trips within the learning and facilitating environment to make sure that the students are culturally prepared and ready to tackle the 21st-century challenges within a globally-minded citizenship approach.
- Facilitate the inquiry of knowledge and acquisition of skills by using one subject called “Knowledge” approach with real-life, relevant topics and a multi-layered curricular approach.
- Develop even further from differentiated education to personalized education.
All the above will lead to important and successful deductive and factual conclusions from students:
They will interact and collaborate purposefully and productively in a range of learning situations to achieve common goals and regularly make meaningful connections between areas of learning to their relevant, real-life experiences.
The addition of Innovation-Creativity, National Culture/Identity, and Leadership as three significant strands in the curricula and the integration of the active learner profile within all aspects of the curricula will enforce most of the points cited above. We must make sure that our students are innovative and enterprising. We must nurture following students’ traits as the main features of our learning and facilitating environment.