PLT 1.B Influences on Diverse Learners

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Age-Appropriate Knowledge And Behavior

Teachers must understand their students' physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Student progress is seen on a developmental continuum, and growth, or lack of progress toward age-appropriate growth, must be recorded and reported to parents. A student whose knowledge or behavior is outside the norm for the age group may need differentiated instruction or other supports. For example, a ten-year-old student who has a well-developed understanding of working with fractions may need more challenging work with fractions than his or her grade-level peers. Likewise, a student who is unable to form the letters of the alphabet in grade 2 may need supports for fine motor skill development.

Cognitive Patterns

Students make meaning in a variety of ways. According to Piaget's theory, children move from the preoperational to the concrete operational and then the formal operational stage during their school years. One students can make sense more easily though listening, while another prefers visual information. Successful teachers understand their students' thinking styles — especially for those with learning disabilities and those who are accelerated — and plan lessons to accommodate a wide variety of ways to make meaning.

Family Culture

Families can provide valuable funds of knowledge (Moll) for teachers to tap into and utilize for successful lessons. Communicating with families, knowing the school community, and appreciating the differences and similarities of family cultures will help teachers offer instruction that meets the needs of all children.

Linguistic Patterns

dialects
code switch
Standard American English (SAE)
African American English Vernacular (AAEV)
ebonics

Multicultural

Some students come from a wide variety of cultures, and successful teachers help students define and understand their own cultures to deal with mutual misconceptions and to inform future lesson planning. Hidalgo's three levels of culture — concrete, behavioral, and spiritual — can be discussed to build a sense of relatedness and respect in the classroom. Sometimes a family's expectations may differ from a teacher's expectations for a student. Making positive connections between schoolwork and home life can support students' success.

Physical Issues

Successful teachers communicate with the school nurse, families, school mental health professionals, teacher assistants, and the student to understand how the student's term can be supported so that the child can learn at an optimal level. Term common among students include vision, hearing, and mobility problems. Some students suffer from asthma, seizures, and allergies. A teacher should be aware of any term and procedures to ensure the child's safety, especially during field trips, fire drills, and other emergencies.

Social And Emotional Issues

...may be caused by/confused by differences in socioeconomic status (SES)

Some students have physical or mental health issues that lead to term in the classroom. Collaborating with families and colleagues who know the child's needs can help the teacher create a successful learning environment for the students. Students who have low self-esteem, have anxiety, or are easily distractible may also present social or emotional behavioral issues in school.

Students And School Culture

Students are affected by the school's term. Issues that impact term include bullying, teasing, cliques, threats to personal safety, freedom to take risks or make mistakes, collaborative groups, gender relationships, and the structure of the classroom environment. Students are also affected by the larger term. School policies, procedures, norms for dress, communication expectations, and teacher responsiveness all affect a student's experience in school.

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