As a teacher (whether licensed or a parent home schooling their scholar) there are so many things to consider: best practices, state standards (which have gone to core standards), Individual learning plans, multiple intelligences, technology, width or breadth of knowledge, application, hands-on versus direct instruction. Needless to say, it is nice to have some guidelines when it comes to teaching a scholar. Depending on a school’s pedagogy the focus can be on any of the above.
Some schools want an Individual Learning Plan for each student. In theory, this is a great idea. The curriculum “tailored made” for each student will help them be the best person they can be. The question is when you are trying to teach 24 to 35 students, when do you have time to plan 24 to 35 different lessons? The answer is there isn’t enough time. However through differentiated instruction, you may group scholars into different groups with some modifications to help those who struggle as well as those that excel. The idea is to come up with an assignment which the average scholar can succeed at. Then you either add rigor for the students that excel or modify to help those struggling scholars.
Other schools believe the best way for scholars to learn is through direct instruction. The idea is you give the scholars information. They take notes. Then you might have a “hands on” activity to reinforce the idea. After these steps, you give a formative evaluation and if they the scholar doesn’t succeed then you re-teach. The challenge with this set up is figuring out how to keep the scholars who have mastered the information attentive while trying to help those who have not gained mastery. One way to help with this dilemma is to use “Fast Finishers”. “Fast Finishers” are education based activities, worksheets, etc. that will reinforce concepts while being interesting and fun.
Another school of thought is to learn through experimentation. This particular way of learning involves exploring the things around you, coming up with questions. Then through experimentation, research, trial and error, you learn the material. This can be either a fun way to learn or a frustrating way to learn. It really depends on how well the scholar is guided through the process as well as their work ethic. This process also can take a longer period of time to gain knowledge.
With any of the above strategies, resources are essential. These resources can be found on the internet, but you need to be careful of their validity and accuracy. Educational supply stores are a great resource as well as libraries, museums, and schools. There are a lot of teacher supply stores with a variety of curriculums, manipulative, and ideas to help with whatever type of pedagogy you believe in.