This post was supposed to be about a great differentiation lesson. But when I asked students to evaluate their experience, something else, that I cannot ignore, happened.
Last week in grade 10 extended mathematics classes, I did a differentiated lesson on applications on parabolas, where students chose their task based on their Sternberg learning style (analytical, practical or creative).
I wanted to hear from them, whether they thought the activity suited them as learners, and whether it was a worthwhile strategy.
I posed the statement, (which, in hindsight, I wish I had thought through more carefully) “I enjoyed the learning style task last week, it suited my learning preferences.” Students could respond that they
- strongly agreed
- were neutral
- strongly disagreed
I realize now that allowing the choice of “neutral” was a mistake on various levels:
- I should force students to decide whether they agree or disagree
- I do not have as clear results as I would like because there were too many options
- But mostly, why on earth should I allow my students to be “neutral” about anything in the class. They should have an opinion, and be engaged in the learning. I want to know their thoughts on the issue. “Neutral” tells me nothing.
***A car cannot drive whilst in neutral, and a student cannot learn whilst in neutral.***
Here are the results of the survey, of two classes.
There may well be other issues to address here, but first I would have liked to know where those “neutral” students would stand.