Friday, June 8, 2012

Inductive Learning Strategy

Having different types of teaching strategies will, without a doubt, help any teacher become better at ensuring their students grasp the concepts. I have received so many mails (as a result of blogging) where teachers ask me to share my strategies with them! So here is one. My first lesson was not very successful by the way. After teaching the students about heroes, at then end of 6 weeks I asked them to write a reflection on their learning, a few students still chose a celebrity as their hero. However, all was not lost. They argues that a celebrity can be a hero if they give of themselves to society. I could not argue with that!
Using the inductive learning strategy (this focuses on understanding), I tweaked my lesson:

Here goes:

Organize the junk in your mind through sorting.

The students will be learning a unit on social studies.

Learning Objective: Students will be able to identify the qualities that make a hero. They will be able to distinguish between a hero and a celebrity.

In India, there is a cultural connotation linked to the word ‘hero’. People refer to movie stars as heroes. As a result, when I had started teaching this unit of inquiry to the children in Hyderabad, most of the students thought of heroes as Bollywood movie stars. In order to help them understand the difference between a celebrity and a hero, the inductive learning strategy will help the students develop a better understanding of the qualities that make a hero.

Gathering data: Students will be asked to bring in pictures of personalities whom they consider to be famous. They will look through magazines, newspapers, and the Internet over the weekend. It will be interesting to see whom the students consider as heroes. If they teacher finds most of the pictures brought in are celebrities, an intervention in the form of a mini-lesson, will help them broaden their search. The teacher will show a power point presentation of very famous people from all walks of life. The objective of this lesson would be to make them see beyond the world of Indian “heroes’ and start looking at well-known personalities.

Sorting data: Students will work in cooperative groups in order to sort the data. The instruction given to them will be to find different criteria for sorting the data. They will need to support their thinking by giving reasons as to why the grouped the data in a particular way. As students discuss and sort the data in their groups, I will videotape the conversations. This can be used to assess their thinking. Even though the teacher will be walking around listening to their conversations, the video will help the teacher go over their discussions again. It will also allow the children to see how they have changed/adjusted their thinking by the end of the lesson.

Interpreting data: Students will try and label each group of personalities in order to capture their essence. For instance, will they group all the female personalities together or will they put them in groups according to their occupation? Will they group all the movie stars together, or will they group them according to their age? Once the students have labeled their work, they will share their thoughts with the rest of the class. This phase is critical. The teacher will pose questions which will help them extend their thinking. Questions such as: what qualities do all of these personalities share? How is one group similar to the other? How are they different? What is the difference between a celebrity and a hero?

For homework, the students will post their new understanding on a web 2.0 tool called wallwisher. This is a virtual wall where they can attach sticky notes and comment on them. They will write the following sentence on the wall: I thought a hero was ….but now I understand that a hero is…

In the classroom, the students will generate a checklist based on their new understanding of who a hero is.  Students will then create a hero poster as a way of showing their understanding. They will use the checklist to guide them during this independent activity. 

Allowing the students to work together in groups and enabling hands-on activity as they sort
data will help them learn. The reticular activating system will be set in motion. (Willis, J.2006).



Willis, J. (2006). Research-based strategies to ignite student learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision of Curriculum and Development

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