Learning Styles and Constructing Meaning

Instructional Strategies: Learning Styles and Constructing Meaning

How can students with a variety of learning styles work together to solve a problem? Here's how Ms. England optimizes learning in groups:

  • In order to arrive at a solution, students need to engage in a discussion as well as attempt to solve the problem using "trial and error." While doing so, every member of the group has the opportunity to use their own learning style in an attempt to find a solution to the math problem. They also have to explain their approach to the problem to their peers.
  • Students are also given the freedom from the constraints of the concept that "there is only one right way to approach the problem." This also serves to empower the students by allowing them the freedom to explore and engage in learning through their own styles.

Even though Ms. England's students were fairly fluent in their explanations, she still provided specific directions to encourage peer-to-peer interaction. For example, she told students to "show the class, not me" and she assigned specific assignments to group members.

What other ways did the teacher, fellow students, and even the classroom environment support student construction of meaning and talking of mathematics?

In the first clip, see how students communicate their plans on how to solve this problem and how Ms. England supports this discussion. Then in the second clip, the class discovers that they need additional information to solve this problem and what mathematical tool they need to use to find this missing information.