Monday, September 26, 2011

Working With Students of all Different Abilities

In today’s world we see more and more of a multicultural society both in and out of the school community. As a teacher, this requires that we are able to work with and adjust to teaching many different levels of learning from highly advanced students to students with disabilities. Being able to teach students of all different levels, especially special needs, can be very rewarding to an individual. There are a few helpful ways to go about working with the diverse students in a multicultural society, which include: establishing and frequently reviewing classroom rules and procedures, set fair and challenging expectations for all students, relate new material to previous lessons and the backgrounds and experiences, have high student engagement by using several instructional strategies, model skills and strategies as well as emphasize key points, monitor independent work and provide precise feedback, and include joy and success. All of these points can improve a classroom setting in order to make everyone successful as well as feel involved.

          Throughout the years several different laws and regulations have been created in order to meet the needs of all students, especially in special education. The federal law has established five critical principles of special education, which are zero reject, nondiscriminatory education, appropriate education, least-restrictive environment, and procedural due process. Zero reject is meant to ensure that no child with disabilities is denied a free, appropriate public education. Nondiscriminatory education is focused around the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which mandates that children with disabilities are fairly assessed so they safe from inappropriate classification and tracking. Appropriate education further explains zero reject and says that children have the right to education that includes accurate diagnosis of their needs and responsive programs for each child’s specific needs. Least-restrictive environment ensures that students with disabilities are not segregated from their age-group peers. Procedural due process allows individuals to protest a school’s decision regarding their education. All of these principles allow for states to receive financial support and make a free and appropriate education for all children.  

          In society today technology is a part of everyday life for almost everyone, if not everyone. This however has its pros and cons when it comes to the realm of education. The benefits of assistive technology include wheelchairs, computer programs for assisting the blind, and switches that respond to voice commands. These devices are used in classrooms and at home in order to help students be able to be more efficient and successful in the school setting; they can also be modified to fit the needs of all different types of disabilities. On the other hand, there is the view which looks at the negative effects of all the modern technologies for students. The negative effects can hinder both those students with disabilities and those without. Some of the problems seen in the technology world occur when students are at home on the computer and include this such as: students joining hate groups, cyber bullying, watching inappropriate videos, and picking on specific stereotypes.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Learning Styles That Affect Both Students and Teachers In All Teaching Fields

            In the field of teaching, there are many different students who each come with their own unique personalities. This is an important part of teaching because with this every student has their own type of learning style; just as each teacher has their own specific style of teaching. The three many areas that a teacher understand about a student and know about in general are cognitive, affective and physiological domains. Cognitive deals with different ways of perceiving, organizing, and retaining information. Affective focuses on the different levels of motivation to learn which includes attitudes, values, and emotional factors. This also includes whether or not a student has an internal or external locus. Internal means that a student knows they have control over their fate and can change their performance; whereas external means they do not take responsibility for behavior.  Physiology includes the nourishment and rest a child receives which in turn leads to a better learning environment.
            Other factors that can affect the learning style of a student include fields such as visual, kinesthetic, and auditory problems. There are helpful hints to help create the most beneficial environment for each student in these situations. Visual techniques deal with the textbooks, notes, and charts; including specifics like highlighting important information and students previewing chapters in the text book. Kinesthetic problems deal with having to plan for movement of the students throughout each class. This movement should be planned in order to avoid distractions and can involve using the techniques of memorizing information and doing educational activities. Lastly, auditory learning styles provide opportunities for students to recite the main points of a lecture. Encouraging students to study with friends and use audiotapes is also beneficial.  One additional factor that can affect the way in which a student learns and what their tendencies are in behavior and attitude is emotional intelligences. With an emotional intelligence, teachers can determine if a student is more likely to be stubborn, easily frustrated, and lonely or be adventurous, better adjusted, and more confident in adolescence.
            According to Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is said to more accurately identify the diverse capabilities of human nature. There are eight different intelligences, but all of them are not necessarily seen in the school setting. These include logical-mathematical, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. Logical-mathematical is skills related to mathematical manipulations and problem solving. Linguistics refers to the sensitivity of sounds, meanings, and rhythms of words and the function of language. Bodily-kinesthetic focuses on the ability to handle objects skillfully and excel in physical abilities. Musical intelligences has to do with the ability to appreciate and value different musical styles as well as produce pitch and rhythm. Spatial is the ability to form mental models and be able to maneuver and operate using them. Interpersonal intelligences have the ability to respond and analyze the moods of other people. Intrapersonal focuses on the knowledge of an individual’s own feelings, needs, strengths, and weaknesses to guide behavior. Naturalists have an appreciation for the natural world and their place within. 
            All of the different intelligences and learning styles mentioned above affect each individual classroom for a teacher as well as independent student situations. As a future teacher this information is very important for figuring out classroom management. It also gives a lot of very pertinent information on how to deal with students with certain learning styles and what is most successful.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Myself as a futurePhysical Education professional

As a physical education major, I have had much experience in the realm of sports and physical fitness throughout my life. This has been the key reason to choosing this major and enjoying it as much as I do. I want to be able to encourage the students to want to participate in physical education on a daily basis; this includes outside of the school setting. I plan to do this by changing the way most physical education programs are run; as in the old throw out the ball and do the same seasonal sports for each unit. I plan to incorporate a lot of lifetime fitness activities and units in to my curriculum because this will allow for students to carry the activities over in to everyday life; it will also be more appropriate for those who are not in to the big sports and being super competitive. I have seen some good ideas on how to incorporate these activities in to a curriculum and plan to take that knowledge to make mine even better. Another big incentive for physical education curriculum is allowing the students to have a say in what activities they participate in because if you ask them what they want to do; they are much more likely to participate and enjoy the unit. These are just some of the ideas I plan to incorporate in to my future in helping students become more physically educated. On top of being a physical educator, I would also like to carry my knowledge of fitness and health from my exercise studies degree over in to the older generations. I plan to do this by becoming a NASM certified personal trainer this coming spring while I am home student teaching. I feel that making an adult see progress in themselves whether it be in toning or becoming healthier is just as rewarding as making children enjoy physical education.
As a current senior here at SUNY Cortland, I am getting very close to finishing my undergraduate degree in Physical Education. Up until this point I have accomplished a lot in the realm of exercise studies and physical education. The first big accomplishment I had was completing my Associates degree in Exercise Studies while being a part of the honor’s program at SUNY Orange. My second big accomplishment, also at SUNY Orange, was completing the entire pre and post test along with the 25 page paper I submitted to the Beacon Conference. My paper titled “Are there physical, psychological, and life behavior changes after an eight week spinning, fitness swimming, and exercise and weight management class” qualified as the top three in the Allied Health field, which qualified me to present at the conference. This was a huge stepping stone for me because I never thought I would be able to complete a paper with the amount of research and data collection that I had to do in order to write this paper.
             As a senior at SUNY Cortland I have been able to have numerous experiences that have increased my knowledge as well as desire to teach physical education and be that generation that makes a change in the way physical education is viewed by other educators. My first experience was working with an after school program, CHAMP, in which I dealt with students of all different ages as well as abilities. Some of these students had autism and/or other disabilities which made the experience even better. My second experience was performing 70 combined hours at a middle school and high school. During this time I was able to not only observe, but assist in teaching in several different settings. I was even fortunate enough to work with a class designed for adapted students and in the pool. This was a great experience for me because I truly enjoy working with people in the water and helping them overcome fears of the water. This overall experience opened my eyes to two extremes in the physical education spectrum because at the high school level all of the activities were chosen by the students and they also pertained primarily to lifetime fitness. On the other hand in the middle school the students at the time, other than sixth grade girls, were playing kickball, basketball, and softball. To add to my experience, this semester I will be doing observations at the middle school level as well as working with an adapted group in the pool, an adapted group in the gymnasium, and the Cortland Adapted Swim Team. I am hoping these experiences as well as the others that I have outside of college with allow me to give my students the most out of each and every lesson.
            Along with my experiences as a student in college, I have many outside experiences that have contributed to my motivation for change. The biggest is working at a summer camp for approximately seven summers as a counselor. In this time I have worked with all age groups from first grade to eighth grade and have dealt with many different types of campers. I have also seen a growing trend in the amount of obese or overweight campers we see at young ages. This to me is very upsetting and encourages me to go out in the field and make a change not only in the schools, but hopefully reach out to the parents of these students to try and prevent any issues from becoming worse.  This program has been around for years, but hasn’t had a physical education major as a counselor any time recently, so this year I was looked to in order to try and implement some change. I plan to have a whole curriculum this coming summer in order to promote healthy lifestyles amongst all age groups.