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Analysis of Inclusive Learning Resources
Transcript of Analysis of Inclusive Learning Resources
by Richard Keeley
The learners that used all three of these resources are AS-level Psychology students attending a sixth form college in Solihull. Classes comprise of 25 students between the ages of 16 and 17. This is their first year at the college following their GCSE's. The expectations placed on the learners are somewhat different to what they may have been used to as their is more of an emphasis on self-directed learning and personal responsibility.
"Self- directed learning strongly encourages active learning, develops student autonomy and gives the responsibility for learning to the students"
(Petty; cited in Teaching Today: A Practical Guide; Chapter 34, page 367).
They have all chosen Psychology as one of their topics of study, and therefore motivation levels are generally high. In the class being described here, there is one learner that has dyslexia, and therefore all paper resources need to be printed on yellow paper in an accessible font for full inclusivity. This particular learner has a laptop to work on during each lesson.
The purpose of these revision grids are to indicate to the students the aspects of the module, they need to know in preparation for their AS Psychology exam on Cognitive Psychology. They were used during a revision session on the topic where, in differentiated table groups students were assigned a topic from within the Cognitive Psychology specification and asked to produce a brainstorm of everything that they need to know for that topic. Once the brainstorms had been created on A3 sheets of paper, the groups described their contents to the whole class. Photographs were then taken of each brainstorm and posted on the classes Moodle page for individual reference.
The grids were made available to the students during this lesson in order to support their learning should they wish to use them. They contain a break down of what points they need to revise and include in their brainstorms and/or own notes. The grid contains the entire specification for this module.
By having the revision grid as an optional extra, it allows the students to take responsibility for their own learning, and to privately assess whether it would be useful for them. It incorporates Blooms Taxonomy into an active learning environment as the higher order learners may choose not to use the grid, whilst supporting the needs of lower order thinkers.
Cognitive Revision Grids
This resource is part of another revision activity, for the module of 'Memory'. The aim of the lesson was to prepare the students for the exam, by exposing them to previous exam questions, within the safe environment of the classroom. There are six table groups within this class, and so six previous exam questions are placed in the classroom, one on each table. Due to the individual requirements of these students, the questions were printed on yellow paper in 'Comic Sans' font to allow for full accessibility. The questions were taken from past exam papers which can be found on the AQA website. The variety of questions allowed for all potential topics to be covered within the field of memory in the Cognitive Psychology module.
Each table group was provided with 5 minutes to create an essay plan for the question on their table, without the use of their notes. They were able to work as a group to create the plan. The groups had previously been differentiated by ability so that there was a mix of abilities within each table group.
After 5 minutes, the groups moved clockwise around the room to the next table, where they were tasked with creating another essay plan in the same conditions. This process continued until the groups had been to each of the six tables and were back in their original positions. Then, as a whole class each question was discussed and the individual essay plans altered accordingly.
At the end of this activity, a full 12 mark essay question was presented on the projector screen for the students to write up in full. Unfinished essays were to be completed for homework. In this way the effectiveness of the revision session and learning was able to be assessed.
Memory Consolidation Topic Cards
The Kahoot app is an interactive quiz where students are able to answer questions set by the teacher in a fun and somewhat competitive way. This resource relies on the students having access to a device that is connected to the internet. The teacher logs into the Kahoot website (https://www.getkahoot.com/) via a computer that is linked up to a projector/interactive whiteboard. There is a 'Game Pin' that is available to see on the projector screen. Once the Kahoot app has been downloaded or website has been loaded on the students devices, they enter the 'Game Pin' code in order to join the quiz. They are then able to select their own screen names (thereby allowing for some anonymity should they wish).
Once everyone has entered the quiz, it can start. The multiple choice questions appear on the projector screen, and the students select answer what they believe to be the correct answer on their devices. After each question, not only is the correct answer indicated, but the fastest individuals who answered correctly is shown on screen in a 'leaderboard'. At the end of the quiz, an overall winner is shown onscreen.
This resource is inclusive in the option for anonymity. It also allows less confident learners to engage in the activity without fear of embarrassment. It does however rely heavily on the availability of the internet and connected devices.
The students responded well to this revision exercise, as they enjoy any activity that involves the use of technology. Upon the mention of this activity, the energy levels within the room increased exponentially. Throughout the activity, all learners were engaged. This included those unable to connect to the app, as the questions did provoke some group discussion, highlighting individuals strengths and weaknesses in relation to the module content.
Owing to the nature of the product curriculum model, this Kahoot resource acts as a revision tool for the students to check their learning on key aspects of the module being revised.
In a process curriculum model (such as the BTEC HND Psychology program offered by Oxford College) this resource could be used to ensure that key aspects of the course material have been understood as the course progresses. In the long distance course provided by Oxford College, this resource could be used via an online webinar where students log into the app remotely from wherever they are. In this way, the teacher is able to assess the students learning, which can be difficult to do via long distance.
Whilst using this resource, it was suggested by my critical friend that that the mark scheme for each question be made available on each table in addition to the questions, as an optional extra for the groups. In this way the less able students would be able to gain extra support in their learning.
Future sessions using this resource (or similar resources) will include the mark scheme to each question, printed in the same way that the questions are (i.e. on yellow paper in an accessible font). These mark schemes will be placed in an unsealed envelope next to the question on the table, so that learners are able to decide for themselves whether they would like the extra support, thus adding extra support to their self-directed learning.
In addition, it was suggested that in other classes there are students with mobility issues, and so moving around the class room from table to table would not be appropriate. In this instance it was suggested that instead of the students moving around the room, they simply pass the cards on to the next table, which is what will happen if this resource is used with a class where mobility could be an issue for any or all students.
These revision grids also support a Product curriculum model revision based lesson where students are required to ensure they know the correct information in order to pass an exam. This resource enables each learner to identify any gaps in their learning and correct this as appropriate, to enhance their chances of attaining the best possible grade.
A process curriculum model wouldn't necessarily need to use a revision grid as the focus would be more on the application of the knowledge gained. With this in mind, the grid could be adapted to incorporate scenarios, instead of potential questions.
During the use of this resource, a couple of students did not have access to a device and so were unable to fully participate in the activity, however they were able and willing to share with somebody else. My critical friend suggested after the activity that future sessions using this resource might benefit from a print out of the quiz, enabling the students who are unable to connect for whatever reason to participate in answering the questions, and therefore the assessment aspect of the activity. This is something that I will do when I use this resource again in the future.
Whilst using this resource, my critical friend noted that the blank spaces within the revision grid caused the students some confusion, as they weren't sure why they were blank. The reason they are blank is that it means that they are not required to include that aspect of the content. It was suggested that this be made more clear on the grid for future use.
In order to make this clearer, the blank spaces shall contain the words 'not applicable or 'N/A'. This should then help to make the resource less confusing for the students who use them.
The AS and A level curriculum that is taught at the college represents a product model which mean that this curriculum leads to a desired end result (Sheehan, 1986). The desirable end result here is the qualification gained following exams that are sat at the end of the academic year (with mock exams sat in the Spring term). This particular course is accredited by AQA who provide the specification and exams.
There are very few alternative curriculum models available for the subject of Psychology, however Oxford College provides a course via distance learning, accredited by EDEXCEL (http://www.oxfordcollege.ac/news/learn-about-our-btec-hnd-psychology-course).
This BTEC HND course uses a process curriculum model, which means that some of the teaching methods and resources may be slightly different, or used with a different aim in mind. A process curriculum model enables learners to set their own outcomes according to need. This approach would be inappropriate to use with an AS and A Level syllabus as the outcomes are set by the examining body, (in this case AQA) and the students meet these by sitting exams.
A Humanistic approach to teaching (Rogers, 1951) suggests that a person-centered approach to an individuals learning is needed for effective learning. One of the ways in which this is achieved s through the provision of an open, safe and non-judgmental environment. The Kahoot app supports this approach in the possibility of anonymity participants, thereby removing the potential threat of embarrassment for a student getting the wrong answer. This activity also supports the idea of the teacher being a facilitator of learning, setting the pace of the quiz and making themselves 'available' to the students.
Throughout the A level Psychology course, there is an emphasis placed on the students participating in 'self-directed learning', helping to prepare them for future study; potentially at Degree level in University. Self-directed learning is a core proponent of Humanistic theory in the suggestion of an individuals motivations (Maslow, 1943; cited in Glassman and Hadad, 2004).
The purpose of the Kahoot app in the context being described here is to support the students learning, allowing them to discover which topics might need more focus in their independent study time.
In the context of learning, Maslow does suggest that as long as 'physiological' and 'safety' needs are met, further motivational stages are able to be fulfilled, one of the most important being a sense of 'belonging'. The atmosphere generated in the classroom from this resource enables this need to be met, and as discussed earlier, it is important for the teacher to ensure that no one feels excluded for whatever reason. The next stage of 'self-esteem' needs have the potential to be met through the use of Kahoot. However, it may be difficult for the tutor to praise students who have accessed the app anonymously. It is therefore essential that the teacher knows their learners and is able to assess their progress in other ways if necessary.
In a similar vein to the Kahoot resource, the Memory Consolidation Topic Cards support a Humanistic theory of education and learning, as they encourage a supportive and safe learning environment (Rogers, 1951). The group work that is involved in the activity that uses these cards, enables each member of the group to contribute and support each others learning.
This resource focuses on the learner and what they need in terms of course outcome. In this way a Humanistic stance is supported, as the teachers role is more of a facilitator. Each student is encouraged to develop their own answers individually, but with support from their peers.
Cognitivism also suggests that the teachers role is more facilitative for effective learning to take place based on the active process in which learners construct their learning based on their experiences. The resource described here supports Vygotskys idea of scaffolding learning by using the Zone of Proximal Development (cited in Cohen et al; A Guide To Teaching Practice, 2010).
It is theorised by Cognitivists that each learner has their own internal drive to succeed (much like Maslows theory of self-actualization). There is an assumption made here, that learners have sufficient prior knowledge to use these Topics Cards to maximum effect. This could be a potential problem for lower level learners who may not have enough knowledge in specific topics, however by providing a safe environment and using peer support, they should be encouraged to ask questions where necessary and fill any gaps in their knowledge as appropriate. Future lessons using this tool would make use of mark schemes (as suggested by my critical friend) which would help to address this issue.
Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1971) can be seen to be of use in this resource, as during the group work and discussions, lower level students are able to see how higher level learners answer the questions and work. They are then able to model their learning behaviour on their observations.
This particular resource also supports the concept of independent learning as it allows the students to add as much detail as they feel is necessary, whilst giving some guidance with regards to the essential content.
Hartley (1998) proposed 4 key principle that he said should be considered in the educational environment, one of which being that learning is aided when objectives are clear. This particular resource helps to support the meeting of clear objectives by providing a coherent picture of what information is needed in order to produce the best results.
The lesson in which this resource was a part of made use of Blooms Taxonomy in that the students were required to assess their own learning, highlighting their strengths/weaknesses, and gaps in knowledge. From here, they were then able to gauge their individual level of comprehension and improve upon this. The revision grid resource was a tool that could be utilised to support this comprehension exercise, as well as to provide extra support for the students knowledge. What they had learned could then be applied to an exam essay question on the topic. This was marked by myself, the results fed back to the students, at a later date. At which point they were asked to add any extra points that were pointed out to be missing or alter existing statements that could be improved upon from their answers, as a synthesis/evaluative exercise. This process of reflection and correction is indicative of the learning process outlined by Kolbs (1984) theory of experiential learning.
As with the other resources described here, group work is an integral aspect to how these revision grids are used. Vygotski (cited in Smith, Cowie and Blades,2005) suggested that learning takes place as a result of social interactions, and the process of engaging in activities with more expert individuals is at the heart of learning. The differentiated groups used in this lesson support this theory, with this resource being used to support the learning of lower level students.
Projector Screen View
Students Device Screen View
The Memory Consolidation Topic Cards were used here were a revision tool, enabling he learners to not only recap prior learning, but also to develop their exam skills. Exam skills are an integral part of a Product curriculum model as focus is very much placed on the final grade obtained via an exam.
A process model might be able to use these Topic Cards as a way of checking learning, with less focus being placed on the number of marks available per question, and with more focus being placed on the application of the learning.
The Tomlinson report uses a definition of inclusivity as what is the greatest fit between learning provision and individual learning need. To this end, the resources described here are aimed at supporting the learners attainment of their individual goals within the AS level Psychology course.
This reports suggests the provision of opportunity for students to assess, discuss and manage their own learning. As will be discussed further here, the sixth form college where these resources were used places an emphasis on self-directed learning and personal responsibility for the students to achieve their own objectives, within a supportive and encouraging learning environment. All of the resources described here aim to support learners in a way that helps them to assess and improve their learning.
It is also suggested by the report that institutions and teachers use learning technology. As you will see, the Kahoot resource is a reflection of this use and its success is discussed.
All of the resources used (both here as well as in general practice) are reviewed after each use and improved upon based on a process of evaluation and feedback, as part of standard teaching practice. This helps to ensure continued inclusivity, which is a prominent recommendation of the Tomlinson report.
Tomlinson Report (1996)
Bandura, A (1971). Social Learning Theory. Stanford: General Learning Corporation.
Cohen, L; Manion, L; Morrison, K; Wyse, D (2010). A Guide to Teaching Practice. 5th ed. Abingdon: Routledge. 182-184.
Glassman, W; Hadad, M (2004). Approaches to Psychology. Maidenhead: Open University Press. 272-282.
Hartley, J. (1998) Learning and Studying. A research perspective, London: Routledge.
Oxford College. (2015). BTEC HND Psychology. Available: http://www.oxfordcollege.ac/news/learn-about-our-btec-hnd-psychology-course. Last accessed 7/2/2015.
Petty, G (2009). Teaching Today: A Practical Guide. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes. p.367
Kahoot!. (2014). Create Kahoot!. Available: http://www.getkahoot.com. Last accessed 7/2/2015.
Kahoot!. (2014). Kahoot App. Available: https://www.kahoot.it/#/. Last accessed 7/2/2015.
Kolb, D (1984). Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. 36-37
Rogers, C (1951). Client-Centered Therapy. London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
Sheehan, J. (1986). Curriculum models: product versus process. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 11 (1), 671-678.
Smith, P; Cowie, H; Blades, M (2005). Understanding Children’s Development. 4th ed. Oxford: Blackwell. 492-495.
Tomlinson, J. (1996). The report of the Further Education Funding Council Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities Committee . Inclusive FE.