A new generation of pupils entered your classroom.
I don’t mean that a new group of students walked in after summer holidays.
We must realize that we have to deal with a complete different kind of learners.
For them is learning just playing and they consider school as a meeting place with their mates, rather than a learning place. They are looking for ‘fun’ and ‘kicks’.
This new generation is called the E – generation, they use the mouse and the joystick like we use the pencil and ballpoint.
They use the remote control to switch between different kinds of interesting topics without any problem because they have the skill of ‘multi scanning’, the skill to adapt much information from different sources at one time.
Teachers complain about this and tell each other that students nowadays have only a short attention.
The new generation educate themselves with Sesame Street, Play Station and “The Age of Empire”.
They write an SMS in a compressed language instead of writing an exquisite letter.
They are used to have intensive conversation by using ’chat rooms’.
By the way, they are able to do a lot of these things at one time. This attitude is called the skill of ‘multi tasking’.
But teachers mostly prefer to complain about this demonstration of non concentration instead of recognizing new capabilities of the multi tasking.
The new generation has a new style of learning but in many situations the teachers stick to the good old style of selling their intellectual products. It has been proved to be a good style of teaching in last century so it must be good for this century too.
In Dalton we promote the development of self reliance.
Stimulating to work independently means that we stick closer to the student’s needs and that they learn to search for solutions themselves. We want them to be active and it is a nice coincidence that students have that same feeling.
They learn to help each other and to learn from each other.
They learn to take responsibilities.
They learn to formulate real questions.
The new generation of students doesn’t want to sit down and listen to the verbal violence of the teachers.
They want to try themselves. They want to be active learners and hate to be forced in the role of silent audience.
Teachers have to discover the different learning styles of students.
Since Howard Gardner showed us the bigger spectrum of the intelligence, teachers must focus on the different intelligences as one of the aspects of differentiation.
And because the verbal linguistic intelligence is the priority of a minority, the teacher has to use more teaching aids than only verbal instruction.
Verbal instruction has only value and is effective when it is short.
Very important is the ‘block period’ or delayed attention. Teachers must learn to step back direct after instruction, instead of walking around to give individual help.
The effect of this strategy is that students will not listen to the instruction and wait for the individual help.
Dalton gives children the chance to develop their self reliance. Teachers must stimulate the independent learning. They are not always the leader of a process, but in many cases the coach.
It is important to realize that students have different learning styles. Give them the chance to match with their best way of learning.
When the basic needs for education are fulfilled we reach the level of other conditions for personalized learning: a clear organization / class management, structured co-operation between students and organizing differentiation in content and instructional design.