A key component for her was “choice”. Choice enables learners to adapt assignments to their own learning style, and helps teachers assess students’ knowledge and deep understanding about a subject, rather than getting potentially superficial snapshots that may be hampered by tools that do not allow some kinds of learners to “shine”.
As a recently-returned-to-the-classroom teacher, I find myself increasingly concerned with student motivation, and I have discovered that choice is an excellent motivator in a variety of contexts.
Take my literacy program, for example, based on the Daily Five structure, Ramesh (not his real name) chose – for a large portion of the year – to read car magazines like Auto Trader and the like. Although I had times when I wondered if I ought to be "making" him read "real" books, the truth is that allowing Ramesh, a grade 3 student, to select his own preferred reading material meant he stayed focused for up 30 minutes at a time rather than requiring constant redirection to read things he was not interested in and had not choosen. And he seemed to really enjoy "reading" the many pictures and captions Auto Trader had to offer. Cars are definitely an affinity for him, and he did struggle with reading, so these car magazines were a perfect match.
The proof is in the pudding: As of March, Ramesh began reading beginner chapter books! Of his own volition! He loves to read!
Another way I integrate choice into my classroom is in the way I allow my students to