Saturday, 22 March 2014

Peter Westwood. Teaching and Learning Difficulties

Reviewed by Arifin
Tulungagung, 22 March 2014

By Peter Westwood
This book has been written as a companion volume to my text Learning and learning difficulties (2004). Here, Peter has attempted to explore in detail the many different teaching approaches available for use, describing their potential advantages and disadvantages. In particular, hes has identified aspects of teaching approaches that may directly or indirectly cause students to have learning problems. He concurs completely with Farkota’s (2005) belief that many cases of learning difficulty can be traced to inappropriate or insufficient teaching, rather than to deficiencies in the students. 

It has not been his intention to recommend one particular method as superior to all others for achieving all types of educational objective. Purdie and Ellis (2005) are right in suggesting
that no single teaching method can possibly be appropriate for bringing about all types of learning. A teaching approach should be selected because of its goodness of fit for the type of learning involved in a lesson and for the learning characteristics of the students in that class. 

In this book, teaching approaches have been categorised as belonging somewhere on a continuum between ‘teacher-directedness’ and ‘student-centredness’ in their emphasis. But as he points out later, such categories are misleading, because most approaches contain elements of both teacher direction and student-centredness. Lessons are rarely wholly teacher-centred or wholly student-centred, and effective teaching requires that an appropriate balance be achieved between the two.

An unusual feature of this book is that he has included coverage of learning difficulties and teaching methods in relation not only to basic academic skills (literacy and numeracy) but also to specific subject areas such as science, social studies, history, geography and environmental education. Potential causes of learning difficulty are discussed within the context of these subjects. 

He has deliberately used as his primary source international literature on curriculum, learning difficulties and teaching methods, particularly from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the US. It has always irritated me greatly over the years that professional literature in the field of learning difficulties tends to be very parochial in its perspective, dealing often with minutiae of local policies and practices in a particular country but failing to see the bigger picture in which key issues in teaching and learning are identical across all countries. He hopes this text helps delineate the bigger picture by taking a cross-curricular and international perspective.

In this text he has introduced many references and resources that can be located online. This
has been done to help any reader who wishes to investigate issues in greater detail but does not have easy access to an academic library. A disadvantage may be that certain websites may eventually disappear; for that he apologizes in advance. 

1 Curriculum, teaching methods and learning difficulties
   Curriculum as a source of difficulty
   Teaching methods as a source of difficulty
   Students’ views of good teaching
   The ‘effective teacher’ model 
   Teacher expertise 
   Meeting individual needs 
   Adaptive teaching
   Useful resources 
2 Teacher-centred approaches to instruction 
   Expository approach 
   Interactive whole-class teaching 
   Direct instruction 
   Precision teaching 
   Mastery learning 
   Computer-based learning 
   Multisensory teaching methods 
   Useful resources 
3 Student-centred approaches to learning 
   Discovery learning 
   Resource-based learning 
   Project-based learning 
   Problem-based learning 
   Task-based learning 
   Cognitive strategy training 
   Cognitive apprenticeship 
   Situated learning 
   Anchored instruction
   Useful resources 
4 Classroom interactions for learning and teaching 
   Establishing attention 
   Same-age peer tutoring and cross-age tutoring 
   Cooperative learning 
   Reciprocal teaching 
   Useful resources 
5 Teaching basic academic skills: literacy 
   Teaching students to read 
   Beginning to read 
   Phonic skills 
   Building sight vocabulary 
   Learning difficulties in writing  
   Approaches to the teaching of writing 
   Strategy training  
   Word processors 
   Teaching spelling 
   Useful resources 
6 Teaching basic academic skills: mathematics 
   Goals and content of mathematics education 
   Teaching and learning in basic mathematics  
   Contemporary approaches 
   Is the pendulum swinging again?  
   Effective teaching of basic mathematics 
   Poor-quality teaching 
   Difficulties associated with learning basic mathematics 
   Strategy training for problem-solving 
   Using appropriate methods to match instructional aims 
   Useful resources 
7 Teaching science 
   Science for all 
   Approaches to teaching and learning 
   Science in special schools 
   Anticipating areas of difficulty 
   Attention and concentration problems 
   Memory and recall problems
   Stages of cognitive development 
   Language difficulties 
   Literacy problems  
   Numeracy problems 
   Social and behavioural problems 
   Weak self-efficacy
   Poor self-management 
   Poor-quality instruction 
   Useful resources 
8 Teaching social studies, history, geography and environmental education 
   Social studies and related subjects: aims and purposes  
   Environmental education 
   Approaches to teaching and learning 
   Poor-quality teaching 
   Using group discussion effectively 
   The challenge of mixed-ability classes 
   Anticipating areas of difficulty 
   Difficulties with literacy and language 
   Cognitive and affective development 
   Numeracy problems 
   Problems associated with field trips 
   Useful resources 
9 Support for learning 
   Providing support in schools 
   Support teachers 
   In-class support 
   The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) 
   Teacher assistance teams (TATs) 
   Collaborative consultation  
   Useful resources 

Think this book helpful for you? Read more, download it here!


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