How Learning Best Occurs
- Project-Based Learning: Learning occurs best when students have the opportunities to interact with each other and grapple with difficult concepts as a team. Group projects can bring out the voice of silent students and capitalize on the strengths of all students, and can connect subject matter to problem solving in real world situations.
- Engagement: Learning occurs best when students are actively engaged in the learning process.
- Safety: Learning in elementary school occurs best when children feel safe and nurtured in the school environment.
- Individual Attention: Learning in elementary school occurs best when teachers recognize student strengths and levels of understanding and tailor instruction to their needs.
- Relevance: Learning occurs best when students understand the relevance of material taught, are having fun, are engaged, and enjoy coming to school.
Instructional Methods and Strategies
New LA Elementary will employ a variety of instructional approaches and teaching methodologies. We believe that there is no one right way for teachers to teach and students to learn. We do feel strongly that students learn best when they are engaged and can experience their learning opportunities directly and collectively. The three major strategies that we will employ are Project Based Learning, Inquiry Based Teaching and Cooperative Learning.
In project-based learning, teachers design projects where students work in teams to explore real-world problems and create presentations to share what they have learned. The projects are standards-based, and the teacher serves as facilitator. Project-based learning engages students by starting with the concrete and solving hands-on, real-world problems. It has been shown that such problem-solving tasks are a great motivator for students. Students are motivated by challenges and solving problems. Project-based learning gives students a chance to mimic the behavior of scientists, making learning fun and exciting.
Inquiry-Based Teaching is the art of creating situations in which students take the role of scientists. In these situations, students take the initiative to observe and question phenomena; pose explanations of what they see; devise and conduct tests to support or contradict their theories; analyze data; draw conclusions from experimental data; design and build models; or any combination of these.
Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. Cooperative learning methods are extensively researched, and under certain well-specified conditions they are known to substantially improve student achievement in most subjects and grade levels.
Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. Students work through the assignment until all group members successfully understand and complete the task. Cooperative learning allows students to connect with others to achieve a common objective in learning development.