How to Teach to a Diverse Classroom of Students

Each year teachers are faced with the daunting task of teaching
to a classroom of 20-30 individual students, each with their own
learning styles, interests, and abilities. Providing optimal
learning for such a diverse group can seem overwhelming. But,
there is a simple approach that can be used which will enable
all students to succeed, and that approach is simply using
variety and choice. Not only does this approach address the
multiple learning styles of students, but it also aides in making
them independent learners.

While the classroom still needs to have structure (routines,
rules, procedures), providing variety within that structured
environment can aide in providing optimal learning for all
students. Using a variety of instructional approaches such as
lectures, PowerPoint presentations, inquiry-based instruction,
hands-on experiments, project/problem-based learning, or
computer aided instruction, not only addresses the various
learning styles of the students in the classroom, but it can help
learners become more flexible in their learning. Most learners
do have a preferred learning style, however this does not mean
they are strictly dependent on that style to learn. They are
also comfortable with and able to learn from several other styles
as well. Exposing students to a wide variety of learning styles
will enable them to become more flexible learners.

It is also beneficial to vary the input devices used and the
resources made available in the classroom. Children have a wide
variety of preferred learning devices, therefore making as many
available as possible provides for this diversity. For example,
when presenting information use audio (songs, speeches,
interviews, etc.), video, books, posters, hands-on
manipulatives, food, and smells. Technology has made available
a wide range of resources, such as PowerPoint presentations,
live video feeds, chats, and communication. PowerPoint
presentations are a great way to present information using a
mixture of audio, video, animations (movement), and text. These
presentations can also be made available to the students via the
computer for them to review at their own pace. The internet/
computers also offer interactive learning activities that combine
movement, visuals, and sounds, such as virtual science
experiments. These allow students to conduct experiments
never before thought possible due to danger or lack of equipment.
Virtual experiments can be found at .

Pre-exposure to material also aides in learning. The more
familiar students are with a subject the easier it is for new
learning to occur. Therefore, providing students with a
variety of pre-exposure materials can better prepare them for
new learning units. For example, monthly calendars that list
the upcoming themes, a classroom website with links to various
websites related to upcoming themes, books, magazines, maps,
posters, computer software, and manipulatives can be provided
for students to browse at their leisure. Providing a variety of
materials takes into consideration the learning preferences of
all students.

Novelty can be used to gain and keep students