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reply: Using student interest
Fri May 29, 2015 15:53

I agree that it is useful in using student interests to engage them in learning and have also seen this in action. The first thing you can do to connect with a child is to talk about their favorite thing, and I think it is important, as you mentioned, to know each student not just academically but personally as a teacher to be the most effective. I think if we only use their one interest it can definitely hinder their learning, as well as it being unfair to the rest of the class. As some of the articles mentioned, the interests should be used as a starting point to develop their comprehension and increase their confidence in reading and writing independently because they know background knowledge and have experiences to help them with unfamiliar parts of the text. Once their confidence is higher and they learn skills such as looking words up and using context clues, they will be able to read other things. As teachers, we should make it one of our goals to expand their interests, which will ultimately allow them to learn so much more. I think one practical way to do that is to use "trails" starting at the interests. For example, I also noticed that Edgar likes trains. After practicing with trains, the instructor could move to other modes of transportation, and then roads, and then geography, and keep going to reach a broad number of topics.

  • Using Student Interest - andersenal, Fri May 29 15:44
    One thing I found from each of the videos and articles was that it is really helpful to use the student's interest to aid with literacy instruction. Edgar particularly liked trains and they used that ... more
    • Re: Using Student Interest - Sara Pappas, Mon Jun 1 14:55
      I am 100% an advocator for using student interests as a tool for learning and ultimately the sole tool. However, I understand where you're coming from with your first question. It's kind of like with ... more
    • Student Interest - coxdm, Sat May 30 19:01
      I think that behind all successful learning is getting to know the students you are working with. If you know what they are interested, you can incorporate it into the lessons and the students will... more
    • Student Interest Reply - parsonkl, Sat May 30 15:20
      I feel using interests can be a good starting point to get students excited and involved. However, students should be able to explore areas out of one or two interest areas to learn. I have recently... more
    • Interest - Britt Hatcher, Sat May 30 13:20
      That is one message that I kept seeing throughout the readings in some sort of way, that they learn better when there is something that they are interested in is incorporated in as well. And I think... more
    • Student Interests - carsleymm, Sat May 30 12:25
      In my facebook group I shared a link to a really good article in the New York Times. It is about a father who used his son's obsession with Disney movies to communicate with him. For some reason, the ... more
      • Reply to carsleymm - andersenal, Sat May 30 13:32
        Wow, thanks so much for sharing! That was definitely an interesting read. I loved how this father did not give up hope despite what the professionals were telling him. It's so incredible how he... more
    • Response to andersenal - brownrf, Sat May 30 11:29
      That's one of the things that I found really helpful too! I thought it was interesting how the teacher who worked with Connor used a lot of materials that had to do with transportation. I think that... more
    • Re: Using Student Interest - hinesjd, Fri May 29 17:29
      Excellent point. I hit on something similar to this in my group's discussion. It is great to give students freedom to participate in their own learning by using their interests to facilitate. But at... more
      • using smaller interests - tatem1, Sat May 30 00:30
        This is a great idea! It might even work to use less favorable interests to facilitate learning first and then move on to other smaller interests or the number one interest, if the teacher finds it... more
    • Re: Student Interest - Tracy Nicole Cornacchio, Fri May 29 15:59
      I believe using student interest to drive engagement is a wonderful thing but I have never worked with ASD students so I am not familiar with students only wanting to read about one thing. I can see... more
    • reply: Using student interest - macdonaldke, Fri May 29 15:53
      • Trails - Anonymous, Fri May 29 20:15
        I like what you had to say about how important it is to know a student and their interests, but not to let that hinder their learning experience. Odds are the child already knows a lot about the... more
        • whoops - Sonya Summey, Fri May 29 20:16
          I forgot to put my name in the author section. This was Sonya Summey
      • Trails - Kelsie Fender, Fri May 29 17:39
        When reading the original post I was thinking about how to connect the interest of one child to broader interests and lead them new and exciting topics which may hold their attention. I have never... more
    • Re: Using Student Interest - lavertyse, Fri May 29 15:50
      In response to your question, I think it is possible to hinder a students learning at some point if we focus too much on their interest. I think that if we use it as a stepping stool to get them... more
      • RE: Using Student Interest - hildebranak, Fri May 29 19:43
        I also think it could hinder a student if all you allow to read is something that interests them. I think teachers could use this to gradually guide the students to read other things. Such as the... more
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