Everyone has heard that there are multiple types of learners: visual, kinesthetic, auditory and tactile come to mind. Each of these learning styles requires a slightly different approach to retaining information. Educators are often encouraged to consider each of these types when creating a lesson and find a way to incorporate each style.
But what about when it comes to completing assignments? Just as students learn in different ways, they all have different interests that propel them through their daily lives. Some students enjoy socializing, some enjoy writing, some enjoy creating art, while still others enjoy technical tasks such as coding or solving difficult math problems. It is just as important to keep students’ interests in mind when creating assignments as it is to consider their learning styles when delivering lessons.
Some students may struggle through English classes simply because they find the task of writing persuasive essays a bore. They may understand and enjoy the content covered in class but find themselves unable to complete assignments to the satisfaction of their teacher simply because they are not interested in the task.
For this reason, it is important to create assignments that allow students to choose how they wish to express their knowledge of the information covered in class. Instead of always requiring students to write a traditional essay or book report, consider allowing them to choose from a few options. While there are many ways to approach an assignment, allowing students to choose a method that interests them will encourage them to put more effort into the assignment and ultimately they will learn more from doing so.
A few alternatives to a traditional written essay include:
- Creating a video
- Creating a photo collage
- Choreographing a dance
- Writing a play
- Writing a song
- Writing a poem
- Creating a lesson plan
- Writing a news article
- Writing a letter
- Creating an image
- Creating a sculpture
- Creating a graphic novel or comic book
- Creating a website or webpage
- Drawing a picture
- Making a painting
- Giving a speech to the class
- Create a test or quiz on the subject
When given the option to decide how they complete an assignment, some students may even choose to write an essay both because that is what they are most comfortable doing and because it is their preferred method of sharing knowledge. For some of the ideas listed above, it may be prudent to require students to write a paragraph explaining their vision for their project and how it covers the topic assigned.
When allowing students to choose their own method of completing an assignment, be sure to include a rubric so that everyone involved knows what the expectations are from the beginning.
When students care about the assignments they are completing it will show in their work. Meet students half way and encourage them to tie lessons into the things they care about outside of class. Try this approach on one assignment and see the difference it can make in the final products produced by students.
About The Author:
Megan Veschio is the marketing coordinator at Inventive Technology where she blogs about technology uses in education.