Different types of learning environments

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Different types of learning environments
9
Thu, 01-03-2013 - 9:16pm

In an effort to generate some interesting discussions, I thought it might be interesting to discuss different learning environments.  In my research, I've noticed there are a few different approaches to teaching gifted children in particular.

1) "Enrichment" - in our school system, "enrichment" is really popular.  Apparently enrichments means to provide more worksheets or assignments to the same concept being taught so the child spends the appropriate amount of time on a subject.  The additional works is at the same cognitive level as the regular classroom work (i.e. not the same concept but a greater challenge). 

2) Accelerated pace - same subject material.  Same amount of work.  Faster pace. 

3) Expansion - My understanding is that this one takes the same concept and presents the concept in a variety of different ways.  For example, 3*7 is taught as rote, then taught as 3+3+3+3+3+3+3, then taught with a manipulative in groups of 3 7 times, then shown as 3 squares next to each other in 7 rows, etc.

4) Deep dive - A concept is taught once.  Work is provided until the concept is learned, then the complexity of the concept is explored to the child's ability regardless of grade level.

Am I missing anything?  In what types of environments have you found the different styles?  Pros/cons?  Other thoughts?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005
Fri, 01-04-2013 - 4:36pm

My son's G&T class seems to be a combination of enrichment and expansion, mostly.  They wind up accelerated in some areas, because they do move on once a topic has been beaten to death for the entire class.  I think they are mid-3rd grade math textbook in the 2nd grade.

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc248/gwennyc/b6yfcl.png<A href="http://s218.photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Fri, 01-04-2013 - 7:38pm

LOL Gwen.  I had wondered how expansion helps a child who learns by concept instead of worksheets and is bored in a classroom.  Your comment "...once a topic has been beaten to death..."  summed it up quite nicely.  Grin.

Karen

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005
Sat, 01-05-2013 - 5:09pm

What their method mostly does is force kids to repeat material in learning modes that aren't their style.  I suppose that's mind stretching in a way, but it tends to annoy or frustrate the kids.  I know that my fine motor impaired kid would rather skip the arts and crafts renditions of social studies and science topics, and get his from the textbook.

Gwen

Gwen

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc248/gwennyc/b6yfcl.png<A href="http://s218.photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Sun, 01-06-2013 - 3:56pm

My small amount of contact with the K-7 part of our local public school suggests that this is often what happens here too. It starts out with a lovely appreciation of different learning styles and Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences, and an effort to honour learning styles often not well-served by traditional schooling approaches. I think that's all great. And I also think that once in a while it's useful for kids to stretch themselves into areas and approaches that are not their natural inclination. For instance, my verbally-intelligent eldest had to do a visual 3D project for 11th-grade Canadian history and it was definitely an awkward way to communicate the information she wanted to present and not a natural fit for her. It stretched her to do it. Though it didn't help her learn the history content, it did help her learn how to communicate ideas with people who have primarily a visual-spatial learning style themselves.

But yes, subjected to this day in and day out at the K-7 level I think that the end result for my kids would be  beating a dead horse nine different ways.

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Mon, 01-07-2013 - 1:57pm

Hmmm - I think Miranda raised some interesting points about exposure to learning styles outside of one's comfort zone.  My impression with expansion is the belief that learning something 9 different ways helps to improve the understanding of the task - not just the mechanics of the task.  My son gets this in reading at his current school.  He is accelerated one year, but can read (and understand) about 3 years ahead and moving forward at a rapid rate.  Instead of questions such as name the character and describe the story, he has to then interpret the emotions and relate the book to his life in some way.  They also have to draw the beginning, middle, and end.  Plus whatever discussions they have in class.  I consider this part good as retelling (not comprehending) is one of his weaker areas.  But he is still assigned homework to read the book 3 times each night for a week.  Drives him crazy as he has a photographic memory and can recite the book after the first read. That and the book/material is so far below his interest level.  From what I can see as a con with the expansion is exactly as Gwen pointed out - once the kids get it, they get it and are ready to move on.  Interesting takes. 

The only place I've seen deep-dives is in a homeschool environment.  I've heard that some schools try to accomplish this with cluster studies.  If it is your learning style that seems to work well.  The con is if there is a topic your child does not master then it impacts every aspect of their schooling for that segment.

Our experience with enrichment is a disappointment.  I thought enrichment would bring in more depth to a topic, but here it is just more work.  I'm not sure why adminstrators believe more work equals better learning.  The workforce has figured out that they want employees who work smarter (efficiently) - not harder (working oneself to death without accomplishing anything).  Anyone seeing a disconnect here?

My concept of the accelerated pace (beyond 1 year that you would find in a school) would be something along the lines of an online learning program at which the child could go as fast as they needed to go.  This seems like it would be a huge advantage as it takes out the social misfit part of the equation.  My concern about this particular style is the depth.  If one is going lightning fast foward, can one apply the knowledge appropriately? 

It also appears some of these styles are more common in the elementary grades, but not necessarily so at the higher grades (middle and high school).  How do the focus of the styles change?

Just rambling thoughts.

Interesting conversation.

Karen

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2013
Mon, 01-21-2013 - 1:35pm

My kid is only in kindy, but I've been reading books about this stuff and researching online.  If my son makes it into the gifted program (attention deficit, motor restlessness/hyperactivity) I wanted to know of course what he might do in there.  Another parent friend of mine whose son was in the program in same school district said all they do is one hour a week in a different classroom, basically, extra homework.  I plan to ask the school counselor about this as my friend's son is older and a few years have passed and I want to find out what they do now, if it is the same or different.  If their accelerated program is just a bunch of seatwork, which my son already has problems sitting still and doing, then that is pointless.  There are online curriculum enrichment programs out there though that I would definitely consider in lieu of the seatwork-based program.  Have any of you had your child(ren) do enrichment online?

Blessings, Michelle

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005
Tue, 01-22-2013 - 4:27pm

My son's school provides all students with accounts in online math games sites.  They can explore topics at their own rate there.  The teachers keep track of what the kids are doing on the sites, so they know what material they are learning or have mastered.  They don't seem to differentiate as much in other subjects.  They stop assessing reading at a certain degree above grade level, for example, which doesn't touch what my son is reading for leisure. 

Gwen

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc248/gwennyc/b6yfcl.png<A href="http://s218.photobucket

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2013
Sun, 02-10-2013 - 7:49pm
I work in online tutoring, which most kids love because it is like a video game. Just to say, I agree that one needs to understand the learning styles of their children. There are at least 5 learning styles not to mention whether they learn better independently or in groups. Even if they are in school, use their learning style for homework. It keeps them from getting bored with the work and even can get them excited about learning. If you want to learn more about online tutoring that is more than just for failing children, here is a demo that I found to be very interesting and a good representation of the field www.tutorfi.com/demo.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Mon, 02-18-2013 - 6:00pm

My sons' current class-language immersion grade 5- has a general classroom philosphy is expansion and deep dive, although I don't hear those words there. Most of that, however, applies to sciences, second language and maybe a bit of social studies. Granted, there are only 19 kids and they are all fairly high ability and some very curious boys. (Sadly, the girls have decided that since 5 of the boys are professed "math lovers" that math is a boy thing. uuugggg).  It doesn't work across the board, because there is the minimum curriculum, and then groups of kids who decide to look into things more. If they aren't self directed or friends with someone who is, they stick to the regular stuff.

The GIPP (like a GIEP but "Program" rather than "Education") that was offered to my sons was simply more of the same, except with specific set goals in additional areas set for the kids.  Those additional goals could not be "working ahead of curriculum", which kind of made it feel pointless.  My DD's GIPP is so broad I'm not sure it is useful at all, except that it is mandatory for her class.

I keep hearing about "enrichment" but not at this school. It is usually in the context of additional subject areas not within the curriculum. Is my impression incorrect?