Please read this poem carefully and then I’ll get back to you.
A singular learner in my class was always bored and he always snored,
I, later, realised he couldn’t read the words that were written on the board.
And then I was to teach a student who never looked at me,
I knew she was hiding nothing; it was due to her ethnicity.
A student’s performance went down,
Just because her mother was out of town.
A mathematics pupil who’d not solve problems of words,
Number problems, however, he would solve them undeterred.
And then there was one of the learners who preferred to study in silence,
Give him the quiet he wants and watch his magic, his brilliance.
There was another angel in my class who couldn’t tell his Bs from Ds,
But when you explore all his passion, it’s vaster and deeper than sea.
There are various benefits, my friend, of knowing your learners well,
You can give them a positive habitat and take them out of their shell.
You can use different ways to teach them by knowing your learners well,
And make them all strong humans, with others they’ll know how to gel.
By knowing your learners’ readiness, you can make them ready to learn more,
When they realise you know them so deeply, learning is all they will yearn for.
Welcome back! As you can see in the poem, there are various needs of our learners. The last six lines also express the benefits of identifying our learners' needs and knowing them well.
So, how do we identify the diverse needs of our learners?
To begin with, you need to be aware of the following six dimensions for learners' need identification; that’s because their needs are likely to be related to one or a combination of these dimensions.
- Biological traits - gender, age, physical health, disabilities and development, motor coordination and skills, and learning disabilities that have been diagnosed
- Cultural and social influencers -sense of strength and stability, the way students receive and interpret experiences, the economic status, religion, ethnicity, race, cultural identity, language they speak, values and gender roles
- Emotional factors - family—its structure, history, or births and deaths, additions and subtractions in it, then the attitude of the students, their disposition, self-worth and their standing with their peers
- Academic performance - the data that provides information on the student’s concrete to abstract cognition, reading, writing proficiency, attention span, categorisation and sequencing skills, and logical thinking skills
- Learning preferences - learners’ interests, their aptitude inclinations, styles of learning, and group and environmental influences
- Special Education Needs - communication skills and interaction skills; cognitive and learning abilities; mental, emotional and social factors; finally, sensory and physical development.
Now please read the poem again. The first twelve lines are examples of learners’ needs related to each of the dimensions given above. Once you understand these dimensions, all you need to do is to… Know Your Learner.
To explore the topic further, feel free to check out our course on Child Development, Learning Styles and Learning Taxonomies.