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How to......vary assignments

Right, class, I want you to write an essay

Not again, sir. Can't we do something different?

Like what?

Like Miss Wright sets us, Sir. Activities appropriate to our personal learning styles, Sir.

Come again?

Take Crazy Mike in 3C sir. He's a kinaesthetic learner. So Mrs Wright sets him active tasks - collecting things, or problem-solving orienteering tasks, so he climbs up walls instead of driving her up them.

You intrigue me - go on

Then there are intrapersonal learners: shy, loners, reflective. They prefer independent projects and research. Or the opposite, interpersonal: sociable, helpful, team players who like to interact. They like team sports, discussions and group work.

Like Deanna in 4A, popular girl, swarming with boys.

She aspires to be an entertainer, Sir. Or a politician. Like me.

Mathematical learners like games, following rules, looking for patterns.

They enjoy experiments and calculations. Musical learners like multi-media projects and performance, while linguistic learners express themselves through language, giving speeches and writing.

Iessays?

Even essays, on occasions, are suitable for future journalists and English teachers. Maybe that's why you like them, Sir?

Indeed... Finally, visual learners appreciate colour and balance. They learn best from graphical things and like expressing themselves using charts and maps.

And your conclusion?

A class project could use our variety of skills. Or a choice now and again of acting out, writing, drawing, designing or charting. It might appeal more than an essay - and we might actually learn something. With respect, Sir Duncan Grey is author of 100+ Essential Lists for Teachers and Getting the Buggers to Learn (Continuum)

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