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Teaching Strategies
For I-CANS Theme Stages

This collection of classroom activities will assist you in going through the theme process with your students. Several activities are listed under each step of the theme process: Theme Selection, Exploration, Research, the Project. and Evaluation and Planning. Means of integrating assessment into instruction are covered in a separate document.

Basic skills are integrated within each activity. Most activities can be used to explore any content of interest to the students and/or with content that meets particular program goals. Activities are carried out in pairs or small groups. Many can be altered for individualized instruction.

The following are some things helpful for you to reflect on before beginning the theme process:

LEARNING PREFERENCES
Often, students learn new information relying on mainly one modality: by hearing it, seeing it or doing something hands-on with it.

Because the way they were taught did not agree with the way that they learned, many students dropped out of school. It is helpful to begin a class quarter, or several week session with activities which will orient students to their own particular learning preference. With an understanding of their learning preference, students can begin seeking accommodations to make the learning experience work for them, and feel empowered in knowing that their way is in a viable way to learn just as valid as any other way. In addition, teachers can plan instruction using students' preferred styles and teach students how to use their non-dominant style.

The activities that are included were designed to accommodate a variety of learning preferences.

TRANSITION INTO THE ABE CLASSROOM
Adult learners bring to any educational setting a wide variety of experiences, interests and concerns. By acknowledging students' interests, needs and concerns before beginning instruction, affective barriers to learning are likely to decrease.

Adult learners need to feel comfortable and empowered in their classroom. Instructors can provide a classroom orientation. They can explain to students their teaching methodology and the reasoning behind it. They can give students and idea and negotiate with students on issues of classroom dynamics and scheduling. Students should be given an opportunity to get to know each other, to voice their needs and to create goals for the class as well as for themselves.

COLLABORATION
Most of the activities in this guide require that students collaborate with one another in order to reach a desired end. By incorporating collaborative activities, students learn the skills discussed at length in the SCANS report: interpersonal, negotiation, and teamwork skills. It is often desirable for the instructor to directly model those skills. Collaborative activities are the means to bettering these more affective skills.

 
THEME PROCESS STEPS AND SKILLS INTEGRATION
Stages
Emergent skills
Other skills which can be addressed
1. Theme Selection

Identify problems

Learn from others

Think covergently and divergently

Use critical, creative and intuitive evaluation skills

Express ideas and supply details

Negotiate an issue

Respect differences in point of view, life styles and values

Develop relationship skills

Understand the concept of conflict and strategies for handling

Reading and writing enabling skills


2. Exploration

Think covergently and divergently

Generate ideas about the causes of problems

Learn from and with other people

Organize information

Identify solutions to problems

Analyze the components of a process/ issue

Organize time and materials

Identify problems

Understand the concept of teamwork, courtesy and cooperation

Be an effective and flexible team member


3. Research

Find and use expert, peer and written resources

Identify solutions

Draw conclusions and make predictions

Organize and process diverse kinds of information in meaningful ways

Organize and outline information in writing

Look up information

Read and interpret signs, symbols and labels

Create and fill out forms

Interpret and generate tables, charts and graphs

Read different formats

Use resources for personal growth and awareness


4. Create a Project

Write descriptions and reports

Choose appropriate solutions

Accept appropriate criticism and praise

Demonstrate effective inter-team communication

Present information clearly

Take appropriate risks

Learn from and with other people

Analyze the components of a process, procedure or system

Use resources for personal growth and awareness

Write effective letters


5. Evaluate and Plan

Evaluate the solutions

Modify the solution as needed

Identify and assess roles or rules of behavior contributing to effectiveness

Assess their leadership skills and identify areas for improvement

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