The committed educator should constantly develop and adapt the learning strategies focused on specific literacy needs, especially for students who struggle with the assigned educational program. As a Vocal Music teacher at elementary school, I aim to deliver the proper instructions, including singing, playing instruments, improvising and composing music, assessing music performances, and connecting music to other disciplines. Considering the rapid changes within a music landscape, it is crucial to find the strategies that can define the dramatic shift in this industry and gradually lay the groundwork for contemporary music training. Therefore, I chose three well-studied instructional strategies to teach vocal and music in my class for struggling students, such as the KWL method, exit slips, and directed reading-thinking activity.
The first teaching method, KWL, represents the idea of what the student knows, what the student wants to know, and what has the student learned. Such an analysis reflects on the process of scientific research concerning any investigation. To be more specific, a teacher needs to arrange these three key questions into the columns and then encourage a discussion regarding the next subject of study. As such, the students’ responses serve as the guide to the subsequent study. Based on the existing examination of the KWL, teachers commonly confirmed that the technique is beneficial and flexible for introducing a new body of knowledge for students.
Summing up, the KWL strategy implies an identification of the subject of study and introducing a student to the topic under discussion through reading aloud, visual aids, or other informational sources. After that, students should record their responses regarding their present knowledge within the examined area and further educational anticipations. The standard KWL chart enables a discussion about what the students have learned from their studies. Thus, the analyzed strategy helps teachers to evaluate students’ academic performance and assist them in better understanding the topic of study as well. In terms of literacy focus, the KWL strategy is conducted prior to reading and enhances comprehension and vocabulary competencies.
The second teaching method involves the concept of exit slips, which is a fast and easy approach for students to maintain the overall engagement with the class even as it ends. Implementation of the writing activity in the brief formats at the end of the lesson might help students think through the obtained knowledge and, therefore, prepare their minds for continuing education on the topic. More specifically, the strategy requires students to spend some time with their thoughts and reflect on the examined matter of study and the lesson in general. XX
The core principle of this method is not based upon grading the students’ responses but rather promoting their thinking process as the most critical aspect of successful educational outcomes. It is recommended to adhere to the three categories of exit slips based on three different prompts accordingly. They include the prompts that document learning, prompts that point out the process of learning, and, finally, prompts that assess the efficiency of the instruction. With that said, the exit slips can allow educators to assess the efficiency of their teaching program and its implementation, as well as take actions concerning modification and elaborating the information delivery. For instance, a teacher might provide the students with the response papers when they leave the class. Furthermore, students improve their writing competency with exit slips when educators use them on a regular basis in the classroom.
The third instructional strategy implies the directed reading-thinking activity (DR-TA), which is a frequently used method to focus more on the critical thinking skills of the students. The directed reading-thinking activity is generally perceived as the instructional technique that engages students to make predictions and check them during and after the reading session. One of the key advantages of this strategy is that it significantly helps struggling students to explain the purpose of the reading. Moreover, this method also serves as the groundwork for self-monitoring since a teacher pauses throughout the text to ask students a few questions regarding this reading. Therefore, such a form of a shared reading activity engages both students and a teacher to examine and read a particular text, as well as comprehend its main purpose. From the individual perspective of the instructional practice, the DR-TA might consist of different steps. However, the general sequence for this teaching approach is usually the following:
- Introducing the background knowledge
- Making predictions
- Reading a section of the text and then pausing at predetermined places in the text
- Asking students to check and revise their predictions
- After completing the reading, students’ predictions are used as the discussion tool.
With that said, the directed reading-thinking activity is a useful approach to analyze the assigned reading task and content while emphasizing the strategies good readers apply for a better understanding of the text. To sum up, the methods discussed here introduce the eased teaching and learning process for both teachers and struggling students, specifically with the reading assignments. Most importantly, the educator must also investigate the critical causes of reading comprehension problems to help struggling students improve their academic attainment. Hence, this will allow one to find the adequate teaching method and learning styles to benefit both students and a teacher.