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Learning and Learning Difficulties: A Handbook for Teachers
The author, Peter Westwood, aims to show that problems in learning are not all due to weaknesses within students or their lack of motivation. Many learning difficulties are created or exacerbated by environmental, not personal, influences. Factors that have an impact on a student’s learning environment can be readily modified or improved, whereas weaknesses or ‘deficits’ within students are not so easily changed.
Two of the most powerful influences in the learning environment are the school curriculum and approaches to teaching. Westwood argues that many learning problems can be prevented or minimised by matching teaching methods and lesson content to a learner’s current aptitude and prior experience.
- Examines different types of learning across the curriculum and the most effective types of teaching to facilitate these types of learning
- Provides practical suggestions for preventing or overcoming common learning difficulties
- Identifies factors that contribute to common learning problems in school
- Identifies weaknesses or ‘deficits’ of student learning as the possible outcome of learning failure, not the cause
- Provides a sound balance of theory and practical strategies for teachers
Key themes include:
- Maintaining students’ attention
- The importance of explicit teaching and guided practice
- The value of teaching effective task-approach strategies
- The importance of addressing personal and emotional needs while working toward cognitive and academic goals