A resource is any learning aid available to supplement teaching strategies. These range from materials such as books, handout, games, worksheets to audio visual aids like videos, overhead projectors, tape recorders and so on. Other useful resources include objects, samples and models- real life items- that can be brought into the classroom to augment teaching. Trips and outside events can be used to introduce students to the real world . However one really important resource is the students themselves. They come to the classroom with range of skills, know-how and different cultures and their knowledge and past experiences provides a great resource for classroom learning.
From the large selection of resources available it is crucial to select a variety of interesting and appropriate resources which support the lesson objectives. One must be careful to use different resources that supports all learning styles of students Below I review some of the resources I have used with my entry 3 literacy students who I taught at Westminister Kingsway college last term and my Entry 2 literacy students who I now teach at Harrow College. The entry 2 students are enrolled with MIND and are all to some extent have mental health problems.
Worksheets /Handouts Worksheets are inexpensive to produce. They can be adapted and developed to meet the lesson objective. During the job skills topic that I did with my entry 3 students last term I used a number of worksheets from . I scanned OCRed and enlarged text on a number of occasions as sometimes the page was too crowded or the text too small. The handouts could also be adapted to provide a set of differtiated worksheets to meet the needs of different students. I adapted one worksheet to include more spelling and grammar mistakes for the more able students. Handouts are extremely useful as they also provide an aide memoire for students.
However, one must guard against overuse and of giving the student too much paper which may confuse them. Another important point to bear in mind is copyright issues if copying material from books and also to ensure that a wide variety of materials is used where different cultures are valued and recognised. In general as Susan Wallace says ‘handouts must be appropriate to the situation, subject matter and student abilities’. Wallace S 2001,p100.
I have found that students of all learning styles make good use of worksheets although they are more suited kinaesthetic and visual learners, auditory learners benefit from the discussion around the handout. It is a good idea to display information visually with images where appropriate. As Petty says ‘for many purposes visual information is more effective. Research shows that information enters our brain in the following way….87% by eyes 9%by ears and 4% by other senses’ (Petty G2001 p 315) On some occasions, the students have use the worksheets in groups first discussing and deciding on the correct answers between them before individually filling in the sheets meeting all learning style.
Overhead Projector OHP is a useful resource and there was one in the classroom with my entry 3 students which I used on some occasions. The cost of transparencies are reasonable and they can be reused. The OHP also has the advantage that you can face the class whiles using it thus enabling better classroom management and eye contact with the class.
I have used the OHP on a couple of occasions to sum up the main points of a piece of work as in the ‘Ten top tips for filling out application forms’ . This emphasised, summarised and reinforced the work the students had been doing on filling out forms. It is necessary to test the OHP before the students arrive. On one occasion it took me quite a while and I needed to get some help from a teacher before I could get the OHP to focus properly. Another thing I learnt was to use very large size fonts as on one occasions I recognise the font was a little small for students at the back of the class to focus properly.
After that occasion, any overheads I produced I used at least size 20 font and sometimes larger. I also tried not to put too much text on the acetate and to take note if Myself or the project were obscuring the views of some of the students! The OHP can be a safety hazard with trailing flexes as the plugs can be some distance from the OHP itself. It is important to try to make the environment as safe as possible. I also discovered that it is a good idea to make a handout from the overhead as one the occasion when I didn’t the students asked for one which I then had photocopied. Another important point I noted with printing onto transparency from the computer was that it was important to get the right setting, the correct acetate and the correct side. It takes a lot of fiddling about at first.
Whiteboard This is a significant resource available in all the classroom at Westminister Kingsway whiteboard is used. I used it a lot for brainstorms, writing down key point, spelling etc. It is important to have several whiteboard markers so if one runs out there are more available and to use the correct type of markers. Using coloured pens to highlight grammar or spelling mistakes is also quite a good idea which I have not as yet utilised fully but intend to use this technique more. The difficulties I have found with the whiteboard are trying to write clearly and in a straight line which was a bit difficult to master. I also have to remember not to talk to the board but to face my students and it is a good idea to look over your shoulder now and then to aid classroom management.