Enhancing Student Learning, Accommodating Pedagogical Style: A Vygotskian Approach

Dr Jacqueline Kemp
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The White House Conference on "No Child Left Behind" (2004) assessment of the national report card for children in the United States implies that educators must develop a teaching strategy to address the learning preferences of every student to maximize academic success. Current research indicates that in order to achieve this task, teachers will need to raise their expectations, identify with diverse cultures, and value the culture's language (Kunjufu, 2002; Kuykendall, 2004, Macedo and Bartolome, 1999). A possible method to achieve this goal as suggested by bell hooks (1994) involves educators becoming engaged with students beyond the dispensing of information for the purpose of regurgitation without critical thinking. It appears that teachers must adjust their pedagogical style so that "no child is left behind".

This research was designed to assess whether accommodating pedagogical style would enhance student learning. Participants were 24 students out of 29 enrolled in a 200-level psychology class at a small, Midwestern, liberal arts college; nine of the 24 students had a prior class with the professor. It was hypothesized that at least 70% of the subjects would receive a "B" grade or better.

To measure this hypothesis, participants' academic baseline was assessed with consistent assistance given to enhance achievement (Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development). Whenever the student was confronted with a problem, the professor gave guidance to help the student think critically; also, assistance was withdrawn when it was not needed (Scaffolding).

Results indicated that 96% of the participants received a "B" grade or better; of the 29 students, one received an Incomplete, three received a "C", and one received a "B". All five of these students were not participants in the study. These findings suggest that if pedagogical style is accommodated, students' grades and classroom performance will be enhanced.

Keywords: Enhancing Student Learning, Accommodating Pedagogical Style, Pedagogical Style, Vygotskian Approach
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Enhancing Student Learning, Accommodating Pedagogical Style

Dr Jacqueline Kemp

Asst. Prof. of Psychology, Department of Social Sciences, McKendree College

Ref: L05P0444