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The Process of Understanding a Learner's Strengths and Challenges

Page history last edited by fran toomey 3 years, 8 months ago



    Understanding a child/student's individual differences goes beyond a checklist of characteristics.


     Understanding individual differences requires an examination and comparison of current models of individual differences in order to choose the most appropriate/informative model for this child in this context.


     Understanding individual differences requires understand that child/student in the view of his/her parents (and siblings).


     Understanding a child requires the child's voice, view of him/her self, in relation to time and context!....through observation and interviews with the child.


     Understanding individual differences requires learning about the child/student in relationship to context, with special emphasis on the classroom/school context.


     Understanding the child/student in context requires tools that both teacher and observer can use to


          ^make multiple observations of the child individually and interacting with the teacher and other students,


          ^examine work samples


          ^examine documents about the child (teacher observation reports, academic records, ....across time and settings.


     Understanding the child requires understanding the teacher's/teachers' view of the child across contexts and over time.


Disclaimer:  This is a work in progress.  It reflects my understanding of this process as of Feb 18, 2019!


Choosing a Model: 

Teachers must make choices about which models and/or which "characteristics" will help them understand and support all learners.



When I began my Ph.D. work in Development and Learning, I looked for those models in the Development literature.  In 1990 I formulated the early version of the model I now use; CARE NOTES.  It is a model I have used along with graduate students to understand the strengths and challenges of individual children in classroom and tutoring contexts.  I continued to refine the model over several years and revised CARE NOTES in 2005, and again in 2017.



CARE NOTES Introduction








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