How do we factor the variability of students into our instructional methods? All students are different, and yet there are many commonalties from student to student. Should students simply design their own education, an education that theoretically would be tailored to their needs? Should students be left to their own desires and needs, as Rousseau advocated in Emile in the late 1700s and as A. S. Neill advocated in Summerhill in the 1960s? Or are there ideas and methods that all students should simply endure for the good of the social system? We have learned quite a bit about accommodating the variability of students through research into instructional methods and learning styles. If we vary our methods, we have learned, we accommodate a wider range of learning styles than if we used one method consistently. Teaching methods are the complement of content, just as instruction is the complement of curriculum. Technology teachers tend to over-use projects and problems, ignoring the options and opportunities that the balance of teaching methods offers. In this time of global hazards and changes in our lives wrought by technology, it is essential that technology teachers maintain a refined sense of how to teach about controversial and sensitive technological issues. It is essential that technology teachers have a command over values clarification methods as well as demonstration and project methods. Given that technology teaching methods are often research-driven, twenty-two research methods are outlined in this chapter. Forty-one teaching methods are defined and five that are central to technology studies are explained in detail. The chapter concludes with detailed sections on the relationships among instructional methods, personalities, and learning styles.
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