Factors That Influence Children’s Learning

Ask yourself

What do I already know about the student?
What more do I need to know?
How do I find out?

These questions should guide your assessment practices.

There are a number of categories of factors that could influence a child’s learning:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual (Cognitive)
  • Educational
  • Cultural
  • Emotional
  • Social / Behavioural

Indicators for each category are elaborated below.

PHYSICAL

  • age
  • motor skills
  • health
  • gross/fine motor
  • vision
  • visual motor coordination
  • hearing
  • activity level
  • speech & language

INTELLECTUAL (COGNITIVE)

  • language development
  • modality preference
  • acquired cognitive skills:
  • perceptual strengths
  • abilities, aptitudes, stages of development
  • perceptual needs
  • adaptive behaviours:
  • thinking processes:   concrete/abstract
  • coping strategies

EDUCATIONAL

  • strengths and needs
  • school environment
    • organization of time & space
    • teaching style
    • grade expectations
    • classroom structure
    • teaching/learning match
    • sensitivity to needs
    • program(methodology and materials)
    • school history
  • academic achievement
  • existing skills
  • learning/error patterns
  • rate of progress
  • existing knowledge base
  • strategies for learning
  • approach to task
    • organization
    • commitment

CULTURAL

  • customs, attitudes, expectations
  • environment
  • past and present experiences
  • parental attitudes
  • parental expectations
  • English language development

EMOTIONAL:

  • motivation
    • intrinsic
    • extrinsic
  • expectations
  • self-concept
  • risk-taking
  • interests
  • behaviour
  • attitudes
  • psychological development

SOCIAL/BEHAVIOURAL:

  • interpersonal relationships:
  • teacher/student
  • student/student
  • student/community
  • cooperation
  • involvement
    • active
    • passive

When trying to understand which of the factors have contributed to the student’s current state of learning, it is necessary to conference with parents and past teachers, and to examine the student’s past records.

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