I wasn’t brilliant at physics at secondary school. I managed in class, though, with the help of my peers which you could call social learning. Pre-internet, that social network was confined to the real world – and occasional phone calls. Homework wasn’t generally a topic of conversation but I don’t think I had anything like the 2-3 hours school children can have today. On one occasion, my homework included a question about light refraction and where a fish would appear to be to an observer from the surface as opposed to where it actually was. I couldn’t answer, so I just wrote “Don’t know” and handed it in.
Teachers in mainstream education in English-speaking countries increasingly have to plan lessons to help integrate students whose first language isn’t English. That’s quite a challenge and we’ve asked Nina Berler, who teaches in the US to tell us about some of the tools she uses. It wasn’t so long ago that teachers of mainstream classes were instructed to “teach to the middle.” Of course, when it comes to learning vocabulary, that methodology can’t possibly benefit students on either end of the spectrum. Fortunately, in this era of digital learning, teachers have tools to boost vocabulary and reduce gaps in their classes.