I think one step you can take is to partner with students in understanding how they learn so that you are both on the same page from the get-go. A few questions I might ask at the beginning of the year are:
- “What are memorable moments you have from school in the past?”
- “What’s something from class last year that you remember enjoying?”
- “What’s something from class last year that you remember not enjoying?”
- “When did you find it challenging to participate in class?”
For some students, it might be tough for answer certain questions on a learning styles inventory (“ex:I learn best when…”) since it may be hard for them to make the connection between their past experiences and defining who they are now. In these case, questions that jog their memory (like the ones above) might shed more light on how they learn and lead to greater understanding for them. You can use this data to inform the ways you make learning student-centered (ex: giving them choices, when to provide them with support and when to let them run with it, sharing their opinion about how their learning is applied in the classroom and beyond).