Teaching Methods: Differentiated instruction - Teacher
Differentiated instruction is a process to teaching and learning for students of differing abilities . (See the links to learn more about differentiated instruction). .. and Policy at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville. How Differentiated Instruction Strategies Impact Classroom Learning author of What Teachers Need to Know About Differentiated Instruction. King University's online Master of Education in Teacher Leaders degree. One of the core methods of differentiation, differentiation by task, involves setting different tasks for students of different abilities. One way to achieve this may be.
Differentiation is an approach that encourages teachers to respond to relevant differences among individuals while maintaining high expectations for all. It needs to be used together with effective evidence-based teaching methods to minimise learning failure. These methods, when skillfully implemented, actually reduce the need for extensive differentiation as they ensure that, from the start, almost all students understand the concepts, information and skills being taught.
Are some differences not important? I have already mentioned the importance of ability, rate of learning, language skills including English as a second languageliteracy and numeracy. If you ignore those differences in the classroom some students will definitely be disadvantaged and may begin to have learning difficulties.
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Obviously the age of the students is also important because the curriculum needs to be developmentally appropriate. And at times, when you are teaching specific subject matter, gender, ethnicity and cultural background are also important. There are many other differences among students but they do not have any direct impact on academic learning.
They add diversity to a classroom in very positive ways. Unfortunately this idea is still being circulated, even in official guidelines. There is no reliable evidence that learning styles exist, or that teachers can cater for them even if they did. Taking all these factors into account must be very difficult for teachers. It is not easy! Give specific instructions about the tasks groups must perform.
Model and practice routines and procedures for getting into and out of groups. Set a specific time limit for students to complete their group work.
Implement a student learning log for each group they are in. A color-coded one works best for students to keep track and record what they completed in each group. Flexible grouping is a strategy that is developed over a period of time.
To ensure successful grouping and promote maximum learning, it is essential that assessment is frequent, and that students are moved into appropriate groups regularly. To avoid any classroom chaos and disruptions, effective classroom management skills must be set into place.
How do you differentiate instruction in your classroom? Do you use Flexible Grouping? Share with us in comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts. She notes that all students have the opportunity to earn As within their own level of challenge. At the Secondary Level Teachers in middle schools and high schools are also using strategies for differentiating instruction, experts say. Then she groups students who are interested in the same titles, usually about four or five students per group, and teaches them how to function as a literature circle—students learn the roles of discussion directors, connectors students who make connections to things in the real worldillustrators, literary luminaries students who point out great figurative languageand vocabulary enrichers those who identify words that most students might not know.
With each new book, students regroup and jobs rotate, but each group sets its own schedule for discussions and assignments. When Raymond's students come together for whole-class activities, they explore themes common to all of the books, followed by assignments that might require students to create their own short literary work that typifies the genre they have just studied.
To help all his students succeed with research papers, Frescoln provides science texts at several reading levels and uses mixed-ability groupings. Each of five students in a mixed-ability group might research a different cell part by gathering information from books at her own reading level. Then groups split up so that all students with the same cell assignment compare notes and teach one another.
Finally, students return to their original groups so that every member of each group can report to the others and learn about the other cell parts. This approach to differentiation helps motivate all students to push themselves just a little further, he says.
Flexible Grouping as a Differentiated Instruction Strategy
To start everyone off on the same foot, DeLuca uses an introductory lab activity that allows the whole class to compare the differing weights of identical volumes of sand and oil.
The object is to determine whether a ship could carry the same amount of sand as it could oil, and how this manifests the property of density. From this starting point, DeLuca assigns students an Internet activity that explores the causes of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald—but at different levels of synthesis and analysis, depending on student ability.
Homework assignments ask higher-ability students to design cargo boats, grade-level students to float an egg, and below-level students to determine which is more dense: They must perform a water displacement experiment to come up with the correct answer.
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All students complete lab reports that DeLuca evaluates using a rubric. Analytical writing is the most important element of the rubric, but students can earn an A grade as long as they support their conclusions with evidence found in their own particular assignments.
The tests DeLuca gives are also differentiated according to the tiered homework and lab activities. The important thing is for everyone to have a certain degree of challenge. Even though this is an honors class, Bushe finds that there is a wide variance in abilities, so he tries to differentiate instruction according to interest, task, and readiness.
He finds that mock trials offer opportunities for all three modes of differentiation. Dividing his class of 30 into three groups of 10, Bushe gives each group a court case involving a legal concept such as beyond a reasonable doubt.
Students choose whether to be lawyers, witnesses, or defendants—whichever they feel most comfortable with. Every student has at least two roles, because each trial group also serves as the jury for another trial group. To prepare for their roles, students must complete individualized reading and writing assignments, but they all learn the basics of trial by jury.
One factor of Bushe's mock trials that heightens interest is that each jury deliberates in a fishbowl environment—that is, the rest of the class gets to observe the deliberations but may not speak or interfere.
But of course, they can't say anything. But Bushe insists that by differentiating, "you're guaranteeing that more kids will understand what you're doing. In the face of these challenges, how can an administrator encourage teachers to move in this direction? Administrators also need to provide "flexibility of funds" so teachers can use a variety of resources and are not stuck with one textbook. But "the critical factor is [sustained] staff development," Allan emphasizes.
Three years ago, when she started pitching the idea to elementary teachers, McAdamis met with "terrible resistance. When McAdamis broached the idea to middle school teachers, "they almost threw me out," she recalls. The teachers objected, saying that they lacked time, that they were dealing with large class sizes, and that differentiation ran counter to the middle school philosophy.
Differentiated instruction is not a form of tracking, Tomlinson states; it is "intended to be the exact opposite. McAdamis notes that some of the middle school teachers who were initially the biggest resisters have become the biggest supporters. One science teacher was dragged into differentiated instruction "kicking and screaming," she says.
Then the teacher tried a tiered activity and was stunned by the outcome. Principals' attitudes and the amount of support they provide are critical.
In her district, principals have found money to hire substitutes, allowing teachers to make school visits and do peer coaching. Two staff members from each school took the course, then led staff development activities at their respective schools, he says.
At Riverheads, each teacher was asked to create or modify a unit of instruction in keeping with the principles of differentiated instruction. Bateman gave the teachers feedback on their units, then met with them again after they had taught the units. Bateman also helped develop two sample units—one on oceans, one on regions of the United States—that were given to teachers as a guide.
Through creating these sample units, "we learned a tremendous amount," he says.
Similarly, McAdamis has compiled a book of teacher-developed activities and lessons that represent "best practices" in differentiated instruction. A Challenge Worth Meeting No one claims that differentiating instruction is easy. If kids are not in a place where they can learn, they let us know loud and clear," she says.
Teachers are inspired to persevere with differentiated instruction when they see the results, Allan says.