March 21, 2011
Post-secondary classes are becoming more academically diverse today regionally and globally. Instructors are becoming more aware of diversity and must proactively differentiate approaches that would allow students to study what they are interested in at their own pace and in an independent manner. The difference between differentiated and traditional instruction is students would be in control of their learning and more “responsive” to instruction rather than “one-size-fits-all” teaching. Instructors plan effective lessons for students to “express what they have learned in order to increase the likelihood” (Tomlinson, 2003, p. 151) based on their gender, learning styles, physical capabilities, learning acquisition abilities, and linguistics/cultural backgrounds. Four approaches to differentiate instructions can occur by varying contents, processes, products, and manipulating environments. These steps would include students’ preferred modes and therefore, create effective learning environment and help students promote improved achievements. Instructors have to adopt strategies to see what contents their students need to know or already know such as providing pretests or observing their knowledge skills of the topic. If the students demonstrate understanding of the subject can proceed with tasks independently without listening or reading about the topic. The students who do not know the topic would work with students with better knowledge and pick up faster. Instructors need to know what type of students to be taught and modify contents in order to maximize their learning experiences. Students would need to participate in activities preferable to their learning styles to explore and process concepts effectively. Providing alternative methods to modify “ideas embedded within the concept” (Theroux, 2004, para. 11) such as graphic organizers, maps, or charts. Differentiating the product requires varying challenges for students to “demonstrate mastery of the concepts (Theroux, 2004, para. 12). Students with advanced thinking skills would be producing more work that requires more complexity than students with lower skills to create effective learning experience for students with varied learning abilities. Students in a manipulated environment would experience various instructional methods to accompany their learning styles. Instructors design differentiated instructions to motivate students with varied learning preferences such as having students work independently, in small groups, and large groups. According to Norlund (2003), instructors must utilize all available resources to support learning experience, as students would learn more effectively if the environment offers learning support. The post-secondary instructor teaches Business and Technology class and already has a lesson plan for “The Workplace Team” (Rease, 2001). The plan is very clear, however, is not a differentiated instruction, as it does not benefit students who vary in ability levels, learning styles, and cultural/linguistics backgrounds. The instructor decides to modify by including four steps to accompany diverse learners. The lesson summary is to “learn how to work successfully with others. Collaborate on ideas and create a successful project” (Rease, 2001, p. 1), which includes six objectives: 1) Identify workplace teams, 2) Determine characteristics of successful teams, 3) Learn communication strategies, 4) Identify workplace teams, 5) Determine characteristics of successful teams, and 6) Learn communication strategies. The instructions include three strategies such as first is have students view a 30-minute video regarding workplace teams. Second is students to make notes of techniques they use while participating in teamwork and third is to participate in-group discussions of techniques used in video. The instructor can...