Professional Development Plan
Carol (Stepp) Wahl
Dr. Dianne Fernandez
June 11, 2012
Differentiating instruction is a valuable instructional management and delivery tool, which can be used to assist teachers in meeting the needs of the diverse populations of students which they now find in their classrooms. In using these strategies, a teacher may use pre-assessments to determine the learning styles, interests and readiness of the students, prior to the introduction of a lesson or unit. After developing a learner profile, the teacher may then differentiate according to the readiness of the student, by process of delivery, and by the product which the student may produce to demonstrate understanding, The process of effectively applying differentiated instruction requires some training on the part of school administrators and teachers. Application of differentiated strategies can be intimidating and overwhelming for teachers and administrators who have no prior training or experience in the process. To get the most out of their training teachers and administrators should develop an individualized training plan, which follows a timeline leading to effective application, and which meets the training needs of each, based on their understanding of differentiated instruction and its implementation. Determining Need
In order to determine the individual’s need for training, the staff should take a pre- assessment which measures the individuals knowledge and understanding of differentiated instruction, their own learning styles and preferred modes of knowledge demonstration, as well as interest and multiple intelligence inventories. The data collected can be then used to develop a plan of instruction, and ultimately, a detailed timeline for acquiring training and implementation of differentiated instructional strategies in the classroom. A well researched and planned timeline can facilitate a smooth transition to differentiated instruction for both students and teacher. Teacher Pre-Assessment
Teachers who are aware of their own interests, learning styles and multiple intelligences, are better able to relate to their students and to develop relevant, engaging activities and product choices for their students. Knowing what they know about differentiated instruction and what they need to know can help them plan for their own professional development.
My own professional development in differentiated instruction is quite extensive, and includes pre-service training in individualized instruction, plus trainor of trainors workshops for differentiated instruction, as well as providing support for teachers who were beginning to implement DI strategies in their classrooms, and experience using DI in my own science and language arts classrooms. Trainor of trainors workshops comprise some 30 contact hours in preparation for training teachers to implement DI strategies, with the intention of using DI on a school-wide basis. Personal experience in my classroom includes grouping students by readiness, some experience in scaffolding lessons, individualizing by process, and by product.
Inventories in learning styles, interests and presentation modalities have shown that I learn best by reading information and doing hands-on activities. My interests lie in the scientific realm, animals, health, history, and technology, and my preferred modes of demonstrating knowledge retention and understanding are to write a paper, build something, create a multi-media presentation, or take an essay-type test.
Reflections on implementation of my own DI skills have revealed that I need further training and experience include: 1) Scaffolding lessons to meet the skills levels, or readiness of my students; 2) Grouping students effectively; 3) Developing student learning profiles; 4) Facilitating group dynamics; and 5) further work on developing an orderly-flexible learning...