Differentiated instruction is a process to approach teaching and learning for students with differing abilities in the same class. The intent of differentiating instruction is to maximize each student’s growth and individual success by meeting each student where he or she is assisting in the learning process (Polloway, Patton, and Serna, 2005). It’s an individualized instructional method. It is used to help students with diverse needs learn using a general curriculum.
There are several approaches to using differentiated instruction when teaching learners with cultural or special needs. Every student has different learning styles, behaviors, and interests. It is up to teachers to meet state and district standards when teaching different learners no matter their needs. There are several ways to make sure students meet these standards. Kapusnick and Hauslein (2001) list the most common instructional strategies as acceleration, curriculum compacting, independent study, flexible grouping, independent-learning centers, complex questions, tiered activities, and contracts. Students who show mastery of instructional material through preassessment can learn at their own pace, acceleration. Curriculum compacting condenses learning and allows students to move ahead of material already learned while staying on grade level. During independent study, students progress at their own pace until they master a task by a due date agreed upon by the teacher. Teachers use flexible grouping based on students’ needs, interests, and abilities to allow students with similar capabilities to work together. Independent-learning centers provide students with remediation opportunities by investigating a topic in depth. In a differentiated classroom, the teacher asks complex questions that are open-ended, appeal to higher-order thinking skills, allow adequate wait time for answers (more than the traditional 1-3 seconds), and provide opportunities for peer... [continues]
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