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Differented instruction

By coors1dj Nov 20, 2013 954 Words

Differentiated Instruction
Imagine going to a restaurant and only having one entre on the menu to choose. What if a car dealership only sold one type of car? Suppose Old Navy only had one set of cloths to choose from no matter who was shopping. All of these scenarios seem ridiculous but are similar to what happens in many classrooms today. Teachers often present one form of teaching in a lesson plan for up to 30 students and expect each individual to benefit. This form of teaching falls short of targeting the success of all students, especially for the students whose skills fall above or below average. Differentiated instruction is one way to address the difference between standardized lessons and unique students. Differentiated instruction is also known as differentiated learning and is a philosophy for effective teaching that provides students with different ways to learn content. You only have to walk into a classroom to see the diversity that is in classrooms today. With variables such as socio-economic status, interests, background, academic ability, each student is unique. That being said, teaching students does not fall under the “one size fits all” category, but realizing that students are different and reaching each individual are two different things. Nevertheless, teachers have a responsibility to make school a place where each student can benefit.

There are various reasons why incorporating differentiated instruction in the classroom is a good goal for educators. One reason is due to the fact that it is compatible with what brain research tells us about how students learn the best. Research states three principals that stress the need for differentiation. First, students need to feel emotionally safe in order for learning to take place. Differentiate instruction makes the classroom environment one that provides this security for a variety of students. Students feel safe to volunteer answers without being afraid of being ridiculed for making mistakes. Next research indicates that students have to be challenged to appropriately for learning to take place. Educators that use differentiated instruction keep in mind that curriculum too far beyond or well beneath a student are not going to stimulate them when it comes to learning. For example, gifted student’s intellectual progress is often blocked because they are not challenged enough and become bored. Effective differentiated instruction allows these students to do independent study or online learning which increases motivation, critical thinking skills, and allows the student to have control over their own learning. In order for students to have lasting learning the brain must make meaning of what is being taught. Differentiated instruction classrooms build off of this and focus on key concepts and principals that strive to keep students thinking at a high level and actively take part in their own learning. Lastly, differentiated instruction is compatible with multiple intelligence theory. This theory states that students learn and express their learning in different ways. This theory is spot on and is why differentiated instruction has become such a great tool in the classroom.

There are numerous strategies that fall under differentiated instruction that help students achieve their maximum potential. One that I plan on using in my classroom is simulations and scenarios. These activities are designed to have students working just as experts do in the real world and solve problems as if they were the expert. As a health minor this strategy is perfect for my classroom and allows students to be creative and focus on essential learning. I can teach and simply tell them how to say no to peer pressure, drugs, and tobacco but it is when they are actually put in the situation when they really learn how to do this. Scenarios similar to these situations gives them practice and teach them how to incorporate what they are learning into real life.

Making any classroom differentiated is a complicated task and can make a teacher feel very overwhelmed. The goal of maximizing the potential of each student is worth the effort. Following a few guidelines could help start the process in a manageable way. The first guideline would be to introduce the administration to differentiation. Administrators have a lot to do with what goes on at a school and will notice change in teacher plans and rearranging much of what goes on in the classroom. Nevertheless they have the same goals as you, which are to effectively teach all of the students, and can be a great help if they are on board with what you as the teacher is trying to accomplish. The next guideline would be to introduce the parents to differentiation. Parents are used to school operating in a certain way and are a valuable ally for support. In order to gain this support the parent must acknowledge what the teacher is trying to accomplish so both can work together toward the common goal of maximizing student growth. Lastly teacher’s goals should be realistic. Teachers who are willing to change classrooms to be compatible with differentiated instruction obviously have high standards for their students and themselves. These teachers must be careful to set realistic goals that avoid overload and ensure success for both the students and themselves. It is important not to make day and night changes immediately, but to start small and gain the support of administrators, colleagues, and parents. The process is difficult but if done step by step can be very rewarding to the teacher and especially the students.

Allen, S. (n.d.). Differentiated instruction, curriculum, assessment. Retrieved from http://www.differentiatedinstruction.net/
The Online, T. R. (1999). How to differentiate instruction. Retrieved from http://www.teach- nology.com/tutorials/teaching/differentiate/ Tomlinson, C. (2006). Integrating differentiated intruction by design. Alexandria: Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?

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