Differentiated Instruction

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Strategies for differentiating instruction in the regular classroom

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Differentiated Instruction

  1. 1. Differentiated Instruction By Kevin Neuenswander 5101 Learning Theories and Instruction Baker University
  2. 2. The biggest mistake of past centuries in teaching has been to treat all children as if they were variants of the same individual and thus to feel justified in teaching them all the same subjects in the same ways. Howard Gardner-Phi Delta Kappan-March, 1994 – pg. 564
  3. 3. Differentiation is responsive teaching rather than one-size-fits-all teaching.
  4. 4. <ul><li>“ It means teachers proactively plan varied approaches to what students need to learn, how they will learn it, and/or how they will show what they have learned in order to increase the likelihood that each student will learn as much as he or she can, as efficiently as possible.” </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is differentiation? “ Differentiation is classroom practice that looks eyeball to eyeball with the reality that kids differ, and the most effective teachers do whatever it takes to hook the whole range of kids on learning.” Tomlinson (2001)
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ Differentiation is making sure that the right students get the right learning tasks at the right time. Once you have a sense of what each student holds as ‘given’ or ‘known’ & what he/she needs in order to learn, differentiation is no longer an option; it is an obvious response.” </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximize Student Learning Lorna M. Earl Corwin Press, Inc. – 2003 – pp. 86-87 </li></ul>
  7. 7. Differentiation as “Universal Design” <ul><li>At the beginning of the planning process, the teacher asks, “What supports and adaptations should I build into the lesson to address learning needs of particular students that will likely help others as well?” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Good Differentiation is NOT… <ul><li>… low level vs. high level work </li></ul><ul><li>… like the “bowling Theory” of teaching Shoot straight down the middle & hit as many as you can. </li></ul><ul><li>… individualize instruction with separate lesson plans for each learner. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Guiding Principle: <ul><li>Differentiation is a PHILOSOPY, not a “Bag of Tricks,” </li></ul>
  10. 10. Think about it…….. <ul><li>How do these definitions mesh with yours? </li></ul><ul><li>What else would you add to the definitions as a result of your evolving understandings? </li></ul><ul><li>What questions or ideas do you need to toss around at this point? </li></ul>
  11. 11. A Continuum of Differentiated Instruction <ul><li>NO DIFFERENTIATION </li></ul><ul><li> Class works as a whole on </li></ul><ul><li>most materials, exercises, </li></ul><ul><li>projects. </li></ul><ul><li> Group pacing </li></ul><ul><li> Group grading standards. </li></ul><ul><li> Implied or stated philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>that all of the students need </li></ul><ul><li>same teaching /learning </li></ul><ul><li>Etc… </li></ul>MICRO DIFFERENTIATION  Adjusting questions in discussion  Encouraging individuals to take an assignment further  Implied variations in grading experiences  Students pick own work groups  If students finish work early, they can read, do puzzles, etc.  Occasional exceptions to standard pacing. May not need to show work, do all math problems.  Occasional adjustments in grading to reflect student effort and/or ability Etc… MACRO DIFFERENTIATION  Articulated philosophy of student differences.  Planned assessment/ compacting  Variable pacing is a given  Moving furniture  Planned variation content/input  Planned variation in process/sense-making  Planned variation in product/output  Consistent use of flexible groups  Individual goal setting, assessment (grading)  Grading to reflect individual growth/process  Mentoring Etc…  More reactive  More dependent on student response  More fixed  More closed  More proactive  More dependent on teacher coaching  More fluid  More open C. Tomlinson, 1993
  12. 12. What About Grading?
  13. 13. Two Views of Assessment <ul><li>Assessment is for: </li></ul><ul><li>◘ Gatekeeping </li></ul><ul><li>◘ Decision-Making </li></ul><ul><li>◘ Right Answers </li></ul><ul><li>◘ Comparison to other students </li></ul><ul><li>◘ Use for specific tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment is for: </li></ul><ul><li>◘ Guiding instruction </li></ul><ul><li>◘ Gathering Information </li></ul><ul><li>◘ Comparison to a specific task </li></ul><ul><li>◘ Use over time </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>“ Ideally, grading should give us information about both relative standing and student growth.” </li></ul>
  15. 15. Marking Quantity (1) <ul><li>Marking everything is not necessary from an education point of view. Many teachers claim they must mark everything so that students will do the work. But, as has been indicated, this does not provide good information to students and, according to many experiments, damages motivation (Kohn, 1993) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The more feedback helps students view a grade as their own responsibility and as amenable to sustained and consistent effort, the more they will see school achievement as having an internal locus and being stable and controllable” (Brookhard, 1994, p. 294). A much better approach, thus is for teachers to check students’ work regularly without always providing marks. </li></ul>How to Grade for Learners: Linking Grades to Standards, 2 nd Ed. Ken O’Connor, 2002, 1999 Pearson Education, Inc., p. 116
  16. 16. Marking Quantity (2) <ul><li>Some work can simply be recorded as done or not done. </li></ul><ul><li>Some work-for example, first drafts in creative writing-can be skimmed for a general overall impression rather than examined for the detail that is necessary to arrive at a score. </li></ul><ul><li>Some work may be assessed by focusing on one or two key characteristics rather than everything. Strengths and weaknesses in essential aspects can be identified clearly in this approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Some work may be assessed by peers, which gives students important practice in identifying strengths and weaknesses while appropriately reducing a teacher’s marking burden. </li></ul>How to Grade for Learners: Linking Grades to Standards, 2 nd Ed. Ken O’Connor, 2002, 1999 Pearson Education, Inc., p. 116
  17. 17. Examples of Modifying Classroom Curriculum Based on Learner Need (continues) The teacher & students develop goals for behavior & plans for decreasing impulsivity. Both positive & negative consequences of behaviors are described in the goal statements. Students & teacher use a checklist each day to record successes & difficulties as well as the consequence of student choices. (Modification of learning environment based on student affect.) Two students in the class have difficulty with impulsive behavior. The teacher develops boxes of biographies of people from a range of cultures, both gender, & a variety of jobs & hobbies. In each box are books that span a four- or five – year reading range. Students first select the topic or interest box from which they would like to work and then the teacher helps them pick a book that is a close match for their reading levels. (Modification of content based on student interest & readiness.) Students in 3 rd grade are studying biography. Student reading levels vary widely & their interests do as well. The teacher uses examples from sports, business, medicine, technology, & other fields to illustrate how formulas are used. She also guides students in interviewing people engaged in a range of jobs & hobbies to find out how they use formulas in their work & in sharing those examples with others in the class. (Modification of content & product based on student interest.) Students in a pre-algebra class have varied interests & often have difficulty understanding why they are learning what they are learning in math. The teacher uses a spelling procedure that involves all students in spelling at the same time, but on varied levels of complexity of words required. (Modification of content based on student readiness.) A spelling pre-assessment indicates that students in a 6 th grade class range from 2 nd grade level to beyond high school level. Modification of Classroom Curriculum in Response to Student Need Student Need
  18. 18. Examples of Modifying Classroom Curriculum Based on Learner Need The teacher posts lists of key words for each unit on the wall. She also supports students in first webbing their ideas for writing, then tape recording the ideas, & then writing the ideas. Students may get help in writing or editing from peers, specialists when they are scheduled into the classroom, & the teacher at specified times. (Modification of process & learning environment based on student readiness.) Five students in class have great difficulty with writing – some because of learning problems & some because they are ESL students. The teacher uses rubrics that specify key sills on which students need to work as well as describing what ascending proficiency looks like for each skill. Each student works with the teacher to set proficiency goals for products based on the student’s current work. Grading is based on both the student’s growth & grade-level benchmarks. (Modification of product based on student readiness.) Students in Art I vary greatly in skill & experience with art as they enter the class. The teacher develops a procedure he calls “learning x 3.” Periodically during a unit, he asks students to explain what’s essential in what they are learning. They may write their explanation, provide it verbally, or do a demonstration as an explanation. There are criteria for quality that span all three approaches. He groups the students in threes so that each triad contains all three approaches to the explanation. As students share, he monitors the groups & selects one student to represent each approach before the whole class. (Modifications of process based on learning profile.) Students in the science class seem to learn best through different means. The teacher establishes several areas of the room where students may work when they have time. There are a variety of tasks in each area based on both what students need to work on & what they most enjoy working on. Sometimes students select where to work. Sometimes the teacher asks students to work in a particular area & on a particular task. (Modification of learning environment & process based on student readiness & interest.) Students often finish their work at different times Modification of Classroom Curriculum in Response to Student Need Student Need
  19. 19. References <ul><li>Tomlinson, Carol Ann(2003) Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom : Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development </li></ul><ul><li>Beasley Jennifer G. (9-22-2005) Differentiating Instruction: Challenge & Support for Every Learner Inservice to Harvey County Special Education Cooperative </li></ul>

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