Differentiated learning


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Differentiated learning

  1. 1. Differentiated Learning
  2. 2. Different Emphasis If you’ve done this week’s reading, you will notice that this lecture has a different title from the chapter The chapter title is ‘Differentiated Learners’, and the chapter focuses on teachers teaching for a subset of students, which it calls ‘diverse’ or ‘differentiated’ learners But we are all diverse! ‘Diverse’ means ‘different’, and none of us are the same as each other I resist the notion that ‘we’re normal, they’re diverse’
  3. 3. Difference, not deficit While student differences can pose challenges to a teacher, recognising that all students are diverse, not just a subset, changes the perspective As far as possible, student differences should ideally be seen as a set of resources on which the teacher and the other students can draw in constructing learning together In this process, different students will contribute more at different times
  4. 4. Recognition and Distribution You’ll remember the tension Nancy Fraser describes, between recognition and distribution, from last week’s lecture Treating all students as diverse, and their differences as resources, does not mean denying those differences, identities or challenges It does not mean ‘treating all students as though they were the same’ It does mean finding ways to enhance opportunity
  5. 5. Thinking about differences Spend a few moments individually listing as many differences between students as you can think of (there will be chocolate for the longest list!) Now compare your list with the person next to you, Boggle-style, and add any they have that you missed and vice versa Select three particular forms of difference, and with your partner think of ways to use that difference as a resource in teaching the whole class
  6. 6. Students with Disabilities (better language than ‘disabled students’) Some students’ differences will be specific disabilities that are named and identified: the reading outlines some of these Other differences will also make learning more challenging, but not be identified or supported in the same ways Developing specific learning programs and strategies, in collaboration with support services, is part of teaching
  7. 7. Differentiated Instruction This is a strong interest of Education Queensland and was part of the recent state-wide Teaching and Learning audit of all state schools Differentiation of instruction – different learning activities for learners with different needs – was in many cases the weakest dimension on this audit, so the issue is receiving a lot of attention It is sometimes understood to mean ‘streaming’ of classes by ability, but the research evidence shows this is seldom effective
  8. 8. Differentiated Instruction Differentiating instruction can be difficult to manage as a teacher: there are likely not to just be 2 or even 3 groups but many on some dimensions At the same time it’s an impossible demand on a teacher to individualise teaching for all students, all the time It’s also not a fair outcome to require the most able students to spend all their time helping their less able fellow students – although it’s valuable for both sometimes
  9. 9. The Classroom as a LearningCommunity There is no easy approach to differentiating instruction One possible approach is moving away from a model in which the teacher is the centre and provider of all learning experiences toward a model of the classroom as a learning community in which each person bears some responsibility for his/her own learning and the learning of her/his classmates A learning community enhances learner autonomy and is in line with MYS principles and values