Playing to Students’ Strengths. A framework for giving students choice in demonstrating their understanding of course content. Differentiated instruction is a wonderful strategy but with a class of ESE students it is difficult to use without an assistant to help. Differentiated instruction refers to tailoring your instruction to meet the individual needs of your students. Students with the lowest grades sat in the front row beside his desk. Designing good curriculum starts with identifying the essential Understandings — the concepts, principles, or big ideas of the unit topic. Differentiated instruction is not a single strategy,  but rather an approach to instruction that incorporates a variety of strategies. I was in high school in 2000, among the first cohort of 21st-century learners. Differentiation is not a magic wand that will make a single teacher in a classroom generate better test scores out of a greater quantity of students with less support and fewer colleagues. ©2020 Editorial Projects in Education, Inc. Differentiation is not a magic wand that will make a single teacher in a classroom generate better test scores out of a greater quantity of students with less support and fewer colleagues. If the basic assignment itself is far too easy for an advanced learner, having a chance to answer an additional complex question is not an adequate challenge. Differentiation is not supposed to equal remediation, however. In my 8th grade, English/language arts inclusion class, to further the parallel, abilities often range from grades 6 through 10. Student-Centered. At times, whole-class instruction is important and effective. Differentiated instruction is NOT "individualized instruction." Tiers. Understandings that are meaningful, intriguing, and thought provoking allow students to s… Page 12: Classroom Implementation. Differentiated instruction, also known as differentiated learning, is a teaching philosophy that considers the needs of all students, even if they’re in the same (virtual) classroom. It is not an even trade for a classroom assistant. EdWeek invited readers—and its staffers—to summarize this frightening, depressing, infuriating year in only six words. Mr. Shelton learns that differentiated instruction is an approach whereby teachers adjust their curriculum and instruction to maximize the learning of all students: average learners, English language learners, struggling students, students with learning disabilities, and gifted and talented students. Source: Adapted from How to Differentiate Instruction in Academically Diverse Classrooms, 3rd Edition, by Carol Ann Tomlinson, Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Understandings that are meaningful, intriguing, and thought provoking allow students to s… Differentiation is commonly used in “heterogeneous grouping”—an educational strategy in which students of different abilities, learning needs, and levels of academic achievement are grouped together. The idea was to create a different, customized lesson each day for each of the 30-plus students in a single classroom. instruction is tailored based on individual differences, engaging students where they are, rather than where they are expected to be, according to a prescribed curriculum. Now is the moment for educators to focus inward and repair classroom inequities, writes the CEO of Baltimore's public schools. Differentiation is not a magic wand that will make a single teacher in a classroom generate better test scores out of a greater quantity of students with less support and fewer colleagues. Although Mr. Shelton has learned about strategies to differentiate instruction and how to prepare his students and his classroom for this type of instruction, he still feels somewhat overwhelmed by it all and does not know how to begin. Classroom teaching is a mix of whole-class, group and individual instruction. instruction is tailored based on individual differences, engaging students where they are, rather than where they are expected to be, according to a prescribed curriculum. Here’s a surprise, though: teachers who differentiate instruction are quick to point out that, if anything, they now exert more leadership in their classrooms, not less. There is not an intervention available that I will not implement for one of my 8th grade students, if needed. Differentiating instruction isn’t easy, but teachers and professional learning facilitators can work together to overcome the obstacles. What does differentiated instruction look like in the classroom? Differentiating Instruction: It’s Not as Hard as You Think provides an introduction to differentiation in instruction. Differentiated instruction is a framework for teachers to use to adjust their instruction and curriculum based on student’s abilities and learning needs. In a differentiated classroom, the goal is to have students work consistently with a wide variety of peers and with tasks thoughtfully designed not only to draw on the strengths of all members of a group but also to shore up those students’ areas of need. Differentiation is the educational practice of modifying or adapting instruction, school materials, subject content, class projects, and assessment methods to better meet the needs of diverse learners. Differentiated Instruction. Not to mention that it is very hard to juggle homeschooling my own children and designing professional learning for those I serve. Differentiated instruction does not change WHAT is taught; it changes HOW it is taught. In the middle schools where I have taught, differentiated instruction is understood in multiple ways. The digital age has resulted in a treasure trove of interventions and techniques, and differentiation is an aggregation of some of the best iterations of small-group instruction. Although Mr. Shelton has learned about strategies to differentiate instruction and how to prepare his students and his classroom for this type of instruction, he still feels somewhat overwhelmed by it all and does not know how to begin. What differentiated instruction means. High-quality curriculum means planning with the end in mind. Inservice is the official blog of ASCD. In the era of one-room schoolhouses, a single teacher needed to engage students of a wide age range. Teachers can differentiate content, process, and/or product for students (Tomlinson, 1999). An international nonprofit education association, ASCD is dedicated to providing the resources that empower educators to support the success of each learner. Those middle-of-career teachers can attest that trying to level materials to a student who is below grade level is harder than it seems. Let's take a look at them! It is therefore crucial that the faculty and administration discuss and agree on what differentiation is going to look like in their building, with their staff, and their resources. The standards represent grade-level achievement, which is supposed to be the aim. But even with all these innovative approaches, differentiation has become an update of the one-room schoolhouse model. It should be noted that this presentation is only intended to be a brief overview of this encompassing topic. Differentiated instruction allows us to zero in more closely on individual needs. 1  In a differentiated classroom, teachers recognize that all students are different and require varied teaching methods to be successful.   In a differentiated classroom, teachers recognize that all students are different and require varied teaching methods to be successful. Follow the Education Week Opinion section on Twitter. Here's what they said. Playing to Students’ Strengths. Given the expectation that each student needed to have a different reading assignment, for example, it didn’t take long for teachers to become exhausted. Students work in a variety of group configurations, as well as independently. There are definitely some pros and cons of differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction is a blend of whole-class, group, and individual instruction. Differentiated instruction does not change WHAT is taught; it changes HOW it is taught. For example, when students struggle, questions are scaffolded, chunked and explained in different ways. No matter what you call it, differentiated instruction is at the heart of everything that highly effective teachers do. Teachers modify their instructional Page 12: Classroom Implementation. But when I put that seating arrangement into practice during an Of Mice and Men unit, one group labeled themselves “the Lennie group,” after Steinbeck’s unforgettable character with an intellectual disability. At times, whole-class instruction is important and effective. Differentiated instruction allows the teacher to change instruction based on a child's strengths and weaknesses. Differentiated instruction is when a lesson is tailored to meet more than one academic level. By Lisa Westman. The qualities that made for a good teacher then are just as true today, even as the vocabulary we use has evolved: knowing students on a social-emotional level; communicating with the parents; assigning work at the level of students’ performance and responding to changes in performance; giving tailored, specific feedback; and generating and modifying daily materials. There are definitely some pros and cons of differentiated instruction. A framework for giving students choice in demonstrating their understanding of course content. ... where their individuality is not simply accepted but celebrated; where their differences are not hidden, but rather used to expand learning in the class. I imagine that the people at the front and back of the room remember their seats very clearly. Our memories of undifferentiated classrooms probably include the bluebird, cardinal, and buzzard reading groups. Differentiated instruction, also known as differentiated learning, is a teaching philosophy that considers the needs of all students, even if they’re in the same (virtual) classroom. Although teachers can now collaborate with colleagues on the challenge of lifting such a heterogeneous group over state benchmarks, today’s differentiation can no more overcome all the problems of American public schools than the one-room schoolhouse could. For teachers and administrators, a useful definition of differentiated instruction is “adapting content, process, or product” according to a specific student’s “readiness, interest, and learning profile.” It can be first that of as a matter of contrast–‘differences.’ By Lisa Westman. Not all students are alike. They simply observed the teacher’s instruction. While such approaches play a role in addressing learner variance, they are examples of “micro-differentiation” or “tailoring,” and are often just not enough to adequately address significant learning issues. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff. ... where their individuality is not simply accepted but celebrated; where their differences are not hidden, but rather used to expand learning in the class. Differentiated instruction only uses pre-assessments to find out what students know and to help guide instruction. Submitted by Joan Risner (not verified) on April 5, 2015 - 6:18am It is not reading support. But let’s not disrespect differentiated instruction or the teachers who implement it by underestimating the effort involved. Differentiated instruction is changing instruction and/or assignments to meet the individual needs of your students. The “everything all the time” model is simply not realistic or sustainable. Student-Centered. Each student requires one on one instruction. There are students whose experiences outside the classroom weigh negatively on their ability to concentrate or complete work. Advantages of differentiated instruction include: 1. Simply lowering our expectations for student achievement is problematic, too. This content is provided by our sponsor. Differentiated instruction allows students to show what they know in different ways. Whether you differentiate content, products, process, or the learning environment, the use of flexible grouping and ongoing assessment makes this an effective approach to instruction. Differentiated Instruction. The teacher uses a variety of instructional strategies to help target instruction to students’ needs. Not all students are alike. DigitalVision Vectors/Getty and Laura Baker/Education Week. 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