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#253 new enhancement

Differentiated Instruction - Teacher Preparation

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No Child Left Behind legislation and state commitments to educational standards challenge today's teachers to teach a wide spectrum of students with differing backgrounds, interests and abilities in the same classroom. The process of differentiated instruction provides a systematic way of thinking about how to handle the difficulties such a heterogeneous group presents. As a teacher, some of your students will, no doubt, be very close to meeting the expected outcomes when classes begin for the year. Others will seem so far away that you will be wondering how in the world they can possibly make it. The typical approach, "teaching to the middle," will fail both the most gifted and the most challenged. They are all in your class, and you are responsible for each of them.

This responsibility gives rise to new freedom and opportunity. In this series of articles I will address five aspects of applying differentiated instruction so that you can successfully navigate the waters. This article speaks to the most important element in the entire system and Masters in Principal Preparation: you, the teacher. How can you possibly not only manage, but embrace the challenge of such a diverse class?

By first recognizing that with challenge comes opportunity. In the present climate, the opportunity you have for professional development and growth is outstanding.

Differentiating your instruction requires you to re-examine and Masters in Principal Preparation

Re-organize the curriculum content from a fresh point of view, and add to your repertoire of teaching techniques. Don't be afraid to experiment! Use your creativity to find different paths to the same goal for students with different backgrounds and abilities. You'll find, as you have in the past, that this energizes both you and your students. Use your analytical skills to research, explore, and evaluate what has been done before and what other teachers recommend. This is the fun part, where you get to do what you love: figuring out how to develop someone's understanding. You are simply creating a diverse assortment of tools to teach a diverse assortment of students.

As a teacher you are driven to provide the highest quality instruction possible. Using differentiated instruction you are taking the essential skills mandated by the standards- federal, state, and perhaps local- and are arriving at different ways of teaching them at various levels of structure, complexity, and abstraction. You and your students are on the same team, trying to beat the tests.

The strategy of differentiated instruction is your best chance to deliver quality instruction to each and all of the diverse students in your class. You need to be able to sell your students on the new style of teaching you'll be implementing, and the best way to do that is by being competent, being confident, being enthusiastic, and having fun. If you are new to differentiated learning, this "opportunity" may be starting to sound a little scary. Nobody's saying it will be easy; you need to commit to the process. But it can be interesting and fun. And you can do it at your own pace MA Differentiated Instruction.

Here are four recommendations for getting started:

See the strengths of each student; ignore their weaknesses. See the benefits of their individual learning styles, and how their learning preferences can complement their learning styles. Value what is strong about their background preparation. Take notes, and update them continually as you learn more about each student. This takes a bit of effort in the beginning, but after a few short weeks further updating is minimal and you will have an excellent reference for the rest of the year as you plan assignment grouping and tiering. A small (3" by 5" or so) spiral notepad-like book, with a page for each student, is all you need.

If you are brand new to differentiated instruction, start small. Begin by developing all three aspects of differentiation (content, or what you teach; process, or how you teach it; and product, or what the student shows you that demonstrates learning) for one unit. For everything else, commit to differentiating one aspect only (content, process, or product). After your first "experiment," develop all three aspects for another unit. You'll find that some of what works for you will depend on your preferences and style.

Use technology to help students work independently at their own level. The saving grace of being able to implement differentiated instruction successfully is having access to resources, and technology is the cheapest and fastest way to get those resources. You don't need all-inclusive packages that take over the class-they can be quite expensive and leave you "out of the loop." But rather use more readily available technology that lets you differentiate content and process, and helps you with the formative assessments that are a natural and crucial part of any successful differentiated instruction program.

Get a partner. It will help immensely, especially if this is your first time with differentiated instruction, to have somebody help you plan, find resources, and assess how well particular strategies are working. Learn how you and your partner can get support, either through your school system or by connecting with peers across the country through forums and online groups. Your partner can also help you with reality checks as you plan and implement what is practical and possible in the classroom.

Change History (1)

comment:1 Changed 3 years ago by anonymous

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