I believe differentiation allows us educators to seperate ourselves from our peers. Differentiation allows us to be different while we teach as we are all unique in our ways. no two instructors are the same nor are the teaching styles. We have to be willing to break old habits and open our minds up for new techniques and practices. As education evolves, we have to continuously adapt to the changing environment so that we are giving our students the most relevant learning atmosphere.
I also feel that those who embrace differentiation techniques are setting the students up for success as they allow studets to be exposed to differen ideas and learning tecniques.
Differentiation goes further than just the average classroom. I also feel that as a parent we could incorporate differentiation techniques so that our children learn better.
How can we justifiably give the students the same grade when the quality, quantity, or content of the performance is different?
I have yet to read a truly compelling argument to answer that question. Most people mumble something about grades being a relative measure of student performance and designed for communication of progress only.
Embracing differentiation techniques allows teachers to incorporate new electronic technology by keeping students up to date and teach with relevant tools. When searching for technology that promotes differentiated instruction, you should look for how standards correlate, the availability of formative assessments, and options of different skill levels on the same content.
In The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, Carol Ann Tomlinson offers the following framework for helping teachers differentiate in the classroom.
Once you’ve decided to include differentiation in your classroom routines, you are confronted with the question: Okay, so what exactly can I differentiate? Differentiation usually includes one or more of the following areas:
- Content (what students learn)
- – Includes curriculum topics, concepts, or themes
- – Reflects state or national standards
- – Presents essential facts and skills
- – Differentiates by preassessing student skills and understandings, then matching learners with appropriate activities
- – Provides students with choices in order to add depth to learning
- – Provides students with additional resources that match their levels of understanding
- Process (how students learn)
- – Refers to how students make sense or understand the information, ideas, and skills being studied
- – Reflects student learning styles and preferences
- – Varies the learning process depending upon how students learn
- Product (the end result of student learning)
– Tends to be tangible: reports, tests, brochures, speeches, skits – Reflects student understanding
– Differentiates by providing challenge, variety, and choice
Tomlinson, Carol Ann. The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 1999