Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tools for Differentiating Instruction - Part 1

The Next few posts will be about Tools for Differentiating Instruction.

The tools that teachers have at their disposal in today’s classrooms are much richer than the ones we recall our teachers using during our own schooling. We now know significantly more about the brain and how it works than we did just 20 years ago, and this increase in knowledge is producing new educational models and approaches at almost lightning speed. While these new trends may be exciting, with so many new ideas and directions to choose from, teachers often feel the stress of being asked to implement too many initiatives coming at any one given time. How can we possibly know which will really be effective and which are practical in the “real world?”

The next two posts will focus on several models or “tools” that have been proven to  work with students and with teachers. While there are certainly numerous other tools available, these have stood the test of time and have proven to be “doable” for most teachers.

-Tools for Differentiating Based on Student Readiness (Bloom's Taxonomy, Tomlinson's Equalizer, and concept-based teaching)
-Tools for Differentiating Based on A Student Learning Profile (Groupings, Gardner's Multiple Intelligences)

Keep in mind that, regardless of the tools that a teacher chooses to use, the goal in any classroom, differentiated or not, ought to be to aim high so that each and every student experiences an appropriate challenge. Given the fact that our students enter our classrooms with vastly different needs and readiness levels for learning, aiming high for all cannot mean the same instruction and work for all. This is, of course, why differentiation is a necessity in any classroom.


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