Differentiation is teaching differently. Differentiated Instruction requires teachers to know their students very well in order to provide them with educational experiences and daily tasks that will enhance their learning. This goal is attained by recognizing the differences and similarities of all students in the class and planning lessons and activities accordingly. Here are 8 strategies to help teachers reach this goal.
1. Acceleration: Students that demonstrate proficiency should be offered the option to continue on their own at an accelerated pace.
2. Concentrated Curriculum: Studying a topic in more depth. For example, conduct research of a real life application of multiplication.
3. Create Versitile Work Groups: Working in groups that ensure all students have chance to work with classmates that have similar and different abilities and interest levels. It is important that teachers establish clear guidelines with respect to group dynamics and time-frame for completing tasks.
4. Ask Difficult Questions: Ask open-ended questions and questions that appeal to higher-order thinking skills. Also provide opportunities for follow-up questions and group discussions.
5. Independent Study: Once a deadline for a task is agreed upon, students proceed at their own pace. During this time, the teacher provides structure and pacing support with regularly scheduled meetings until the due.
6. Independent Learning Centers: Centers should appeal to students' multiple intelligences by way of varied levels of complexities and curiosity. These centers should provide opportunities for students to take part in meaningful activities that enrich their comprehension of a particular subject matter. In addition, they should be productive and use their time constructively when they have completed their required work.
7. Tiered Instruction: Develop activities by first focusing on a concept to be understood by all students. Then describing the tasks, levels of difficulty, number of steps involved in the process, and the final product.
8. Student Contracts/Rubrics: A mutual agreement between teachers and students; Give students the opportunity to choose how they will complete the assignments and how they will be responsible for completing them. Rubrics are effective in showing students exactly what is required to receive their desired grade.
It is important for teachers to be comfortable and confident in their ability to manage the various processes, content, and final products of students. The most significant factors for successful students are teachers highlighting the importance of meeting those student needs and their belief in changing traditional teaching methods.
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