Differentiated Instruction – How it can Help You Teach Better

It is our job as teachers to help our students learn. With the complexities of the learning process, it is good to have DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION as a method that we can utilize in order to accommodate the needs of our learners.

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Everyone is unique. As the title of Amir Khan’s movie, “Every Child is Special.”

It is essential for a teacher to understand that each student has his or her own learning style. This means that you cannot expect all students to grasp everything you feed to them in the same way, at the same pace.

Consider using DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION. Maybe you have heard of this, but did not explore about it, yet.

In this article, I will be presenting important details about this method. Included also are the practices of teachers in employing this method in the classroom.

What is Differentiated Instruction?

A teacher teaching about shapes to the boy and girl students. The picture has a label Differentiated instruction.

The idea of Differentiated Instruction emanated from Carol Ann Tomlinson. She is a professor at the University of Virginia in Educational Leadership, Foundations and Policy. She describes differentiated instruction as a method of Factoring the Student’s Individual Learning Styles and levels of readiness first before designing a lesson plan.

Moreover, research results show that utilizing such method benefits different inclinations of students. It can cater to the needs of those with learning disabilities as well as those who are top performing students.

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Furthermore, there are many versions on these terms based on different views and interpretations. It is claimed that in order to use this method, the teachers need to use the same material while using a variety of instructional strategies. Some descriptions require the teacher to deliver the lesson at varying levels of difficulty based on the learning pace of each student.

Teachers who practice DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION:

  • Identify the preferred learning style of each student.

You can make use of the VAK Questionnaire. It is important if most of your students are Audio, Visual, or Kinesthetic Learners.

  • Identify the intelligence of each student, based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligence.

As asserted by Howard Gardner, “The theory of multiple intelligences differentiates human intelligence into specific ‘modalities’, rather than seeing intelligence as dominated by a single general ability.” There is also a test to take on this in order to identify your learner’s intelligence.

  • Design lessons and activities, which cater to the identified learning style and intelligence of each learner.

As you set your lesson objectives, suggest in your teaching strategies different approaches, which you can utilize in accommodating different learning styles.

  • Group the learners who share the same interest and abilities.

Once your students will realize that they share the same interests with their classmates, they will be motivated more to participate in your activity. They are most likely to show off their abilities.

A teacher teaching about shapes to the boy and girl students. The picture has a list on how to practice differentiated instruction and with a label Differentiated instruction.

  • Assess the student’s learning using a variety of assessment tools (activities, games, quizzes, charades, writing tasks and more).

One thought I could not forget is when I saw a picture about a teacher who is teaching different kinds of animals. It was said there that if the only activity you will use in assessing how intelligent your learners is on whoever climbs the tree first, the fish would forever think that it is stupid because it surely cannot perform the task.

Differentiated Instruction is not merely focused on your teaching strategy, but also on the way, you will assess learning.

  • Manage the classroom in order to promote healthy, happy and supportive learning environment.

As you recognize the differentiated needs of your learners, it is important that you can make a conducive venue for learning. Positive vibes should fill every corner of your classroom in order to engage the students in the learning process.

  • Continually improves the ways to assess the student’s learning by employing differentiated teaching strategies to meet the learner’s needs.
A teacher teaching about shapes to the boy and girl students. The picture has a list on how to practice differentiated instruction and with a label Differentiated instruction.

It is exciting to use differentiated instruction because it gives you the opportunity to explore your creativity and more enthusiasm in doing your teaching job. As you teach to different levels of students and use different strategies and assessment tools, as you think of better ways to do things, those adjustments you do can actually improve your overall teaching performance.

Conclusion

In transferring learning to students, it is essential for teachers to be flexible and innovative. This Differentiated Instruction method offers the varied approaches that you can do in order to teach effectively. We should not limit our ways to those traditional teaching strategies.

Overall, we have diverse learners. The learning process is complex. DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION, therefore, is the most effective tool we can use to perform best in our teaching job.

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