Defining Differentiation

Differentiation is a teacher’s response to a student’s learning needs.

(source)

 

Differentiation is adapting the teaching and learning process and environment to suit student needs. (Mel, The Literacy Coach)

 A Controversial Topic

Among teachers, Differentiation can be a controversial topic.  The word, Differentiation, itself causes angst for many educators.  Regardless of what teachers may think about it, the fact is; education departments, all over the world, have mandated differentiation from kindergarten to senior secondary schooling. There is a clear expectation that all teachers, newly qualified or highly experienced, will differentiate their instruction to respond to the needs of the students in their class/es.

Some teachers feel that this is an unfair expectation.

“I can’t possibly teach the same concept 28 different ways just to suit every student in my class. There simply isn’t time when the curriculum is already so crowded”

Many teachers believe in the concept of differentiation in principle and want to meet the expectations of their administration while feeling overwhelmed and underprepared.

“I know that some of my students aren’t keeping up, but I don’t know what else I can do to help them!”

A great many teachers have also taken on the enormous task of differentiation and are reaping some of the benefits for their students.

“It was really overwhelming to see that I had so many students who were not coping in the traditional classroom setting, however a few small changes have helped most of them make progress.” 

Which one of these teachers are you?

This year, at MTLC we are going to explore differentiation in the context of literacy and how both of these are important in every year level and every subject. We will also discuss strategies, ideas, resources and professional development opportunities, because theory is useless without practice.

Want to Learn More?  Check out these links.

Differentiation Starter Kit (from Cult of Pedagogy)

Dare to Differentiate Wiki Space

What Differentiated Instruction Is – and Is Not (on Teach Thought)

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