Brain-based learning[ edit ] Differentiation is rooted and supported by literature and research about the brain. Evidence suggests that, by instructing through multiple learning pathways, more " dendritic pathways of access" are created. When more regions of the brain store data about a subject, there is more interconnection and cross-referencing of data from multiple storage areas in response to a single cue, meaning one has learned rather than memorized.
Differentiating Instruction for ELLs Each student comes to school, not only with unique academic needs, but also with unique background experiences, culture, language, personality, interests, and attitudes toward learning. Effective teachers recognize that all of these factors affect how students learn in the classroom, and they adjust, or differentiate, their instruction to meet students' needs.
Getting Started Tomlinson and Imbeau describe differentiation as creating a balance between academic content and students' individual needs. They suggest that this balance is achieved by modifying four specific elements related to curriculum: Content — the information and skills that students need to learn Process — how students make sense of the content being taught Product — how students demonstrate what they have learned Affect — the feelings and attitudes that affect students' learning These curriculum-related factors are based on student need in three areas: Readiness — students' preparation for learning specific information or skills Interest — what appeals to students and thus motivates them to learn Learning Profile — how students approach the task of learning The goal of differentiated instruction is to create learning opportunities that make allowances for differences in how individual students learn in order to ensure equal access to important academic content.
Content may be modified for students who need additional practice with essential elements before moving on; however, the expectation is that modifications in other areas will ultimately allow all students to master the same key content.
Thus, "differentiated instruction is not the same as individualized instruction. Every student is not learning something different; they are all learning the same thing, but in different ways. And every student does not need to be taught individually; differentiating instruction is a matter of presenting the same task in different ways and at different levels, so that all students can approach it in their own ways" Trujo, It is important to recognize that differentiated instruction is an approach to teaching, not simply a collection of strategies or activities.
Effective differentiation requires ongoing evaluation of students' needs and conscious attention to designing instructional activities and assessment to meet those needs. It is true that teachers must have an extensive repertoire of research-based instructional strategies at hand, but they must also be able to "think outside the box" to ensure that each student's needs are met.
Differentiating Instruction for ELLs With the recent emphasis on standards-based instruction, there has been much discussion about what constitutes appropriate content, instruction, and assessment for English language learners. As educators have grappled with this issue, it has become clear that educational parity can only be achieved if ELLs have an opportunity to learn the same rigorous academic content as native English speakers.
Differentiated instruction, by definition, is instruction that is designed to support individual students' learning in a classroom of students with varied backgrounds and needs. For this reason, the same general principles that apply to differentiated instruction for native English speakers also apply to ELLs.
Teachers are successful at differentiating instruction for ELLs when they: Get to know as much as possible about each student — ELLs represent a wide range of academic skills, interests, languages, English language proficiency levels, and cultures.
Have high expectations for all students — Content should not be "watered down" for students who are still developing English language skills. Creative teachers think of ways to help students understand key material and "show what they know" in ways that match their language proficiency levels.
Have a variety of research-based instructional strategies at hand — Experienced teachers know that "one-size-fits-all" instruction is rarely successful. There are many different learning profiles in any given classroom, and students learn best when instruction matches their needs and learning styles.
Use ongoing assessment to guide instruction — Ongoing, informal assessment is vitally important to matching instruction to students' changing needs.
Differentiate homework — If all students have the same homework assignments, some are doing busy work while others are struggling with work that they cannot possibly complete successfully Tomlinson, Collaborate — Instruction is most successful when all of the professionals who work with ELLs work together Use flexible grouping — Small group instruction is a very effective way of making sure that all students can access important content, and keeping groups flexible allows teachers to match students with different peers for different types of activities.
ELLs call attention to the incredible diversity that is characteristic of American schools in the 21st century. Differentiated instruction offers teachers an effective method of addressing the needs of this diverse population in a way that gives all students equal access to learning.
Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SIOP model 3rd ed. Differentiating instruction and Assessment for English language learners: A guide for K teachers.
We can no longer just aim down the middle. Middle Ground, 9, Leading and managing a differentiated classroom.McREL is committed to making a difference in the quality of education and learning for all through excellence in applied research, product development, and service.
By Vicki Gibson, Ph.D. Practically speaking, differentiating instruction means teaching differently, or changing how instruction and practice occur in schools. Victoria Reyes Elementary School Dasmariñas City An Action Research on the Effectiveness of Differentiated Instruction In Teaching English for Grade Four Classes.
We are passionately committed to developing and nurturing healthy, thriving learning communities across Region 17 by guiding and supporting . Myth #1: DI is a collection of strategies.
There are many books, workshops, and organizations offering "differentiated strategies" that, when used, will instantly have teachers differentiating for their students. Formative assessment, including diagnostic testing, is a range of formal and informal assessment procedures conducted by teachers during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student attainment.
It typically involves qualitative feedback (rather than scores) for both student and teacher that focuses on the details of content and performance.