This article focuses on one teacher’s efforts to implement differentiated learning in her second grade class. The authors of the article seek to investigate how the differentiated reading method of teaching can achieve success or failure in a classroom. Differentiated instructions have been part of the teaching process for quite some time now. However, the success of this approach depends on the teacher’s ability to put this method into practice. Unlike other teaching methods, differentiated teaching is not a standard application in education.
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Therefore, when the learning method is used, various degrees of success are achieved according to the teacher’s level of expertise. Ms. Martin is only able to achieve success in her second grade class because she focuses on the students and not the specifics of the teaching method. The abilities of each student are of importance to all instructors because they determine how decisions about lesson plans are made. These are the most important aspects of differentiated reading: assessment, grouping formats, materials, classroom management, lesson focus, and length of instructions (Ankrum & Bean, 2008). The implementation of these factors depends on the unique needs of students.
The ability to help struggling learners depends on various factors including the teacher’s ability to adjudge the text-level of a student. In addition, it is important to assign students groups that adhere to certain logic. In the case of Ms. Martin, small groups are tended to independently whereby some groups are given more reading time and different-level reading materials are used. Eventually, the success of differentiated instructions depends on how well a teacher can group his/her students. Therefore, lessons are developed based on the needs of all learners but their different needs are catered for in groups. In the grand scheme of things, some learners might end up receiving more attention than the others. The most important factor in differentiated learning is the ability to understand what level each student is in before embarking on differentiation.
Research Foundations of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts
The advent of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has managed to influence the English Language Arts (ELA) standards and grasp the attention of the academic community over a short period. The wide acceptance of ELA standards has created shockwaves across the learning community as policymakers work to ensure that the new modalities are benchmarked. On the other hand, learning stakeholders are rushing to ensure that these standards are incorporated into their institutions. This paper investigates the assumptions that form the basis for CCSS. Each assumption is explored independently and its validity as a basis for being a CCSS standard is established.
The five assumptions have to do with disciplinary grounding, learning progressions, teacher prerogative, benefits of text complexity, and comprehension model (Pearson, 2013). The comparison reveals that text complexity as a basis of CCSS only carries moderate research strength. However, this factor is a strong indicator of clarity of representation. Both the assumptions on text complexity and disciplinary grounding have earned their inclusion in the standards and they are likely to be implemented in the near future. On the other hand, learning progressions, comprehension model, and teacher prerogative should not be part of CCSS because they have low fidelity to the research base. It is important to note that some of the assumptions that do not carry significant research basis are likely to be implemented anyway. For example, learning progressions and some of the other assumptions are likely to be implemented even without adequate research backing. Consequently, it is important for more research to be performed on CCSS before implementing the current proposals.
Ankrum, J. W., & Bean, R. M. (2008). Differentiated reading instruction: What and how. Reading Horizons, 48(2), 133-146.
Pearson, P. D. (2013). Research foundations of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts. In S. Neuman and L. Gambrell (Eds.), Quality reading instruction in the age of Common Core State Standards (pp. 237-262). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.