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Differentiated teaching or instruction predominantly centres on the student, through matching the individual characteristic needs to teaching instruction and assessment. This method brings on board the entire students irrespective of individual’s emotional orientation or ability because the performance depend on entry points, work covered, and teacher’s end expectation from the student (outcomes).
In order to achieve the laid objective in a lesson plan, the student’s level of readiness and differentiated learning strategies are incorporated.
In the teaching – learning process, each party (teacher and student) plays the designated clear role, which reflects the learning outcomes (Tomlinson, 1999). The guiding principles of differentiated instructions are; inclusive lesson plan, tiered assignment, students’ grouping, compacting and learning contracts.
Properly enhance teaching and learning activity entails marrying day-to-day activities with subject content. The approach of relating theoretical thinking and practical make the student’s attitude improve significantly. High profile conceptualization of content is directly proportional to individual’s readiness and intellectual capacity.
A teacher should ensure that all learning environs whether within a classroom or outside must have minimized obstructions and in a case where one cannot avoid, obstructions, and then learning activity must be more appealing and capturing.
The instructional procedure involves three key strategies all working to meet individual student’s need and expectation. They are differentiated process, differentiated content, and differentiated product. The incorporation of the three gathers the ability, learning profile, degree of readiness and interest of each learner at that given period (Sternberg, Torff, & Grigorenko, 1998).
For proper analysis of the mentioned instructional strategies, a teacher needs to draw a lesson plan that addresses the student’s level of readiness to grasp the content and recall thereafter. The lesson plan gives the general out-look of a format that entails instructional strategies and the level of administering each. The lesson plan below is for a secondary grade for 50 minutes.
Differentiated Lesson plan for Secondary level
|1. Standard/Concept/Unit/Topic/Subject |
(This contains the details of a subjects’ main Topic and the sub- topic in question.)
|2. The scaled down topic into smaller units helps the learner to master some facts and vocabularies, understand concepts, and ability to do like a skill.|
|3. Pre-assessment:Journal, Pre-Test, Brainstorm, Individual White Board, Survey, Quiz, Informal Pre-assessment, Observation ,Quick Write and others|
|4. Grouping Decisions:Multiple Intelligences, Flexibility, capability, content mastery, level of Interest, and Readiness, Modalities, Random, Learning Styles, and Others||Grouping Choices: Small Groups, Student Choice, Interest, Alone, Whole Group, Pairs, Contracts, Independent Study, Compact/Enrichment, and Others|
|5. Learning Experiences||Instructional Resources||Content||Process||Product|
|Exceeds Standard|| || || || |
|6. Post-assessment: If there is an outstanding achievement other than the product above.|
|7. Notes/Reflection. This is meant for remembrance and revision purpose in future|
Differentiated content involves the use of pre-tests to determine where each student needs to start a unit or topic basing on what he/ she knows because a learner grasps more when learned materials are from known to unknown. The strategy also encourages critical thinking within diverse level of instruction and allows the teacher to vary instructional methods in addressing diverse learning styles.
In order to ease and manage the student’s work, there is the need to break assignment to a clear, structured direction in every part to avoid vague and abstract content; this provides differentiated process. Lastly, the strategy allows the choice of wider concepts and skills given to the student to internalize and understand the content by their own at different complexity level.
Differentiated process targets a variety of instructional materials that relate to the learner’s abilities and preferences. The strategy has options of auditory, kinesthetic learning, and visual.
This requires the teacher to provide stations for independent learning and inquiries. It also creates an environment that gives activities to understand different level of complexity in the content and abstract thinking through grouping of students based on flexibility to work together and later regrouped based ability and understanding level.
The last and highly sensitive strategy of product evaluates the achievement of the laid objectives through assessments that are open-ended or performance based. The student and the teacher make a point of balance whereby the teacher examine all areas but give a student a chance to make a selection on the area of clarity and interest. The student can also make choices on projects that holistically cover the topic in question.
In this stage, there is a continuous interaction between the learners and the teacher through assessments. Post-examination as seen in the lesson plan gives a teacher another chance to re-examine the student on areas seemingly not clear during the instructional process and make conclusive comment on content coverage.
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In an event that every learner is well vast with the content he/she puts down notes for the purpose of revision and acquaintance.
Learners’ status and personality
Learners perform better when there are multiple methods of instructions because it widens the scope of question approach and give an alternative way incase one method fails Tomlinson, C. (1995). A teacher should first understand the students’ type under his instruction before varying the method of instruction.
The teacher analyse the standardized results of continuous assessments tests and scores to categorize individual students basing on abilities. The instructor can also involve other sectors in the school setting like guidance and counseling department to give preferred learning style students can perform. Students, on the other hand, take part in deciding the best method the majority are vast with and not leaving out the minority.
To avoid boredom in teaching- learning activity, a teacher should vary his teaching skills and styles by first studying the curriculum then amalgamate with the student’s non-school activities. The teacher can employ activity like brainstorming, kinesthetic learning approach, and crucial thinking.
Through curriculum scrutiny, a teacher can easily identify the best approach to use in instruction not forgetting the quality of the student and their level of readiness (Torff, B., & Grigorenko, E. L. (1998).
Since, the differentiated instruction is student-centered; a teacher should train the student to identify the best approach to their learning activities. The instructor ought to provide a flexible and conducive environment to improve on two-way interaction between the teacher and the students.
The instructional language should also be polite and accommodating enough so that students can develop a rapport with the teacher. Therefore, students develop self-awareness to the current teaching approach and share freely with the teacher in whatever way (Good enough or change approach).
In conclusion, the teacher works hand in hand with the learners for better performance. The intellectual and behavioural performances of students show the performance of teachers.
Sternberg, R. J., Torff, B., & Grigorenko, E. L. (1998). Teaching triarchically improves student achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(3), 374-384.
Tomlinson, C. (1995). How to differentiate instruction in mixed ability classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Tomlinson, C. (1999). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development