Friday, June 13, 2014

They Are Not All Ducks

Most teachers teach every child the same way, using the same material, and using the same method of assessment -  
     As a secondary educator, students come into my classroom with varying degrees of readiness, varied interest levels, a range of learning styles, and a myriad of educational and life experiences.  At this point, students view themselves as "good at school" or not...
With this in mind, I see my job as more than teaching English.  I teach young adults.  I teach them to believe in themselves and to see their potential.  But how can I reach all of the students who come into my classroom with such individual differences.  I don't think I have to reinvent the wheel to reach all of my students, but I do think I have to get to know my students and teach content in a way that will benefit each of them - in other words, I have to use differentiated instruction.  
What does differentiated learning really look like in the high school classroom?  It is student centered rather than teacher centered.  Differentiated instruction is not a new set of skills for the teacher but rather a rethinking of the practice of teaching.  I have an idea about how it can be used to increase interest, engagement, and achievement in the high school language arts classroom, and I aim to find out if I  am correct!  Is  it easy? No.  It takes more planning that homogeneous instruction.  Is it worth the effort? Yes - By differentiating instruction I can help students see they can achieve success, and I can give the students self awareness and strategies for achieving success that will benefit them long after they leave my classroom.          

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