OACS News Service
Digging into differentiated instruction
Vanderboom is an expert in this field and is currently teaching an education course at Redeemer University College on this subject.
She began with a compelling quote from Robert J. Willis which states that when a teacher tries to teach something to the entire class at the same time, “chances are, one-third of the kids already know it; one-third will get it; and the remaining third won’t. So two-thirds of the children are wasting their time.” In response, the question was posed, “What are teachers to do?”
Acknowledging this situation, the JKCS staff were encouraged to plan for this reality by challenging and supporting their students by providing a learning structure where all students could be successful and develop to their full potential.
Vanderboom stressed that it is important for teachers to consider the learning preferences, readiness levels, and interests of their students when planning the learning program. Intentional decisions need to be made in selecting the learning content, process, and product.
The JKCS staff learnt that differentiated instruction (D.I.) focuses on promoting independence, fostering self-reflection, utilizing the students’ strengths, and facilitating choice. Throughout the day, they explored various components of D.I. including pre-assessments, formative assessments, flexible groupings, anchor activities, tiered assignments, learning centers, and independent studies.
The workshop was aptly delivered in the differentiated instruction format. Teachers were given an exit card, enabling them to summarize what they had learnt and what they were still wondering about. Modelling to the teachers, Vanderboom demonstrated that learners must interact with the learning process and that teachers should adjust their instruction to meet those needs.
Throughout the day, there were interactive group assignments. The teachers enjoyed summarizing their learning in raps, poetry, dramas, posters, and games. It was a full and busy day — exploring and celebrating the creative art of teaching and learning!
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