DATE: Abstract In this research, the aim is to ensure that Differentiated instruction, is objectively set up and understood, in a learning institution that has diverse students, those that are English speaking and those that are taking English as a second language…
Key words: Differentiated instruction, professional development. Differentiated Instruction According to Carol Ann Tomlinson (as cited by Ellis, Gable, Greg, & Rock, 2008, p. 32), Differentiated Instruction is the process of “ensuring that what a student learns, how he or she learns it, and how the student demonstrates what he or she has learned is a match for that student’s readiness level, interests, and preferred mode of learning.” In a classroom scenario, there are all sorts of differences among the students. These may be in the form of social economic status, culture, race, religion, gender, ability/ disability, motivation, personal interests and many more. Differentiation arises from the assumption that different students have a difference in how they learn, their preferences and learning capabilities and interests.(Anderson, 2007) Teachers have a variety of ways to differentiate; this can be through process, content, learning environment and product based on the individual learner. Due to the difference in learning needs, teachers develop differentiated learning instructions so that all students are able to learn effectively. Differentiation can therefore be defined as, an organized and flexible manner of varying and adjusting teaching methods so that the needs of every child as a learner are catered for to maximize their potential growth as learners. In the past, the teaching practice has been that of “One size fits all” but in order for maximum learning potential to be reached, a “One size does not fit all” needs to be used. Gregory, G. and Chapman, C, (2007) Living Our Beliefs The challenge in differentiating instruction lies in translating the Teacher’s beliefs that, differentiating instruction provides for a better learning process, into action. Teachers can be able to differentiate a number of aspects on the curriculum (Tomlinson, C.A, 2005). These aspects are: Content- This refers to the principles, concepts and skills that students are required to learn. Every student should be able to access the same learning materials. Tomlinson believes that struggling students should be accorded with the same big ideas as their classmates and should not be given watered-down content. Tomlinson emphasizes by saying, "Teachers should address the same concepts with all students but adjust the degree of Complexity, in that the same concept can be explained in a way that is comprehensible to a very young child or in a way that challenges a Ph.D candidate." Content can also mean the means in which a teacher gives students access to information. A teacher can make give the advanced learners complex text from which they should derive information and on the other hand direct reading buddies, demonstrations and videos to the those students who are of modest capacities. Process- This refers to the activities that help students understand and fathom what they have learnt during the teaching process. Teachers can modify this activities by providing the complex methods for sharp students and scaffolding methods for the modest learner depending on their readiness levels, student interest, and learning preferences. Scaffolding methods include, additional teaching models, step-by-step instructions, re-teaching etc. Products- This refers to t ...
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