Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What exactly IS differentiation?

Feeling like I am a little slow to the party....

I have been getting very frustrated trying to understand why teachers are struggling so much with grasping what differentiation really means and how it should look.  After being in two meetings today related to differentiation and speaking with one of our APs tonight who has been coaching a teacher, it finally hit me.

Teachers aren't understanding that differentiation means different instruction for different students!

Much of what I have heard in conversation and in planning is teachers conducting whole group instruction different ways. The idea seems to be that if you teach something lots of different ways to the whole class that at some point each student will learn what s/he needs. When we put it that way, it is clear that this is a lot of wasted instructional time.  if instead we provide each student with what s/he needs - we are maximizing instructional time!

What we need is targeted differentiation!

The key commonality between what we really need and what is being taught in the class is that we must provide different content, processes, and/or products to different students based on prior performance, readiness and/or learning styles.

Long and the short of it - teachers have to begin matching instruction with students.  We need to adjust the content (which is our focus through December); process (the primary focus of the on-line class, which we will delve into starting in January) and product - (which we get to in the 2nd semester in our professional development plan) to the particular student's needs..... This can ONLY be accomplished by small groups with different students doing different work.

Epiphany - DIFFERENT is the core of DIFFERENTIATION!

Forgive me if this is a big DUH to all of you - I may be in the habit of sharing my learning too much from our on-line class.  I do think it is worth sharing this idea with teachers, because just today I saw it in literacy and math, and heard about it in science - so my guess is that this misconception lurks across departments.

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