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Differentiated Instruction in a Mixed Ability Classroom

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Britannie Diaz

on 22 July 2016

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Transcript of Differentiated Instruction in a Mixed Ability Classroom

Differentiated Instruction in a Mixed Ability Classroom
By: Britannie Diaz, Heather Legrand, Donald Hoessler

Analyzing and the Selection Process
Teachers will be able to analyze and select practices that value diversity as an asset in the development of procedures and practices that motivate all students and improve learning. They will have the chance to utilize their own strategies that help diversify and promote diversity.
Closing The Achievement Gap
"Teachers in classrooms must break down all barriers to learning, so that all students can have access to the content and opportunity to meet high expectations" (Stein, 2013).
What is Differentiated Instruction?
What is Diversity?
Practices That Value Diversity
Motivating Students and Improving Learning
Strategies to Maintain a Respectful and Inclusive Learning Environment
Creating an Influential School Culture
Professional Development
Implementation of Modifications and Accommodations
Differentiated Instruction (DI) has been presented in literature as “a promising way to target various facets of students’ school-based learning” in order to “facilitate their academic achievement” (Martin, 2013).
Serves as “a general way of approaching teaching and learning” in order to target the learning styles and preferences of each unique student (Martin, 2013).
Provides teachers with the opportunity to take advantage of the diversity amongst their students
Proposes a rethinking of the structure, management and content of the classroom and can easily target the different intelligences which diversify student learning.
The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.
It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences.
These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
Diversity is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.
Zeichner (1992) has summarized the extensive literature that describes successful teaching approaches for diverse populations. From his review, he distilled 12 key elements for effective teaching for ethnic- and language-minority students.
1. Teachers have a clear sense of their own ethnic and cultural identities.
2. Teachers communicate high expectations for the success of all students and a belief that all students can succeed.
3. Teachers are personally committed to achieving equity for all students and believe that they are capable of making a difference in their students' learning.
4. Teachers have developed a bond with their students and cease seeing their students as "the other."
5. Schools provide an academically challenging curriculum that includes attention to the development of higher-level cognitive skills.
6. Instruction focuses on students' creation of meaning about content in an interactive and collaborative learning environment.
7. Teachers help students see learning tasks as meaningful.
8. Curricula include the contributions and perspectives of the different ethnocultural groups that compose the society.
9. Teachers provide a "scaffolding" that links the academically challenging curriculum to the cultural resources that students bring to school.
10. Teachers explicitly teach students the culture of the school and seek to maintain students' sense of ethnocultural pride and identity.
11. Community members and parents or guardians are encouraged to become involved in students' education and are given a significant voice in making important school decisions related to programs (such as resources and staffing).
12. Teachers are involved in political struggles outside the classroom that are aimed at achieving a more just and humane society.
12 Key Elements for Effective Teaching for Ethnic- and Language-Minority Students
“Even though some of us might wish to conceptualize our classrooms as culturally neutral or might choose to ignore the cultural dimensions, students cannot check their sociocultural identities at the door, nor can they instantly transcend their current level of development. Therefore, it is important that the pedagogical strategies we employ in the classroom reflect an understanding of social identity development so that we can anticipate the tensions that might occur in the classroom and be proactive about them” (Ambrose et. al., 2010, p. 169-170).
Florida Catholic University. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2015.
Stanford, B., & Reeves, S. (2009). Making It Happen: Using Differentiated Instruction, Retrofit Framework, and Universal Design for Learning. TEACHING Exceptional Children Plus, 5(6)
Subban, P. (2006). Differentiated Instruction: A Research Basis.International Education Journal, 7(7), 935-947.
Martin, P. C. (2013). Role-Playing in an Inclusive Classroom: Using Realistic Simulation to Explore Differentiated Instruction. Issues In Teacher Education, 22(2), 93-106.
Zeichner, K. M. (1992). Educating teachers for cultural diversity. East Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning.
Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M. & Lovett, M.C. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Be reflective by asking yourself:
How might your own cultural-bound assumptions influence your interactions with students?
How might the backgrounds and experiences of your students influence their motivation, engagement, and learning in your classroom?
How can you modify course materials, activities, assignments, and/or exams to be more accessible to all students in your class?
Incorporate diversity into your overall curriculum.
Be intentional about creating a safe learning environment by utilizing ground rules.
Be proactive in connecting with and learning about your students.
Utilize a variety of teaching strategies, activities, and assignments that will accommodate the needs of students with diverse learning styles, abilities, backgrounds, and experiences.
Strategies continued
Use universal design principles to create accessible classes.
When possible, provide flexibility in how students demonstrate their knowledge and how you assess student knowledge and development.
Be clear about how students will be evaluated and graded. Provide justifications.
Take time to assess the classroom climate by obtaining mid-semester feedback from students.
Pass out index cards during class for anonymous feedback.
Ask students to rate from 1-5 how comfortable they are in class and ask for 2 suggestions for how they could feel more comfortable.
(Cornell University, 2014)
(Cornell University, 2014)
Cornell University. (2014). Cornell University for Teaching Excellence: Inclusive Teaching Strategies. Retrieved from http://cte.cornell.edu/teaching-ideas/building-inclusive-classrooms/inclusive-teaching-strategies.html
Professional Development for Differentiating Instruction: An ASCD Action Tool
This book discusses multiple tools that can be used to differentiate instruction in classrooms and schools. It is divided into three parts:
Part 1: Introduction and Action Tool Overview
Part 2: Tools for Administrators and Staff Development Leaders
Part 3: Tools for Teachers
Saint Leo's Core Value of Personal Development
The primary goal for differentiation is ensuring that teachers focus on student-centered processes and procedures that provide effective learning for all students. This philosophy of ensuring the “development of each student’s mind, spirit, and body” directly ties into the Saint Leo’s core value of personal development. As a result, this will also build capacity and efficacy in the teachers across the campus and develop their own mind, spirit, and body as well.
Faculty Development Program
In order to engage faculty in recognizing and understanding diversity and developmental issues to close achievement gaps, a program must be set up to support the faculty.
Haviland, D., & Rodriguez-Kiino, D. (January 01, 2009). Closing the Gap: The Impact of Professional Development on Faculty Attitudes toward Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 8, 2, 197-212.
(Haviland & Rodriguez-Kiino, 2009)
Schools that have been successful in closing the achievement gap have shared some of the same characteristics:
Indiana's Education Roundtable. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2015, from http://www.in.gov/edroundtable/2390.htm
(Indiana's Education Round Table, n.d.)
Websites to Visit for More Information
Some questions that teachers need to ask themselves when they are planning instruction are:
How do instructional strategies accommodate diverse learners and their needs within their classroom?
What is the evidence that teachers are providing students with multiple opportunities to learn and perform within their classroom, their grade level, or department?
The Standards-Based Teaching/Learning Cycle. (2012, May 1). Retrieved April 25, 2015, from http://www.cde.state.co.us/fedprograms/dl/ti_a-ti_sstmembers_standardsbased
(The Standards-Based Teaching/Learning Cycle, 2012)
Ways in Which the Performance Gaps Can Close:
Instruction can be better targeted for differentiation
Improved attitudes towards learning
Students can learn content more quickly
Students have better retention of content through technology interactions
The administration or school leaders can also create a school-wide implementation of specific strategies to use and teachers can adapt those to fit into their classrooms.
"Interactive technology can be used to enhance student achievement by providing multiple means and methods for learners to grasp traditionally difficult concepts" (Darling-Hammond, Zielezinski, & Goldman, 2014).
Focus clear and consistent goals, strategies, and leadership
Rigorous curriculum clearly defined high expectations of what students should be learning and when it should be learned
Good teaching and
Necessary interventions.
This will allow teachers to make sure that they are implementing modifications and accommodations.
Closing the Achievement Gap at the Classroom Level
Teachers must establish ambitious goals and learning objectives for students.
Teachers must make their instruction and their assessment meaningful.
Teachers must realize that the instructional process must be sensitive to the needs of the variety of learning differences in the classroom.
Teachers must understand that the students needs are diverse, but know that they are capable.
Above all, without fail, teachers must make diverse students part of the whole.
Teachers should provide positive reinforcement for students within the classroom.
Schools are encouraged to provide a positive learning
environment that promotes students success.
Students should be encouraged to explore their culture and learn about new ones.
School staff should express cultural responsiveness.
Teachers should promote students to set goals for themselves.
Teachers should also help student set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.
Darling-Hammond, L., Zielezinski, M., & Goldman, S. (2014, September 10). Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning. Stanford Graduate School of Education.
Build trusting and encouraging relationships with students
Create a strong home-school relationship and encourage parents to be involved in student learning to help motivate students
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