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Diffentiation in Learning
It does seem to be elementary in the eleventh year of the 21st century that differentiating curriculum and instruction for different students needs to be justified by neurological research. However, this is the case. For reasons outside the boundaries of this short essay, the politicos of the time still feel that "one size fits all" in the classroom and we must bring out the neurological data to challenge the status quo. Indeed, one might laughingly rank it up with trying to teach evolutionary theory to a class of creationists. One just does not know where they went wrong when they are so very much in the right.
The authors of Differentiation and the Brain: How Neurosciene Supports the Learner-Friendly Classroom makes just this point that for these diverse learners, increased effort is required to differentiate the instructional approaches, to personalize our support for our students and increase their performance and outcomes. In chapter one, we find that the instructor (novel thought) has to be centered on the learner. This environment must be inviting for the learner. Basic non-negotiable principle number two is that the instructor needs to delineate what is essential information for th student to know and absorb. Thirdly, the teacher must frequently assess how effectively this information is being taken in by the student. Fourthly, when this assessment information is crunched, the gaps in the students knowledge is observed and this is taken into consideration in planning future lessons. This is what Soussa & Tomlinson call "teaching mindfully, " or accepting that differentiation is a mindset that one has to have when they are teaching or preparing the lessons to teach (Soussa & Tomlinson, 2010, 9).
So how to put theory into practice? Soussa & Tomlinson do this with a model (of course). The model begins by asserting that the prime directive here is that differentiation in the curriculum is the response of the teacher to the student. Secondly, the teachers must believe in their students ability to learn (or no doubt off to special education). Once this is noted, five principles should be put into play as follows:
A. Work in the differentiated classroom is respectful of the student.
B. Curriculum is rooted in the critical ideas of the discipline being taught.
C. Teachers need to be flexible in their grouping the learning together.
D. Teachers use ongoing assessments.
E. The learning environment supports students in the "risk" of learning (ibid, 10-12).
For more evident to support Soussa and Tomlinson in their assertions, a short review of the recent scholarly literature will suffice to bolster the conclusions reached. In the current multicultural and diverse environment that one is confronted with in most classrooms today, With contemporary classrooms becoming increasingly diverse, teachers and other educational authorities and school administrators are actively looking for new approaches to the teaching and the learning teaching and learning to minister to the variety of learning profiles. The new "deal" that is gaining in popularity (finally) in amongst many educators is differentiated instruction. Subban's model proposes rethinking the structure, content and management of the diverse classroom, inviting the different stakeholders in the process to get engaged to the common benefit of everyone.
In the interim time that this model has been accepted by…[continue]
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