" T. he following illustration provides the characteristics of 'fully differentiated' and 'not differentiated' instruction in programs and classrooms.
Differences in Programs and Classrooms that are Differentiated and those which are not Differentiated
Source: Walker (nd) U.S. Department of Education Publication
Therefore, differentiated instruction may take many forms and may utilize various instructional methods in differentiation of instruction and includes those listed in the table above under the heading 'Differentiated'. Flexibility is 'key' in this pursuit and instruction that is 'reactive', 'fixed', or 'closed' is not differentiated because differentiated instruction is never characterized by any of these three elements. The work of Baum and Nichols (2007) states that there are four keys to differentiation. Those four keys are as follows:
The teacher should know their students and themselves in their role of teacher;
The teacher should know their curriculum;
The teacher should develop effective differentiation strategies; and the teacher should keep it simple, begin slowly and socialize while teaching. (Saldahana, 2007)
Four empirical studies have been conducted which provide evidence that "incidental learning improves vocabulary when the oral discourse is aligned with the visual images. (Neuman & Koskinen, 1992) Intentional learning improves vocabulary by:
1) Teaching words (Perez, 1992, Carlo et al., 2004; Biemiller and Boote, 2006);
2) Teach strategies (Carlo, et al., 2004);
3) Build word consciousness (Carlo et al., 2004);
4) Immerse students in a language- rich environment (Collins 2005; Carol et al., 2004) (National Literacy Panel, nd)
The National Literacy Panel additionally relates that "adjustments are needed to build proficiency in the context of content area instruction, but these were rarely described in detail:
1) Emphasis upon phonemes not available in home language;
2) Building on student's first language strengths;
3) Efforts to make word-meaning clear through a variety of techniques;
4) Identifying and clarifying difficult passages;
5) Ample opportunities for students to practice oral language aligned with the curriculum; and 6) providing extra practice reading words, sentences and stories. (nd)
The work entitled: "English: Strategies for Teaching Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students" states that five 'key' elements that will be found in a language learning environment that is effective are the following strategies which assist students in their access of the content material:
1) Comprehensible input -- Teachers can make their language more comprehensible by modifying their speech by avoiding colloquialisms and speaking clearly, adjusting teaching materials, adding redundancy and context, and scaffolding information within lessons.
2) Reduced anxiety level -- a student's emotions play a pivotal role in assisting or interfering with learning a second language. Teachers can assist students by creating a comfortable environment that encourages participation and risk taking without fear of feeling embarrassed or foolish (Collier, 1995; Krashen, 1981; Krashen & Terrell, 1983).
3) Contextual clues -- Visual support makes language more comprehensible. For example, a grammar lesson using manipulatives may be more understandable than an explanation of the grammar rule. Even social language is more comprehensible when context is added. For example, understanding a face-to-face conversation in which facial expressions and gestures are used is easier than understanding a telephone conversation when context clues are nonexistent (Cummins, 1981).
4) Verbal interaction -- Students need opportunities to work together to solve problems and use English for meaningful purposes. They need to give and receive information and complete authentic tasks.
5) Active participation -- Lessons that encourage active involvement motivate LEP students, engage them in the learning process, and help them remember content more easily. (Virginia Department of Education, 2006)
The Virginia Department of Education states that strategies in teaching that can be used to reinforce vocabulary learning includes the following strategies:
1) Word walls: Keep a running list of the new vocabulary on a word wall. Such a visual cue can help students with word recognition, automaticity, decoding, and spelling;
2) Student-made dictionaries: Have students establish their own dictionaries in sections of their notebooks or as flashcards on spiral bound index cards. Students can write definitions, draw pictures and diagrams, give examples, write in a sentence, or translate in their first language. Such practices influence independent learning and can motivate LEP students to take charge of their own learning (Brown, 2001; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005);
3) Word games: Offer opportunities to encourage a love of words and their power, as suggested by researchers (Blachowicz & Fisher, 2004; Gaskins, 2004; Juel & Deffes, 2004);
4) Classroom library: Establish an informal system where students can access fiction and non-fiction books easily for outside reading. Reading books related to their content areas is a natural way to reinforce vocabulary and concepts. Harvey and Goudvis (2000) have an extensive list of recommended titles;
5) Teach by integrating the four language modes (listening, speaking, reading, writing) into content-area lessons. One way of ensuring LEP participation is by scaffolding instruction through the different language modes.
6) Scaffold instruction. Teachers can gradually increase the cognitive demand of the lesson after first establishing the language proficiency of the LEP students. It is important to allow LEP students to feel successful in the classroom for motivation and continued involvement in the learning process (Brown, 2001; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005). Scaffolding requires the teacher to decrease the language demands, provide temporary contextual supports, and maintain high cognitive development;
7) Use a variety of modes of instruction:
a) design multi-sensory lessons (visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic); and b) Use visuals whenever possible to reinforce auditory instruction (i.e., charts, graphs, manipulatives, diagrams, models, real objects).
Use manipulatives as a reading and writing strategy to scaffold instruction. Manipulatives can be Cuisenaire rods, pipe cleaners, beans, markers, or any tangible item that can be used to represent ideas. Have students work in small groups to represent the main ideas of a reading, a section of a chapter in a science textbook, for example, or an important historical document, by using manipulatives. In doing so, students will have to use oral language to negotiate meaning and to agree on ways to represent meaning. New vocabulary will be used naturally throughout the process. Misconceptions may be clarified as well. Students will have to use critical thinking skills to analyze and then build a representation of their understanding of the reading. When groups are finished, have each group verbalize their final representations. As each group discusses their product, LEP students will have read, listened, analyzed, discussed, and thought about each main idea while recycling related concepts and vocabulary. Take a digital photograph of each group's product. On a subsequent day, have students paste the photograph of their representation into a word processing document. Then have the students label parts of their final product if necessary. Have students re-present the main ideas of the reading by using the photographs as the basis of a writing assignment. Having students write a paragraph or essay is another way to assess the LEP students' comprehension of content-area facts as well as their academic writing ability;
8) Design hands-on activities that make all students active learners. Use Reciprocal Teaching (Herrell, 2000; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005; Orlich, Harder, Callahan, Trevisan & Brown, 2004; Ruddell, 2006), which involves step-by-step procedures that allow students to become responsible for teaching and learning;
9) Vary groupings throughout the lesson (i.e., independent work, pair work, small groups, whole class);
10) Vary the participants according to English language proficiency when assigning pair work or group work. At times, pair LEP students with native-English speakers. At other times, pair LEP students with other LEP students;
11) Assess the dynamics of the different groups and monitor the activities;
12) Use real-life problem-solving situations to teach new concepts; and 13) Make interdisciplinary connections whenever possible.
The work of Shaw (2003) entitled: "Scaffolding" published in the OAJE Newsletter states that strategies that are successful in scaffolding instruction include the following strategies:
Directions that give more instruction - or less;
Icons to help interpret print;
Using before, during and after;
Using graphic organizers;
Use of manipulatives;
Matching text to readers;
Small group instruction;
Mini-workshops for those who need it;
Videotaping or taping the instructions so students can watch them as needed; and Flexible timelines (some students work at their own pace; others have assignments given in smaller increments allowing them to complete one part before moving on to another)
According to the National Literacy Panel "Very few empirical studies focus exclusively on comprehensive and language-minority students." The work of Bean (1982) reports a study with findings that text can be simplified by omitting trivial elements and the work of Fung, Wilkinson and Moore (2003) report findings that reciprocal teaching on alternate days using L1 first was a successful method in teaching. The National Literacy Panel additionally reports that there are too few studies that determine the best method of facilitating comprehension in language-minority students. Shames (1998) and Swicegood (1990) state findings that "strategy instruction...unlike first language research did not always help reading comprehension." (National Literacy Panel, nd) Saldhana (2007) states…