WHAT?!?!? How could all those experts be wrong??!!? Mr. Delisle states:
Although fine in theory, differentiation in practice is harder to implement in a heterogeneous classroom than it is to juggle with one arm tied behind your back.
The biggest reason differentiation doesn't work, and never will, is the way students are deployed in most of our nation's classrooms. Toss together several students who struggle to learn, along with a smattering of gifted kids, while adding a few English-language learners and a bunch of academically average students and expect a single teacher to differentiate for each of them. That is a recipe for academic disaster if ever I saw one. Such an admixture of students with varying abilities in one classroom causes even the most experienced and conscientious teachers to flinch, as they know the task of reaching each child is an impossible one.Now fair is fair so here is the definition of "differentiation" from Rick Wormeli, one of the leading experts in differentiation:
Differentiation means we do whatever it takes to maximize instruction over what could otherwise be achieved through whole-class, one-size-fits-all approaches. It's teaching in ways students learn best, not just presenting material and documenting students' success (or lack thereof) with it.My problem is that no matter how much I understand and want to do what Mr. Wormeli is asking me to do, I just have to agree with Mr. Delisle. So, like most teachers, I feel that since I don't "differentiate" I am a horrible teacher and doing my students a disservice..... at least that is what I thought....
Whoo hoo! Pat yourself on the back because I am sure many of you have done some the things I stated as well as countless others.
If you keep the following in mind, I have the utmost confidence that you will be able to "differentiate" your instruction (from Katharine Jacques and Eric Dextradeur: Managing a Successful Differentiated Reading Classroom)
There are three main areas of instruction where differentiation occurs. They are:How can technology be used to help us? One way to help us teachers create activities is to use "The Differnentiator". This is a web based tool that will help you change up the "content, process and product". Also, take a look at the image below, it does a good job of showing what different technologies can be used to help you differentiate:
Content: what the students need to learn. Generally, content is determined by local, state, and national curriculum standards.
Process: The way students arrive at the content is referred to as process. The term process is often used in exchange for activities and refers to the activities the students take part in to gain an understanding of, or make sense of, the content.
Product: means in which the student expresses a culminating understanding of the content.
So, let me repeat myself to help you feel better as a professional educator: if you have done any of the thing I stated earlier to help a student learn, you are differentiating your instruction!
Differentiation in the Classroom
Managing a Successful Differentiated Reading Classroom
Differentiation at the Secondary Level