Using differentiation in teaching means tailoring learning instructions in classes to suit the needs of individual students. Differentiation in the classroom is a fantastic way to meet these different requirements, whether varied abilities or Special Educational Needs. There are a variety of learning processes, products, or learning environments that can be used to keep learning as fresh and appropriate as possible. Let’s look at how we can implement differentiation in the classroom.
- Content: This is what the student needs to learn and what learning materials they can access.
- Process: A learning activity or game used by the teacher to engage the student and make sense of the learning content.
- Products: A variety of projects designed to help the students apply their knowledge and challenge them to demonstrate it.
- Learning environments: How the classroom is set up and how it feels to learn in that environment.
Why is Differentiation important in the Classroom?
Differentiation in teaching is important in giving students the best education possible. The aim is to teach children of mixed abilities in one class by honing in on their strengths and weaknesses. By doing this, a teacher can still teach the class as a whole while catering to the individual needs of smaller groups within the class.
Effective differentiation could be teaching the same materials to all students using several learning strategies. It could also mean the teacher delivering lessons tailored to students’ differing ability levels. Here are some examples of differentiation that the teacher may use in the classroom:
- Creating various lessons that are based on different learning profiles in the class.
- Grouping students together based on ability, topical knowledge, or shared interests. For example, groups can be chosen based on similarity so that children can work through a task with other similar learners. Or, they can be found in various learning styles to utilize these different perspectives when working together on a group project.
- Assessing students by using ongoing formative assessments.
- Managing the classroom to create a space that promotes learning in a supportive atmosphere.
- Continuing to assess and modify lesson plans and their content to suit the needs of students.
What Are Some Examples of Differentiation Strategies In The Classroom?
Now that you have more background information about differentiation, it’s time to tell you about different differentiation strategies in the classroom. They’ll help you to ensure that the needs of all of your children are catered for and that your learning environment is inclusive no matter what.
Teachers must use several strategies to fulfill a differentiated learning program for their students. Here are five differentiated teaching strategies that can greatly benefit your class members.
Here are some of our top differentiation strategies in the classroom without further ado!
Similarly to small group work, learning stations help children work at the right level. You can also ask children to choose which learning station they want to work at, giving them a chance to reflect on their level of learning.
You can offer students various types of content by setting up handy learning stations. Students can then rotate which station they learn from and gain information from each new rotation. These stations may include watching a video, making artwork, or reading an article. Then, once students have been to each station, you can hold a class discussion to cement their learning.
Communication is very important in the classroom. Asking students questions about their learning and studying preferences will help you understand how to meet the needs of your class. For example, you can try pulling individual members aside to find out the following:
- Favorite lesson types.
- Most enjoyable class activities.
- What projects do they feel happiest about?
- What particular exercises do they find most useful?
Once you have gathered this information, you can determine which methods suit your students learning abilities.
Discuss Your Abilities
You can help your students become familiar with differentiated learning by explaining your learning abilities. For example, talking about your areas of strength and weakness allows children to learn that not all people learn the same way. In addition, you can explain some of the tactics that work for you and suggest that children try the same.
Target the Senses
Lessons that resonate with students are the ones that stick. Targeting different senses in class is a wonderful way to keep children engaged. Generally speaking, the more reasons you appeal to, the better! Why not try using a range of:
- Videos, infographics, and written instructions for visual learners.
- Audiobooks or spoken directions for auditory learners.
- Physical objects for tactile learners.
- You could even incorporate smells or tastes if appropriate!
Promote Student Ideas
Encouraging students to pitch their projects may unearth some surprising results and give you an insight into children’s minds. Students will have an idea of what kind of learning they prefer. So, considering their preferences when tailoring lessons is an interesting way to help you determine what suits their learning requirements best.
Assess children over time: Many teachers implement assessment into their teaching, but a more continuous approach to this will help you monitor where each child is at. From here, you’ll be able to employ differentiation strategies in the classroom more effectively.
Make the most of small-group work: Small groups, such as guided reading, are a great differentiation strategy for learning. This is because children will be grouped according to ability, giving them a supportive group of peers to bounce off. They’ll also get more one-to-one feedback from you, and you’ll get a better insight into where each child is at.
Choose differentiated resources: This strategy might be a given but super important one. Many of our resources on the Twinkl website are differentiated, catering to children of various abilities. These resources will also make differentiation in the classroom more straightforward for you.
Set up meetings with parents: Parent-teacher meetings are really helpful when creating strong links between school and home. They’ll also give you a better insight into children’s needs and abilities, as parents can usually give you an idea of children’s skills shown outside of the classroom.
Use teacher’s aides: Teachers are such an important part of the classroom and can help implement differentiation strategies in the school. TheIn addition, they give certain children in
Encourage children to set goals: This last strategy is another way to reflect on their level of learning. Not only is it a good exercise for them to do, but it will also give you a better idea of each child’s current abilities and allow you to differentiate learning accordingly.