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Differentiated Instruction and Professional Development

Good Essays
Differentiated Instruction
Professional Development Plan
Carol (Stepp) Wahl
EDU 673
Dr. Dianne Fernandez
June 11, 2012

Introduction Differentiating instruction is a valuable instructional management and delivery tool, which can be used to assist teachers in meeting the needs of the diverse populations of students which they now find in their classrooms. In using these strategies, a teacher may use pre-assessments to determine the learning styles, interests and readiness of the students, prior to the introduction of a lesson or unit. After developing a learner profile, the teacher may then differentiate according to the readiness of the student, by process of delivery, and by the product which the student may produce to
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Ability refers to the child’s ability to complete the learning tasks, while readiness has to do with the child’s background which will support the learning tasks (p86-87). For example, the child has the ability to read the science material presented for the Life Sciences lesson, yet does not have the readiness to understand the reading due to inadequate technical vocabulary development. Scaffolding for this student would include activities to develop the technical vocabulary necessary to understand the reading materials, or having the teacher provide reading materials appropriate to the child’s reading level. Additional instruction may be needed in reading skills, to support the student in a reading activity. The zone of proximal development explains the need for student and task to match, making the task of learning attainable (p87). Teaching to one zone of proximal development is likely to leave some students frustrated and confused, while others can coast through the lesson (p88). It is not so important for the teacher to know exactly what the student’s status is, rather to be aware when the students are becoming frustrated, and are in need of more practice, or when the task is just right for the individual (p89).
Student Grouping Grouping of students can be by learning style, interest, readiness, task, or other teacher determined criteria. Flexible grouping is one of the non-negotiables in the differentiated instruction
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