Professional Development Plan
Carol (Stepp) Wahl
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 …show more content…
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
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
In response to the varied student learning needs, differentiation will be a key component of this classroom. It is “designed to improve access to the general education curriculum by adapting instruction to each student’s diverse learning needs” (Smith, 2007). “Differentiation instruction means changing the pace, level, or kind of instruction you provide in response to individual learners’ needs, styles, or interest” (Heacox, 2012). Because each student comes to this 6th grade classroom with unique needs, differentiation will implemented frequently to ensure that each student receives the rigor needed to master the 6th grade curriculum. It will be relevant to your student and his/her needs. It will provide an appropriate level of challenge. It will be engaging and at times, it will offer choices. Delivery of differentiated instruction will frequently involve centered based learning activities and small group instruction. A list and description of some of the centers will be distributed to parents and is attached as Appendix
Differentiated instruction is different from traditional classroom instruction in several ways. In differentiated instruction, teachers use on-going assessments instead of on assessment at the end of the unit. Differentiated instruction also uses flexible grouping, such as small groups or peer pairs, rather than simply whole-group instructions. Additionally, differentiated instruction uses an array of teaching methods based on the students learning style. Finally, differentiated instruction uses a variety of learning materials.
After reviewing my self evaluation and working with both groups of fifth graders, I have determined a need to provide a wider range of differentiated instruction. I have worked in the past to try groupings that benefited the students, but I am seeing that this is not working as well with this group. These students communicate and respond well to each other and are willing to help each other but some of the learning gaps between them are significant.
Prior taking this RETELL class I thought differentiating meant “dummying down” work. I struggled with the concept of differentiating strategies because I thought it help students to be all they can be. Taking the class have given a clear understanding the meaning and the usage of differentiating teaching, matter of fact, some the strategies I use in class are similar to some of the strategies taught in the RETELL class. I realized that Differentiated instruction is about using teaching strategies that connect with individual student's learning strategies. The ultimate goal is to provide a learning environment that will maximize the potential for student success. The important thing to remember is to hold on to the effective teaching strategies that lead students to positive learning outcomes and to make adjustments when necessary. It's about being flexible and open to change. It's also about taking risks and trying teaching and learning strategies that you would have otherwise ignored. It's about managing instructional time in a way that meets the standards and also provides motivating, challenging, and meaningful experiences for school age
The most effective method of differentiating is to ensure that resources and assessment methods, as well as teaching and learning approaches meet individual learner needs. According to Francis and Gould (2013) setting a single objective for a whole group will not be appropriate for all learners, due to the diversity of the group, therefore, as Gravells (2008) suggests we must identify the learning needs, styles, aspirations and potential of our learners. At this very stage, any barriers and boundaries should be identified, so the teaching and learning approaches, assessment methods and resources can be planned accordingly.
Readingrockets.org defines differentiation as tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. Differentiated instruction is a broad framework for supporting student differences by varying content, process, products, and learning environments based upon students strengths and weaknesses (Tomlinson, 2000).
Vygotsky’s concepts of zone of proximal development and the more knowledgeable other person has led to the idea of scaffolding. Scaffolding, which encompasses both ZPD and MKO, is seen in almost all classrooms in today’s society. Scaffolding is a temporary support mechanism that aids students when they need it and then relinquishes control when the assistance is no longer needed. According to Lipscomb, Swanson and West (2004), scaffolding is used in classrooms by the “development of instructional plans to lead the students from what they already know to a deep understanding of new material,” and “execution of the plans, wherein the instructor provides support to the students at every step of the learning process.” Scaffolding encompasses the role of the teacher. The teacher acts as the most knowledgeable other to the student and then assesses the current knowledge of the students. The teacher decides which knowledge level the students should be performing at, and that gap between current knowledge and abilities and their potential is the zone of proximal development. In order for
In my classroom, I will differentiate learning by offering a variety of methods of instruction such as hands on models, cooperative learning, technology, lectures, group activities, independent learning assignments. I will also adjust delivery based on understanding of concepts. I
Effective differentiated instruction reflects where the students currently are in their educational stage and not where a teacher wishes them to be. This step is important; placing students either too high or too low in the instruction can be adverse to the teacher’s goal of helping all students. Developing lesson strategies for students that are too demanding may have a negative effect on performance and reinforce negative emotions concerning learning. Likewise, developing lesson strategies that do not challenge students to perform at their best can also have a negative effect. Some students that are not engaged by a teacher's instruction are left adrift waiting for new or more stimulating material. Engaging students in the learning strategy is the key ingredient in producing active learners.
When differentiating instruction, there is a five-step process that should be followed. The first step is to determine the need for differentiation (Smith et al., 2012, p. 112). The teacher needs to examine the class and see exactly who would benefit from differentiated instruction, based on the problems of the individual student. Teachers can also look at a student’s IEP or 504 plan to see who can best benefit from these accommodations. Once this has been identified, the teacher needs to think about what the student needs to be successful (Smith et al., 2012, p. 112). This change could be something related to the content, process, product, learning environment, or any combination of these.
Explicit instruction is important in connecting to prior knowledge and skills when beginning a learning sequence (Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority, 2016). It helps to lay the foundational areas of reading and literacy as a whole in the early years of schooling. Effective reading instruction builds on what children already know, how students learn and on what degree of support they need to become successful in reading/learn and apply new information (Archer, 2011, p.18). Here the idea of scaffolding is evident where “the support provided by the teacher (or another student)…bridge(s) the gap between their current abilities and the intended goal” (Rupley, Blair and Nichols, 2009, p.129). It is important for students who are learning something new, to have the opportunity to have it explained, the opportunity to apply that information guided by their teachers and the opportunity to apply it independently (Archer, 2011). Through an explicit approach the responsibility for learning shifts from teacher to student as they gain confidence and competence with reading. Reading is not an automatic process and must be taught, “explicitly, systematically, early and well” (National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy, 2005, as cited in Hempenstall, 2016,p.5). Building on this, it is not enough for explicit instruction to be effective; it must also be efficient so that students can meet outcomes as soon as possible and are given the opportunity to apply it. This highlights
“Differentiation provides a framework for responding to differences in students’ current and developing levels of readiness, their learning profiles and their interests, to optimize the match between students and learning opportunities” (Tomlinson and Jarvis, 2009, p. 599). Research has supported that adjusting content, environments, processes and final products addresses students’ differences. By incorporating differentiation in the classroom and school, students’ needs are addressed more fully and opportunities to excel are given.
In order to promote the utmost success of students, numerous studies have been conducted to determine the ideal organization strategies for grouping within classrooms. There are two major types of grouping, heterogeneous and homogeneous. Heterogeneous grouping can be described as randomly grouping students together. The teacher does not group based on any specific criteria and attempts to involve all types of students within each group. In further detail, there may be one student who overachieves at mathematics and a student that performs below average in mathematics within the same group. Homogeneous grouping is arranging students together based on their academic achievement in particular subjects. For instance, a homogeneous group will contain students who are all around the same reading level. There are two divisions within homogeneous grouping. One is within-class grouping. This means that the students
Flexible grouping allows the teachers to use a variety of grouping options during the lesson; grouping can guide instruction. Within a flexible group, the following groups can be formed: learning cycle groups, cooperative groups, group investigation, and peer tutoring among others (Ward, 1987, p. 02). Research has proven