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Differentiated Instruction Strategies

November 8, 2018

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Jeff Hersh

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Teachers today understand students’ needs vary. Each student comes to class with a different level of engagement, personality and learning abilities. The key is to identify the various avenues of success that can be implemented in each lesson, allowing all the different types of students to learn. Differentiated instruction is a key principle in education today that focuses on finding the best ways to teach an entire class of specific learning types.

 

Vary Lessons to Reach Different Kinds of Learners

 

When creating lesson plans and assignments, determine the various approaches students can take to complete the objective. Options allow the different types of learners in your class to feel more confident and valued.

 

Pair/Group Students Based on Complementary Learning Styles

 

Another useful strategy is to pair students who learn the same, or match students up with others who build upon their own strengths or weaknesses. In this situation, students gain ownership over their task and see the value in working together.

 

Assess Student Learning Capabilities

 

Pretesting is a crucial step before fully implementing differentiated learning strategies in your classroom. Initial assessments give teachers an idea of what knowledge and skills students are beginning the unit with and can help predict what they’ll need more assistance with as you embark on the lessons. Proper preparation allows the teacher to be flexible along the way.

 

Continually Evolve Lesson Plans Based on Student Achievement

 

As students move through lessons, it will become apparent which will rise to the new challenges, and which students may need an alternate path. Carefully recording progress of students throughout is essential to knowing when new learning strategies are needed. Monitoring output, engagement levels, and personal assessments such as journaling, are all places to mine for valuable information on how to tweak future lessons.

 

Create a Safe, Encouraging Learning Environment  

 

Most importantly, identifying the different types of learners in your classroom should be inclusive and celebratory. Emphasize the successes of all students, and don’t let the differences lead to hurt feelings. All students should feel safe to learn the way they need to, and they should learn to be supportive and encouraging to everyone around them, no matter what avenue they take to complete the assignments.

 

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