What’s the DIF (Differentiated Instruction)in a learning journey?
What if we didn’t differentiate instruction in our classrooms? What if we just taught to the largest group in the class? What would it be like?
I’m sure it would be a lot like the classrooms of our youth (FYI- I grew up in the sixites and seventies), where those whose needs were not met would become behaviour challenges for the teacher, or lose interest, or simply disengage from learning. The fact is, good teachers already differentiate instruction, by giving students choice about the kind of products they create, by assisting students, by modifying expectations, and by using technology in the classroom.
And where would we be without technology tools to help make our lessons more engaging? Those lessons could miss almost half of the class, and students would not have opportunities to practice, to explore or to direct their own learning linked to things that connect to the lesson, but are more personally challenging.
With the skill of Differentiated Instruction, we have the power to make our science classes (and all classes for that matter) very powerful, where students will leave our classrooms intent on finding out for themselves those questions that are brewing in their heads, to continue learning from the moment they walk out of the room, to the day they leave our classroom at year end, and onward towards the goal of lifelong learning. Differentiated Instruction delivers the message that learning is a life journey. More importantly, they will have connected, in some way unique to their learning style, to the content of the lesson, and taken away a measure of learning, that they can then demonstrate in a unique way too.
We owe it to our students to use technology tools to make each and every lesson a special opportunity for every child in our class. It’s the teacher’s challenge. Dare I say destiny?