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SELF DIRECTED LEARNING - STUDENT CENTRED EDUCATION

WHY IS DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION IMPORTANT?

Differentiated instruction is key to students learning and success. Every student does not

fit into one domain or learning style and it is possible that you may have an incredible number of

different learning styles within your classroom. We as educators should not assume that

students are at similar levels within their own learning or what they have learned. Ensuring that

instructors change fundamental teaching strategies to make students capture concepts and

understanding material. Students should be able to finish a topic and be ready to explore it

further in greater detail. Although changing classroom environment, testing methods, instruction

methods, and assignment formats are all ways of differentiated instruction, if you do not know

your students you will not pick the strategy that is best for your class. Students also tend to take

ownership over learning when it is presented in a style in which sparks their interest or almost

“tricks” them into learning.

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR STUDENTS

Getting to know your students is essential to determining how to teach your students.

Differentiated instruction methods are pointless unless this fits the learning styles of your

students. An example of this could be a student does not learn well from lecture-based lessons.

Instead, the teacher tries and develop a lesson where students develop creative projects and

incorporate art into a lesson. Instead of a lecture, you have students draw their own diagram

and design it the way they feel best represents the concept. Unfortunately, the student in

question does not like visual art and has many skills within the realm of digital creations. If the

teacher fully knew their students, they could have expanded this assignment and given students

the opportunity to hand in or work on digital assignments. This could engage students into a

subject that they were lacking interest in, thus creating a learning environment in which this
student thrives. This scenario shows how important is to know your students before constructing

lesson plans. This will involve more work for the teacher, but will make students more

successful in final evaluations. Forcing students to learn concepts through creative activities can

enhance their knowledge of material.

STRATEGIES

The main strategy that seems to work to develop a sense of student personality is

student survey pre-content, and frequent reflection pieces from students throughout content

teaching. Additionally, ensuring that the students are aware of the goals of a topic and what they

need to accomplish before are clearly laid out. Surveys of student personality can help the

teacher understand their learning strategies. These surveys can allow for students to not only

share who they are as a learner but personal interests and goals that you can include within

classroom teaching. An example of this can be making math problems about current events to

spark student interest. Throughout the unit in question, it is important to complete informal

assessment on how students are learning or if they are learning efficiently. A good way to

accomplish this is to have students reflect constantly during activities and assignments to

ensure the class is meeting the expectations. If they are not, then teacher may have to modify

their teaching instruction to ensure that students are able to meet the goals set at the beginning

of the unit. If the goals are clear to the students they understand what they need to accomplish

in order to be successful. Reminding students to focus on these goals when writing their

responses to reflections can be helpful to make them useful for the teacher. Lastly, teachers

should tell students their plan with the reflections to give students a sense that their reflections

are powerful and meaningful to the teacher.


Resources

Differentiated Instructional Strategies One Size Doesn’t Fit All - Gayle H. Gregory & Carolyn

Chapman

Why Getting To Know Your Students Is Important

https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ913629

How to Teach Now - William Powel & Ochan Kusuma-Powell