By using a variety of instructional models and strategies, teachers differentiate instruction. Read Chapter 2 in your text and, in a two- to three-page paper, not including title and reference pages, discuss the concept of the differentiation.Be sure to address the following topics in your paper:What is differentiation?What theoretical or research background is there for this instructional method?How does it work? What will it look like in your own classroom? Give an example of how you could differentiate instruction.
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EDU 381 Curriculum and Instructional Design
â??Differentiated Instruction is the way in which a teacher anticipates and responds to
a variety of student needs in the classroom.â? (Carlson, n.d.) It is a 4-level process that
enables the teacher to adjust their lesson plan to successfully engage each individual
student and help them to understand the concept that is being taught.
Theoretical or Research Background
The theoretical basis for Differential Instruction (DI) is that each student learns
differently, therefore the teacher must be able to teach a mixed group of learners with
ease. DI provides ways for a teacher to assist the students that needs little extra help than
their peers. A study was done in 2010 in Cyprus (an island in the Mediterranean Sea off
the southern coast of Turkey) on DI and its effectiveness in the classroom. Two test
groups comprised of 4th grade students spread out over 24 classrooms; 14 classrooms
were taught using the DI method, 10 classrooms were the control group and taught
traditionally. The study results show that â??differentiation is feasible, effective and
necessary in order to promote quality and equity dimension of effectivenessâ? in a mixedability classroom. (Valiande, et al., 2010, page 15)
DI is a 4-level model that allows the teacher to adjust their lesson plans to be able to
include each of their students in a mixed-ability class. Level 1 is for the general
education, â??What does the teacher want the student to learn?â? There teacher wants to
ensure that there will be a solid foundation for their lesson plan to be built upon. Their
plan â??should include attention to respectful tasks, quality curriculum, teaching up,
flexible grouping, continual assessment and building community.â? (Hansen, et al., 2015,
Section 2.3) The second level is the original plan itself. It is composed of the content that
is to be learned, the process that the teacher will use to teach the content, the product that
will be the end result and how engaged the teacher will predict the students to be. When
all of these factors are combined the teacher has worked towards a positive learning
environment for his/her classroom. Level 3 is where the adjustments to the original lesson
plan are made. Student characteristics the teacher should take into consideration include
readiness, interest and the individual learning profiles of each student in the class. The
fourth and final level consists of several DI strategies that can be used. For example,
â??Acting Out a Problem: students can act out mathematical, scientific, or social problems
to improve their comprehension.â? (Rowan, 2013)
How Does it Work
My â??classroomâ? would consist of mostly preschool age children working on reading
and their letters. I believe that my students would enjoy the â??Acting Outâ? scenario from
the above paragraph. I would assign each child a role from a story based on how much
the child likes to be the center of attention. I will use â??Goldilocks and the 3 Bearsâ? as an
example. If I have a student that loves to talk and who knows that story I will assign that
student Goldilocks. For a student that is shy and rather quiet, I would give the role of
Baby Bear. The student in the role of Baby Bear would not have to speak very loud and
could hide behind Mama or Papa Bear, making the shy child feel involved but not the
center of attention. We would work on sounding out sight words, counting, right and
wrong behavior and acting out the book.
Experiences With This Method
An experience that I had with this method occurred over this past winter, my
nephew, Mason, was home-schooled for Kindergarten and I would have to play â??teacherâ?
whenever he was spending time with me. Mason had problems with comparison and
subtraction in math. His mom tried to explain it to him several times, finally gave up and
asked me to help. Mason was not getting the concept with the pictures on the screen, and
my laptop screen was becoming covered in fingerprints. I decided to try something a little
more hands-on. Mason loves marshmallows, so I bought a bag of strawberry star
marshmallows and a bag of white square marshmallows. We compared the stars to the
squares and subtracted. By the end of the lesson he was able to compare and subtract on
his own. It took a couple more worksheets before we went back to the computer screen
comparisons, he still had a small problem without the hands-on objects but his teacher
said that is something he will grow out of as he becomes more confident and we can
work on it over the summer.
Questions About the Method
I have several questions but the top one is: how much time do the teachers give
themselves to learn each studentâ??s abilities and do they plan general lessons in the
beginning of the school year to get a basic overview of each child? Another question: is
DI compatible with backward design, and if so where is does the adjustment in the lesson
plan take place? Do the adjustments take place â??on the flyâ? or are they planned in? There
is still a lot to learn on this particular method.
I am on the fence concerning this method. I am the type of person that likes to have a
plan in place. I am more than willing to adjust my plan as needed. However, this method
seems to be a â??adjust as you goâ? type of method. I believe that adjusting as the lesson
occurs will lead to a lot of confusion, not just for the student but for the teacher as well. If
the lesson plans are made at even a slightly advanced date (say a week in advance), this
does not leave a lot of time for adjustments if a new student enters the class or a
substitute needs to take over. I am all for a mixed-abilities classroom, however, I believe
that I prefer the Response to Intervention.
Carlson, Amy Marin. (n.d). What is differentiated instruction? Examples, Definition &
Activites. Retrieved from http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-differentiatedinstruction-examples-definition-activities.html.
Hansen, C.B., Buczynski, S., & Puckett, K.S. (2015). Curriculum and Instruction for the
21st Century. Bridgepoint Education.
Rowan, Kelly Jo. (July 27, 2013). Glossary of Instructional Strategies. Retrieved from
Valiande, A. Stavroula, Kyriakides, Leonidas, and Koutselini, Mary. (January 2011).
Investigating the Impact of Differentiated Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms:
Itâ??s Impact on the Quality and Equity Dimensions of Education Effectiveness.
Retrieved from http://www.icsei.net/icsei2011/Full%20Papers/0155.pdf.
By using a variety of instructional models and strategies, teachers differentiate instruction. Read
Chapter 2 in your text and, in a two- to three-page paper, not including title and reference pages,
discuss the concept of the differentiation.
Be sure to address the following topics in your paper:
What is differentiation?
What theoretical or research background is there for this instructional method?
How does it work? What will it look like in your own classroom? Give an example of how you could
What experiences have you had with this method?
What do you still need to learn about this method? What questions do you have about this method?
What conclusions can you draw about this method?
Please refer to Chapter 2 in your text, other resources, and your experiences to complete this
assignment. Cite at least one source in addition to your text. The source does not need to be scholarly.
Make sure your paper is in APA format.
Carefully review the Grading Rubric (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. for the criteria
that will be used to evaluate your assignm
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