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Foundations and Implications of a Differentiated Classroom

Differentiation in the Classroom

Differentiation is understood as the approach used in the classroom to ensure that all students receive the type of instruction necessary for their academic needs. It involves using different methods and procedures to establish lesson plans ideal to each students' unique learning style.

Justification for Differentiation: Opportunities to Succeed

"The idea of differentiating instruction is an approach to teaching that advocates active planning for and attention to student differences in classrooms, in the context of high quality curriculums" (Tomlinson, 2013). Differentiated instruction is designed to accommodate students' different styles of learning, providing integrated forms of instruction to meet all learning needs. It is developed under the understanding that no two children are alike and require different methods of learning new information (Hall, Strangman, & Meyer, 2009). It is a method identified by several students as the way of assisting students with obtaining success in diverse educational settings. A method commonly used along side Universal Design for Learning; which involves increasing student flexibility with curriculum while decreasing student barriers (Hall, Strangman, & Meyer, 2013).

Meeting Social and Emotional Needs

As an instructor, I understand that I am not teaching subjects but teaching students. Student have many concerns and social distracting that make learning nearly impossible. As a way to eliminate any distractions it important to meet their social and emotional needs by being more than an instructor but also a sociologist. Before instruction can begin these concerns must be dealt with, ensuring that students have all the basic needs met before providing instruction. This may involve a proper meal or simply providing a positive word prior to each day's lesson.

Positive Learning Environment/ Safe and Secure

According to Carol Allred, there are seven strategies for constructing a positive learning environment for students:


  1. Make Learning Relevant
Lessons become more relevant when students are able to see the relation between instruction and their personal happiness and success.


2. Create a Classroom Code of Conduct

Students require a clear understanding for acceptable and unacceptable behavior. A helpful way of building such is asking students acceptable ways to treat people. Within the discussion, students will construct a list of kind, respectful, empathetic, and fair behaviors.

3. Teach Positive Actions

It is important not to assume that students already know positive actions and to teach them in a consistent, thorough, and systematic way (Alfred, 2008). It includes teaching positive actions toward others, for self-esteem, as well as healthy choice.

4. Instill Intrinsic Motivation

It is an important aspect of positive actions that involves a three step process. The first step involves establishing a thought, secondly, acting upon that thought consistently, and thirdly, experiencing a personal feelings as a result of the action. Through this process a cycle begins, encouraging students to think and act positively to reach a desired reaction (Alfred, 2008).

5. Reinforce Positive Behaviors

This allows teachers to strengthen intrinsic motivators through encouraging positive behaviors. The process involves recognizing accomplishments with certificates, tokens, and stickers. Its more effective when student engage students in the positive behavior inquiring about how it left him or her feeling, establishing a relationship between the action and the feelings (Alfred, 2008).

6. Engage Positive Role Models

Engaging the community and family members is important to students' success. Families can get involved in school and classroom activities and provide positive encouragement to succeed (Alfred, 2008)

7. Always Be Positive

Maintaining a positive attitude may be the most important step of creating a positive classroom environment, however also the most difficult. There is a saying "Kids will be kids" but there is a positive way to respond to all behaviors in all situations. Maintaining a positive attitude has the ability to make the difference between successful, happy students and ill-mannered, unsuccessful students (Alfred,2008).

Eliminate Fear of Failure and Humiliation

Fear, physiologically, activates the flight-or fight mechanism which enables one to either engage in behaviors allowing him or her to flee from what produces the fear or fight against it. When introduced in the classroom, students are physically unable to think. Due to the large amount of blood within the human body, when activated, blood flow increases in arms and legs leading to a decrease of flow in areas like the brain, making learning an impossible task (Sullo, 2014). To eliminate fear at all levels and provide a safe and secure learning environment there are important facts to remember. Language is key, pay close attention to the type of language used, positive reinforcement provides a positive way to encourage a positive outcome. Its also helpful to establish a culture of success in the classroom by saying phrases like "you can do it," or telling students " I won't give up on you" (Sullo, 2014)

References

Alfred, C. (2008). Seven Strategies for Building Positive Classrooms. Retrieved from

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept08/vol66/num01/Seven-Strategies-for-Building-Positive-Classrooms.aspx



Hall, T., Strangman, N., & Meyer, A. (2009). Differentiated Instruction and

Implications for UDL Implementation. Retrieved from http://aim.cast.org/sites/aim.cast.org/files/DI_UDL.1.14.11.pdf



Sullo, B. (2014). Motivated Student. Chapter 1. Eliminate Fear from the Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109028/chapters/Eliminate-Fear-from-the-Classroom.aspx


Tomlinson, C. (2013). Fulfilling the Promise of Differentiation. Retrieved from http://www.caroltomlinson.com/


Links:

Kindergarten Assessment

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/104919866292077864/


Kindergarten Sample work

http://www.theeducatorsspinonit.com/2012/04/what-kindergarten-writing-looks-like.html