Differentiation Puts Kids Over Content
"Artful teaching is a love triangle between teachers, students, and content." --Tomlinson
Carol Ann Tomlinson believes that "Differentiated instruction is the means by which teachers ensure that good curriculum is a good fit for each learner." It's connecting with kids, and connecting kids with content. In her Tuesday, October 25th, morning session "Differentiation: Connecting with Kids and Connecting Kids to Content," Tomlinson gave four basic guiding principles for connecting students and teachers, content and students.
- Connect--Through student-driven activities, opportunities for kids to share or build on their personal interests, journaling, positive humor, and many other ways.
- Respect--For example, learning about and honoring the students' cultures, communicating high expectations, and making time for students.
"The heart of the method is the relationship between teachers and students." --The Macon Telegraph
- Challenge--By providing meaningful work that extends the kno wn and challenges the unknown.
- Support--For example, giving second chances and deferring grades, clarifying expectations, teaching needed skills, accepting responsibility for student success, and learning students' strengths and weaknesses.
Differentiated Instruction is tied to the new performance standards in the state of Georgia. For a peek at how teachers and middle Georgia are putting differentiated instruction to work, as a means of supporting the performance standards, check out this article from The Macon Telegraph. How is differentiated instruction working in your schools? Is differentiation supported, at the classroom level, on a regular basis? Or is it just more inservice jargon that never really fleshes out into practice? Let us know.