What Differentiation Isn’t

Today, some of the most important skills to be accumulated and honed for a teacher. It is all learnable, but sadly at times, too many have tried to oversimplify it or turn it in to something it was never meant to be.

For example, when based in the UAE I was shocked and saddened by the number of teachers who had been trained to believe that differentiation consisted of categorising all the children in a class in to one of – high, middle and low – and then giving each group a different worksheet! Worst of all, if there was any differentiation in this practice – it was differentiation of end outcomes. In other words, by labeling the children at the start, by varying the work they were given, we were setting them up for different end goals from their learning. The children placed in the lowest category had the lowest expectations of what they could eventually achieve. They were being set up to under-achieve.

An enormous travesty and a distortion of everything that was ever intended in differentiation.

Here’s a very useful recent article from ASCD that spells out in simple terms what differentiation isn’t. This is a useful starting point for all educators to then determine what it is:

In Service – ASCD – 5 fallacies That Are Not Differentiated Instruction

IT Changing the Face of Learning

As time goes on, it’s fascinating and exciting to see how IT ideas are reshaping the classroom of the Twenty First century and the process of how learning happens.

The Innovative Educator

A couple of years ago, I attended a conference in Mumbai where a speaker’s presentation was broken up with a number of questions to the audience. The audience members each had a keypad and could select their answers on the pad. Soon after pressing the button (like ‘Ask the audience’ on KBC) graphs would appear on the screen to show how the audience had voted. The levels of attentiveness of the audience were certainly far higher than you see at most conferences! No surreptitious texting, even in the back row!

So, keen that we explore how this kind of technology might best be put to work in school – looks like fun!

New Term, New Ideas

Calling all teachers (and maybe students too). In about 3 weeks we will all head back to school and back to the classrooms. I would love to hear from teachers about what they plan to do differently this coming term, what ideas you have had for taking your teaching to the next level.

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