Differentiating lessons and catering to individual learner needs

A major aspect of differentiating the process is by using different materials and resources.  As a result, this must suit the need of the learners and the demands of the activity.

Though it may sound like a spectacle of sorts,  the quality of teaching is proportionally affected by the quality of learning materials and resources we use in class.

Differentiating content

In gauging the quality of teaching materials and resources,  we have to ask these questions:

  1. Are these resources and materials relevant to my lesson and my activity?
  2. Are these resources and materials appropriate for my students—their needs and their preferences?
  3. Will these resources and materials help my students in achieving their learning objectives?

However, the questioning does not stop there. The quality of these resources and materials had to be tested in the classroom.

For example, let’s take a look at one lesson in exploring the concept of IDENTITY through the movie, Divergent.

First, in introducing the concept of ‘Identity’,  the teacher may use the latest movie (Divergent, a movie adapted from a novel) students could relate with.

Assuming that a lot of students were able to watch this movie and read the book, they may easily able to grasp the concept.

On the other hand, some students may not be familiar with the book or the movie. So we may use slides (PowerPoint) to show the different factions and let some students share what they know about the movie and the book.

Through this harmonious use of resources and materials, students get a clear picture of the concept that leads to a meaningful and productive learning experience.

Differentiating the process

Various classroom activities lead to a higher level of learning outcome and holistic engagement (Marzano and Brown 157).

Again, this is anchored on the principles of differentiation.  Perhaps, we may plan teaching sessions in such a way that we divide the entire 80 minutes  into different segments of various relevant activities.  Thus, this leads to the realization of the learning objectives.

There is a need to put emphasis on the ‘Tuning In’ or motivation stage of the lesson. The first 15 minutes of the lesson is crucial in catching and keeping learners’ interest throughout the lesson.

By using social interactive strategies,teachers could catch the students’ attention. For example, teachers may refer to the latest  in popular culture.  More importantly, it’s always good to provide opportunities for students to talk about themselves.

As for maintaining their interest and making them stay on task, inconsequential competition could make the students more engaged.

During collaborative activities, students could work on differentiated tasks that follow the Multiple Intelligence theory.  As such, teachers may use a variety of question structures to make the students talk about their work.

Of course, stating the learning objectives at the start of the class and by reminding the students of their goals for the day help in managing the class.

By differentiating lessons, studentsMore importantly, teachers work specially on individual needs of the learners. won’t stray away from accomplishing their learning objectives. More importantly, teachers work specially on individual needs of the learners.

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