As evidenced throughout the country, many students have difficulties understanding and internalizing the lessons that are presented to them in a more traditional classroom setting--that is, teachers lecturing with students expected to implicitly understand what is being taught. However, this has proven to not be the case. Studies have shown that students require different methods and a variation in instruction in order to more fully comprehend and grasp the different subjects.
“A full 70 percent of U.S. middle school and high school students require differentiated instruction targeted to their individual strengths and weaknesses” (Bianc, Snow).
Educational consultant Laura Robb outlines several guiding principles in regards to differential instruction, as follows:
- Recognition of diverse learners
- Ongoing assessment of students’ learning abilities
- The importance of group work
- The importance of problem solving
- Giving students choices and consulting with them in regards to their own learning
Merely glancing through these principles shows the importance of teachers actively engaging with their students and communicating with them in ways that go beyond merely lecturing or presenting coursework. Students react positively to teachers who are engaged and who engage them in their own learning. However, as Einstein’s quote promises, expecting all students to achieve the same results in the exact same way as all the others will only discourage and dishearten those students who require a different method. Investing time and effort in students should always be the top priority amongst educators, and differentiated learning is a powerful method that can improve and change the curriculum required and the lives of students.
Biancarosa, Gina and Snow, Catherine. Reading Next. New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York, 2004. PDF.
Robb, Laura. "What Is Differentiated Instruction?" Scholastic Teachers. Web.