Differentiation in the Classroom

Differentiation was a main topic that we had talking about in our class on Thursday. This is a topic that really interests me as my minor is inclusive education, which is all about ensuring differentiation is available for all students who need it. One thing we did in class was look through an old lesson and re-write it to ensure we are adapting it to certain students needs. However I think its really hard to specifically adapt the lessons to each student because you never know what their needs will be until you get in the classroom with them and get to know your students. For example, when I was doing my pre-pre-internship, I had a boy who needed to eat whenever he felt hungry so he was great at self-regulating and would get up and eat whenever he needed without disrupting any of the other students or the class.

I was honestly quite surprised by this because I had kind of assumed that something like that would distract the class. Something that the interns said when they came to talk to us this week stood out to me that also made me realize that getting to know your students is crucial when it comes to differentiation in your classroom. One intern had said that they didn’t receive the student’s CUM files until a month or so in, and that he was really surprised when it said that one particular student was very aggressive and had huge behavioural issues because he got along extremely well. Reading that after getting to know his students was a good thing in that situation because it left any premature judgments behind and he focused solely on his behaviour with him in that classroom.

Differentiation is something that is necessary in all of our classrooms because every single student learns so incredibly different from the other. Figuring out what adaptations are needed and when to implement them is something that will become easier with experience and familiarity with your classroom and students.

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2 thoughts on “Differentiation in the Classroom

  1. Tessa,
    You are so right! Talking about differentiation in the classroom this week has been enlightening, especially by dissecting previous lesson plans to make them more suitable to individual needs. However I also see your point about having trouble adapting our lesson plans now, especially because we do not have students to adapt for. I think that when we are in our own classroom our adaptations are going to be extremely different. I remember the student that needed to eat throughout the class period, and I was also surprised with how he did so without disrupting anyone.
    GOOD JOB TESSA

  2. You point out something important about the nature of differentiation. Because differentiation is so dependent on our individual students, it is nearly impossible to plan for it in advance. We can come up with potential strategies for different types of students, but we cannot anticipate the complex needs of individuals until we meet them. Students are constantly changing, and with them, their learning needs. We need to constantly be prepared to adapt.

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