Teaching is in the middle of a change, an evolution, a revolution. The intensity of the description depends on whom you ask. One could argue that this change is natural and part of an ebb and flow cycle. This change feels faster, and possibly more frenetic — likely due to technology’s role in the change. So I am curious about: What is good teaching now? What makes a good teacher? Is good teaching now for the 21st-century markedly different than it was previously?
These questions currently seem up-in-the-air. The answers are highly dependent on the perspective, experience and opinion of the author.
According to research no other factor contributed to the change in student’s achievement more than the intervention of differentiated instruction. Many teachers feel overwhelmed if you mention the words ‘differentiated instruction’. But do we understand what it is?
– Students can be in groups based on skills, interests, readiness, or by choice;
– There is a ‘purposeful use of flexible grouping’ while keeping the goals in mind;
– Teachers are ‘teaching up’ and holding students to high standards.
Differentiated instruction is not:
– Creating an individual plan for each of your students;
– Keeping students in stagnant groups based on data from the beginning of the year;
– Teaching only the lower-level students and letting the higher-level students teach themselves.
With the advent of powerful online learning tools students might be able to receive instruction that’s truly individualized to their own needs: a kind of differentiation on steroids.
When searching for technology that promotes differentiated instruction, you should look for how standards correlate, the availability of formative assessments, and options of different skill levels on the same content.
Although students enjoy using technology, a lot of students become even more engaged when they can create.
Differentiated instruction may feel overwhelming, but there are technology tools available to help teachers keep students engaged while matching instruction with students’ instructional level. We need to allow them the opportunity to learn from where they actually are and not where the textbook or curriculum says they need to be. Differentiated instruction will allow students to feel successful and empower them to become lifelong learners.