Thursday, November 18, 2010

differentiated instruction

There is a current discussion on the pros and cons of differentiated instruction on the Teacher Magazine website. Differentiated instruction is intended to provide teachers with a means to accommodate student's variations in learning styles, interests, and growth. Some argue that teachers have difficulty managing chaos and frequently shifting gears from one activity to the next. Many would rather stand at a blackboard and deliver chalk. Few have been adequately trained to do much more than that. It is also more challenging to measure learning success when that success is measured through a wide variety of learning expressions. Do you know your math facts? Well, let's see you dance!

The point of course is that children are individuals, not classes but unique. One approach is to disregard their variations as in conventional schooling. The differentiated learning approach places additional burden on the teacher to contrive various approaches with questionable success. A third approach is to do real stuff. Uncontrived learning in the wood shop potentially engages all areas of natural intelligence. For instance, music. Have you ever listened to a saw or hammer?

This morning the 10th, 11th and 12 grade students came up to the wood shop to build a bird feeder. They are making a visit next week to the convalescent center to share their study of birds with the residents who are often bored, depressed and feel neglected or abandoned by family. It is hoped that a shared interest in ornithology and the opportunity to see birds at the feeder will help alleviate some loneliness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, but who's going to listen to teachers? What do they know?

Great project for the kids, learning on more than one level with those bird feeders.

Mario