Many teachers struggle to differentiate instruction for a number of reasons. Every teacher I’ve asked to discuss ways in which they differentiate instruction, have all responded differently. I’ve had teachers tell me they don’t know how to differentiate. Others feel they know how to differentiate, but struggle with ways to differentiate at all times. The main reasons teachers have expressed as to why they don’t differentiate are: they feel they do not have time. They feel they lack the needed resources. They feel they don’t have a true understanding. Finally, they feel meeting the needs of all students is an unrealistic task. Teachers hear about differentiation, but aren’t trained on the why’s and how’s of the differentiation process.
“We define differentiation as a teacher’s reacting responsively to a learner’s needs. A teacher who is differentiating understands a student’s needs to express humor, or work with a group, or have additional teaching on a particular skill, or delve more deeply into a particular topic, or have guided help with reading passage-and the tea...
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...No instructional strategy can compensate for a teacher who lacks proficiency in his content area, is unclear about learning goals, plans an unfocused activity, or does not possess the leadership and management to orchestrate effective classroom functioning.” (Tomlinson & Allen, 2000, pg. 11). Where I agree that tools can basically either make or break a lesson, I don’t agree that a teacher determines their worth at all times. Let’s take the common core standards for example. Standards are created and then adopted by educational officials of a state and school district. However, once the standards are adopted, teachers are just told the standards are what they must use. Teachers never get to know the reasoning behind the standards. They are also never told what exactly is considered “the depth of the standard” or what is considered to be the “rigor” of the standard.
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