Dr. Tomlinson’s three conclusions about teaching and learning, which will create effective differentiation, are as follows:
1) We must know the different learners in our classroom and use this knowledge to help them “make meaning”, to connect them to whatever we are trying to teach.
2) We must keep a high-quality curriculum and instruction in our classroom, preparing to lead our learners “beyond their independence level” with a main goal not to lose any “potential brainpower”.
3) Our success as educators will only happen if we “build bridges between the learner and learning”, helping them to understand how the things we are teaching in the classroom will fit into their own lives, because school cannot be “like a shoe that’s shaped for someday else’s foot”.
Unlike in my home, where I have only two different young human beings who need me, in the classroom I have 17 different minds, from different homes and unfamiliar cultures. So what can I really do to help them? Even more stressful is to think about how to use differentiated instruction and still follow the “prescribed curriculum” with all its’ assessments and deadlines? In one of her videos, Dr. Tomlinson spoke about this concern and she made sound very easy by saying...
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...called differentiation. Nevertheless, from this assignment I come out more comfortable to the inevitable fact that, as human beings, my students are different. They come from different backgrounds and different lives experiences. Every day they show me their different abilities and disabilities and I can never doubt that, when presented with the right tools, at their own pace, they are ALL capable of learning. Moreover, if I want to be a more effective teacher, I will remember that I am human too and that I have my flaws and preferences, then I will work hard to cultivate my appreciation “for children not so easy to automatically embrace” while drawing energy “from those students whom” I find “automatically delightful”. As an educator, the most life-changing gift that I can give, not only to my students but to myself, is to see that every child is capable of learning.
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