Finding the best way to meet the individual learning needs of each student is one of the great challenges faced by each teacher in the classroom. The early industrial revolutionary model of getting everyone to the same point by the end of their Schooling is no longer relevant. Many measures of successful achievement that surround educators today speak to a broader picture of education. Schools are now assessed and rated on their engagement, satisfaction, retention and wellbeing.
These additional factors add greater complexity in developing and delivering curriculum. Educators are constantly being challenged to develop a deeper understanding of how students learn and how to best cater to their individual needs. Greater emphasis is being placed on growing learners’ social and emotional competencies (Dept. of Education and Training 2014). Shelton outlines that differentiating instruction to identify and develop the way each student can use emotional awareness and social-emotional skills may seem complicated at first (Shelton, Classroom Leadership, Nov. 2003, Vol.7).
Developing an awareness of the need for enhancing differentiation practices across the School can lead to a greater understanding of the need to enhance teaching and learning. The more that teachers get to know the individual needs of their learners, the more they come to realise that a great repertoire of strategies and practices are required. Through developing an enhanced dialogical approach, teachers can simplify this process. Shelton outlines that by developing a greater understanding of students, having them identify areas of growth and having them set goals that will help them achieve is a way of achieving enhanced learning for students (Shelton, Classroom Leadership, Nov. 2003, Vol.7).
What does this look like? How do we find time to do this? What are ways of systematising this approach? And how do we equip educators to embed this as a part of expected practice? These are all questions that require consideration. Maybe you have some suggestions or comments on where this sits in your particular environment. I will be discussing this topic further at the Achieving Learning Differentiation conference this November.
Book your place by September 2nd to save $400.