Differentiated Instruction/Literacy across Content Areas
Differentiated instruction learning also known as diverse learning refers to a learning program where the instructors ensure the lessons are structured to meet the needs of all students. To achieve this system instructors are required to adjust concepts, amount of work, period of learning, instructional strategies and besides product demonstrated learning. This is because students are different and so is their level and speed of understanding. Therefore, to be able to achieve good results in learning, instructors should take time to understand their students and this should be practiced by all instructors and in all subject areas (Levine, 2002)..
Differentiated learning can be incorporated in different ways in the classroom and the teacher is left with the responsibility of identifying the most applicable ways to teach the entire group of students. The system requires the teacher to incorporate both individual mode of instruction and group based instruction, thus ensuring all students’ needs are meet. The system also requires continuous assessment so that the learning process does not yield work quantity but quality. Multiple approaches are incorporate in learning to accommodate different intelligences that are all student centered. Student in this model will be required to actively participate since lessons are in most cases interesting, active and relevant to them. In that light, differentiated learning method can be incorporated in any learning discipline since it’s expected to be organized and planned.
Planning a learning lesson requires an instructor to take an adaptive approach that will incorporate the needs of all students. Students’ learning preferences differ; some prefer hands on approach (tactile), more active approach (kinaesthetic) or visual approach which requires use of maps and charts. Whichever approach a child prefers a classroom lesson should be able to incorporate all these needs in learning. Literacy across content or differentiation is the best model to incorporate these needs because it embraces the main stages of learning; brain based learning, pre- assessment, ongoing assessment, content and process. This learning system is currently facing severe criticisms on the grounds that it is chaotic since it’s not pre-structured, only applicable to individualized instructions and call for more work for students it still has several benefits (Gardner, 1983).
Strengths of differentiated learning are noted in different curriculums since it addresses individual needs of students and adjusts to them. The system is structured through analyzing and understanding the skills and experience level a specific classroom, thus providing students with an opportunity to dictate how they will participate in a learning lesson. Students are more excited and interested feel the need to participate in a classroom if the learning process is structured to meet their desired topics. For instance, including outside classroom activities in learning enhances meaning to what the students learn in class. When students take ownership of the learning process they incorporate essential elements in learning such as interaction. They further find the desire to improve learning styles by accessing additional information over the internet and demonstrate what they learn in class.
Application of literacy or differentiated approach in learning can be used in any subject; be it science, literature, art or mathematics. It can be applied in different stages of learning, for example teachers can incorporate it when laying down curriculum, developing models, making writing activities and in student evaluation. During application the system dictates whether learning in a specific classroom should be learner responsive or teacher facilitated, however, all these structures are dictated by student desires. Bottom line, differentiated instruction approach proves that students even those in a diverse classroom can succeed using their own individualized approach (Levine, 2002).
Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books
Levine, Mel (2002). A Mind at a Time. New York: Simon & Schuster.