Every teacher knows that in any classroom there are many student needs. A “one size fits all” approach to learning and teaching is just not effective. The word we use, and often hear about, is differentiation.
We know that we should be doing it, but what do understand what it is, particularly regarding teaching language?
Take look at these graphics from ASCD:
Now that you have a solid idea of what differentiated instruction is and isn’t, let’s turn our attention to doing this effectively in the language classroom.
First we’ll consider how we differentiate. There are two ways to break this down. One is focused on the teacher (instruction) and the other is focused on the student (learning).
- Content: What is learned
- Process: How it’s learned
- Product: What is produced
- Learning Profile
Here are a few articles that go into more details with these possibilities.
- Differentiated Instruction in the Foreign Language Classroom: Meeting the Diverse Needs of All Learners (Toni Theisen)
- Differentiation in the Language Classroom (Susan Reese)
Another useful concept for employing differentiation in the language classroom:
Here are some resources for using these approaches when teaching in the language classroom:
As with any teaching suggestions…there is a lot to consider and take in. I wouldn’t try to do it all at once. Pick a focus area, work on it, modify as needed, try it again, and move on to another suggestion when you’re satisfied with the results.