Differentiated instruction is a total scam. You MUST teach in order for students to learn, and you must offer practice time during which you are available to lend assistance. No superteacher can do both at multiple levels and through multiple modalities daily in the course of a single 55 minute period class, and do it well.The arithmetic of differentiated instruction doesn't add up.
Teachers are not the folks who have perpetrated this myth. Teachers have had this myth forced upon them by administrators, and as far as I know, colleges have promoted this nonsense.
Concerned Teacher responding to Protecting Students from Learning
Put 20 kids at all levels of abilities and interests in the same classroom for 55 minutes.
Seat them in pods.
Have the teacher deliver a 10 minute mini lesson, after which she moves around the class working one-on-one with 20 different children.
While the teacher is making her way around the room, the other 24 children do whatever they've been told to do without being able to ask a question or get feedback. If they've been told to work together, then a lot of them are going to be copying whatever the quickest child in the pod is doing.
The total number of productive minutes an individual child can experience is 12 to 15 out of the 55, max, and that's assuming that the mini lesson was pitched to the child's level.
If the lesson was over a child's head, he or she has just two or three minutes of comprehensible direct instruction from the teacher.
If the lesson was below a child's level, he or she also has just two or three minutes of useful direct instruction from the teacher. If that.