kitchen table math, the sequel: the arithematic of differentiated instruction

Sunday, June 5, 2011

the arithematic of differentiated instruction

Concerned Teacher on differentiated instruction:
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.

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
The arithmetic of differentiated instruction doesn't add up.

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.

1 comment:

Dedicated Teacher said...

I agree that differentiated instruction presents a tremendous challenge to the classroom teacher. I currently teach at a school that has time built in for differentiation in reading, but I've been trying to devise a plan to implement the same practices in math, but I just don't have enough instructional time in the day. When I do try to work with a small group of students, I find that the others do not engage in anything meaningful or that I can't teach the small group because I'm having to constantly intervene with the other groups. I find that my differentiation comes when I'm sitting with a couple of children at recess reteaching a concept or by keeping students in during Music or P.E. This not only keeps them from their much needed recess, but I'm often giving up my much needed planning time. If you come up with a way to make differentiated isntruction work....let us all know.