kitchen table math, the sequel: Dedicated Teacher on differentiated instruction

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dedicated Teacher on differentiated instruction

Dedicated Teacher writes:
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 instruction work....let us all know.
* the arithmetic of differentiated instruction


Anonymous said...

There is a place for differentiating instruction, but it can't be the organizing principle for running a classroom. As you point out, there is not enough time, and the issue of how to provide meaningful work for the students who are not being actively "instructed" at any given timel, is huge. At the college level you can tell students that they will be studying/writing on their own for 3hours for each hour they spend in class; at the K-3 level, independent work can only take up a small part of each child's day.

Bostonian said...

If math students are grouped by ability, teachers in the top, middle, and bottom math groups can and should prepare different lessons, because their classes are at different places and learn at different rates on average.

Of course, ability grouping is extremely politically incorrect. If the public school system abandons common-sense practices for ideological reasons, it deserves to go bankrupt, and its employees to lose their jobs.