What is Differentiated Instruction?
Differentiated Instruction is a method of teaching wherein contents and/or procedures are modified according to the student’s individual abilities and needs. A typical teaching setup involves some form of standard subjects and methods for all, with the assumption that every student has the same level of skills or knowledge. In contrast, a differentiated type of teaching involves varying approaches to cater to the specific needs of students.
Differentiated Instruction proved to be more effective than the traditional educational setup. When you see today’s classrooms, it is but obvious that students come from different backgrounds, ethnically or culturally. There are also differences in languages fully understood and spoken. In some U.S. classrooms, English may not be the first language for some. There’s also the issue of family background and economic status. While many children enjoyed some form of schooling before entering primary level, there are also those that had no learning background even at home. With all these differences, everyone will agree that no two students are alike, and each of these students will learn through different methods.
Instruction may be differentiated through the “Content”. Content refers to the knowledge and skills that will be acquired by students. In this way, students may be given pre-testing to identify which ones need to taught with instructions and which ones can understand concepts easily and proceed with learning application. Differentiating can also be in the “Process”. This involves modifying classroom activities or learning strategies according to the students’ skills. “Product” differentiation meanwhile involves students’ mastery of concepts. In this way, what is expected of lower grade levels must be exceeded by higher grade levels. Differentiation can also involve manipulation of the “Environment” wherein individual learning styles are accommodated.
Differentiated Instruction is employed by many institutions nowadays because of its beneficial effects to the learning process of every individual. Based on research, theory, or experience, every person may able to learn the same lesson, but this lesson is acquired in different ways.