Differentiated instruction is something we work very hard on at Bertschi, so that we can help every student find success in learning. It focuses on three primary things: content, process and product. For example, a teacher will first identify the content that he or she would like to impart. Then, the teacher determines the process – which may differ from student to student – that will best convey the content. It may be through a reading exercise, a listening assignment, researching on the computer, or a myriad of other strategies. Finally, there is the end product which indicates a student’s understanding of the content. The assignment should be open-ended enough for a child’s strength’s to come through and allow them to tap into the learning style and tools which best suit them.
Teachers will determine the most effective instructional methods based on their assessment of a student’s readiness for the content, the student’s interest in the subject, and each individual’s learning style. All of this occurs within the scope and sequence of our curriculum, and the benchmarks we have established at each grade level. In a nutshell, differentiated instruction allows a teacher to meet each student where they are and take them as far as they can go. It demands that teachers know their students very well, as well as have a range of teaching skills and strategies. It’s not easy, but it’s wonderfully rewarding when you see students of all abilities excited about learning.