SPED 334: Differentiated instruction for a Diverse Classroom
“Sometimes it is okay to let your students demonstrate, in different ways, that they learned the material. You could have kinesthetic learners make something while visual learners…”
And that’s when I stopped listening.
That statement really bothered me: “Sometimes it is okay to let your students demonstrate, in different ways, that they learned the material.”
This is Sped 334: DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION for goodness sakes. Why wouldn’t every teacher strive to let their students show, in different ways, that they did in fact learn the material?
Well, you know what? Sometimes “sometimes” doesn’t always work for everyone.
“Sometimes” definitely didn’t cut it for me.
I glanced around the room to see my classmates. They weren’t upset. They weren’t alarmed. They just sat. Most of them were probably just waiting for the next four minutes to breeze by so they could leave.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
“And auditory learners could…”
Fight of flight?
My hand shot up before she could even finish what auditory learners could “sometimes” do to demonstrate their learning.
I’m not even sure if I waited to be called on. At any rate, I calmly said, “I don’t know why we would sometimes let students choose how they can demonstrate their learning. You said we should only ‘sometimes’ do that when it should really be all the time. I…”
I’m not sure the professor even waited for me to finish before she said:
“Exactly correct!!! You can leave this class! A+ for the course!”
I knew right away that she, too, believed in differentiated instruction for everyone all of the time. I honestly think she didn’t realize what she had previously said.
She proceeded to speak about school districts that work to squelch differentiation in the classroom. Again, I had to speak up, “There is so much research out there about how differentiation helps students learn better!”
I’ll admit it, by that point, I was pretty roused up.
I didn’t mean to put that exclamation mark at the end of my sentence…it just sort of happened.
“That is exactly right! 100%!”
In all seriousness, I am so grateful this experience happened today. Because of it, I was presented with the opportunity to speak for what real education should be.
I’m also feeling confident to take my educational beliefs to other situations, too. There is a variety of opinions about what education should and shouldn’t be, but by placing students first, most of these arguments are silenced.
I glad I said something. If I didn’t, who knows, maybe a fellow classmate would really believe it is okay to differentiate only sometimes in their own classroom.
I know I will no longer passively sit around while my educational beliefs are compromised.