Mr. Shelton has taught high school honors and Advanced Placement or AP mathematics courses for the last twenty-three years. He primarily has used whole-group instruction to present concepts and to model problem-solving processes on the board. His students seemed to learn the information and performed well on in-class tests and AP exams.
Two years ago Mr. Shelton began teaching Algebra I, a required course for all students. Although he is teaching the concepts in the same manner as before, many of his Algebra I students are not performing well. Some of them score poorly on in-class tests, others look bored or even fall asleep during class. Mr. Shelton has heard other teachers talk about things like this in the past but has never experienced them in his own classroom.
Seeking possible reasons for this difference in student performance, he speaks to several Algebra I teachers in his district whose students are performing well. They point out that Mr. Shelton’s Algebra I class probably has students with a wider range of ability levels than he is used to. They explain that they use an approach called differentiated instruction to achieve their results.
Mr. Shelton is not sure what differentiated instruction is so he sets out to learn more.
Here is your Challenge:
What is differentiated instruction?
How do teachers differentiate instruction?
How do teachers prepare their students and their classrooms for differentiated instruction?
What does differentiated instruction look like in the classroom?