Adapting Instruction to Different Learning Styles & Processes

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  • 0:00 Differentiation for All
  • 1:10 Differentiation for…
  • 2:04 Process …
  • 4:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Differentiated instruction has several components. One is to consider student needs when teaching. This lesson shows how to differentiate based on learners' needs and shows how to use these ideas in the classroom.

Differentiation for All

Simon loves his job. As a classroom teacher, his primary goal is to help all students do their best. He is careful with planning what he teaches, based on the curriculum and what he knows about his students. While teaching, Simon uses different strategies and methods so all types of students understand. His assessments are flexible and meant to show student improvement as well as understanding.

In other words, he adapts three components of instruction: content, process, and product. By adjusting the process, he changes how information is taught and how students make sense of their learning. Simon thinks deeply about his students. Here, he also considers three aspects:

  1. Student Readiness: the information and knowledge a student already has, such as reading level
  2. Interest: things students show curiosity for, like music or sports
  3. Learner Profile: specific things about a student, such as learning style, talent, intelligence profile, gender, and culture

How does Simon put all of this information to use when teaching? Let's take a look.

Differentiation for Process Learning

A key component to Simon's success as a teacher is that he considers his students and their needs in every aspect of instruction, from planning to assessment. He zooms in on the process of teaching when he differentiates according to how his students make sense of the things he teaches: facts, skills, and ideas central to understanding concepts. Students make sense of material and understand the teaching by participating in learning activities, things they do to use and explore taught information.

Learning activities should include students practicing or using the skill in a way that directly helps them understand concepts. They should also be intentionally aligned to meet learning goals and objectives. Simon makes sure to provide activities that are engaging to students, but aren't fluffers: things kids love to do, are fun and creative, and have nice products, but have little learning value. What does this look like?

Process Differentiation in Action

When providing learning activities in is classroom, Simon offers a variety of choices using different criteria. Remember, Simon considers a student's readiness, interest, and profile when determining learning activities. He builds instruction and learning activities by:

Considering skill level

When designing instruction and learning activities, Simon thinks about how to make sure all students, no matter what level they are on, make progress. For example, he uses literacy centers in his classroom daily. Each center is designed to support learners at different levels. For example, in learning words, some students trace three letter words in sand. Others build longer words with stamps, and still others play sight-word vocabulary games. Each learner has a chance to make progress based on specific needs.

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