Differentiated Instruction in Art

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

In this lesson, teachers will learn strategies for differentiating art instruction. The lesson will provide some tips that teachers can use for general education students as well as students with learning disabilities.

Differentiated Instruction: A Definition

Differentiated instruction refers to modifying the delivery of instruction so that all students have an opportunity to succeed. The content and objectives remain the same for all students, but how students access the content and demonstrate learning are changed according to students' needs and preferences.

Educators often talk about differentiating instruction in core content classes, like math and English, but art class is another area where students require differentiation. Not everyone can paint like Picasso, and the lack of self-confidence can affect students' motivation to learn.

Let's look at some strategies for differentiating instruction in art class.

Student Choices

Students want to feel competent and accomplished in their educational pursuits. One way to help students build confidence is to allow them to choose their own methods to demonstrate learning.

If you assign everyone the same art project, students who lack confidence in that area will not produce their best work. Even if they know a lot about the subject, their finished product won't be an accurate reflection of their ability or knowledge.

The choices you offer depend on what you're assessing. Do you want students to be able to differentiate between historical art periods, such as impressionism and art nouveau? If so, some possible project or assessment options are:

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