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Differentiated Instruction in Health

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, health education teachers will learn about using differentiated instruction with their students. The lesson will include specific strategies for differentiation.

Differentiated Instruction: A Definition

Health class can be challenging for many students with learning disabilities, visual impairments, behavior disorders, and for English learners. Differentiated instruction helps these students, and many others, access the curriculum.

Differentiated instruction is a process of adapting instructional methods, materials, assessments, and the learning environment for students with special needs or learning styles. This lesson looks at differentiating instruction for health education, including strategies for presenting information, using group activities, assessing learning, and making learning environment accommodations.

Presenting Information

Lectures are a common component of health class. You may want to consider the accessibility of your lectures for students with special needs. How can you present information so that all students can understand it? You may want to administer a learning style survey at the beginning of the year to gather data about students' preferences.

Auditory Learners

Some students are auditory learners and learn best when they hear information. You can use audiobooks, videos, discussion, and lectures to help engage these students. You might consider allowing students to record lectures so they can listen to them at home for reinforcement.

Visual Learners

Other students are visual learners and learn best when they see instruction. You can use charts, graphs, images, photographs, slide shows, videos, diagrams, posters, picture books, and models to help these learners process information.

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners take a hands-on approach to learning, and they like to engage in the process. Allow them to play an interactive online game, act out a skit, or build a model.

Examples of Learning Styles

To recap some of the different learning styles, consider these varied approaches for three different students who are learning about the digestive process:

  • Annika, a predominantly auditory learner, may want to listen to the audiobook version of the textbook's chapter on the digestive process.
  • Taylor, a predominantly visual learner, may want to create a diagram of the human body with labels to demonstrate each step of the digestive process.
  • Cameron, a predominantly kinesthetic learner, may want to create a skit with classmates to act out the digestive process.

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