Instructional Differentiation as a Daily Professional Priority

guest blogger Valinda Kimmel

We are so honored that guest blogger Val wrote our #G2Great post this week. Val is an instructional coach and blogger.

The idea of differentiating instruction to accommodate the different ways that students learn involves a hefty dose of common sense, as well as sturdy support in the theory and research of education (Tomlinson & Allan, 2000). It is an approach to teaching that advocates active planning for student differences in classrooms.

Differentiated instruction can, for many educators, be a Pandora’s Box of sorts. We know there are powerful outcomes when we commit to research-based instructional moves that enrich learning for all kids, but if we’re honest, we also worry about the burden and hardship.

Every educator understands the cost of thoughtful, careful instructional planning based on close observation of the kids in their care. We know it, and at the same time we must admit that for many of us, we dread it.

It’s clear the time, energy, additional research-reading that must take place for an intentional approach that “advocates active planning for (all) student differences…”

This week’s #G2Great chat was the perfect antidote for our teacher fear of all that differentiation entails. We begin, I believe, by reflecting on the very questions guiding the chat tonight; the profound, rudimentary bits of an indomitable approach to teaching that’s committed to personalized instruction for all our kids.

Mary Howard shared, “Differentiation reflects our commitment to see each child through a lens of their uniquely individual learning/emotional needs.”

When we’re able to start from that understanding, that teaching kids is as simple as celebrating their uniqueness, we allow ourselves and our beloved students room for genuine growth. When we’re able to begin with an inclination to see and celebrate all our students’ endowments, we start with promise and not privation. When we choose to think of differentiation as a “student-centered” mindset then we open up the possibility that every day holds tremendous possibility and opportunity for joy. Joy in discovering the unique assets (and needs) of each child in our care.

Joy in the journey.

Enjoy #G2Great Differentiation Tweets below

One thought on “Instructional Differentiation as a Daily Professional Priority”

  1. “we are no longer teaching if what we are teaching is more important than who we teach or how we teach.” -Carol Ann Tomlinson

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