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Differentiate your classroom to meet the needs of every student

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

It is important to have a classroom that is a place where everyone in the classroom can feel comfortable and can be themselves. It is important that everyone in the classroom feels safe. It is important to make sure that everyone in the classroom feels heard. What you implement into your classroom today can help your students achieve a full and rich education.

Some of us bring professional attire; some of us don shorts and sandals. Some of us create a warm and inviting learning atmosphere through music, props, or art; some of us don't. Differentiation is doing things differently.

From an experiential standpoint, we may apply the term 'differentiate' to the uniqueness we bring to our education. It can be simple. It can be complex. For an accounting class, you might see student groups. For a math class, you might see isolated math problems, labeled solutions, or curriculum modules. Education has no one-size-fits-all curriculum — there are hundreds of different ways to teach a subject.

The better you get at improving differentiation in your environment, the better educated and prepared students are going to be.

Understand your students to create differentiated lessons for them

Differentiation is about much more than simply giving different assignments to different students. Differentiated instruction means teaching the same lesson in a way that’s tailored to each student’s needs. It's about creating a classroom environment that helps every student succeed and learn at their own pace, no matter how fast or slow they may move through the curriculum. It's about creating a classroom where every student has a voice and a chance to shine. It's about making a classroom feel like home; safe, warm, and inviting — so every child can spend a productive, rich, and enjoyable day in it. Before you can do that, you have to get to know your students and figure out what they need in order to succeed in your class.

The world of education is changing. Now, more than ever, teachers are being asked to differentiate their classrooms. Some teachers have been doing this for years — but many have not. If you're a new teacher or a veteran who hasn't differentiated in some time, the thought of planning exercises, monitoring time, and getting the most out of differentiation can seem overwhelming.

Not all teachers feel comfortable with the amount of differentiating they need to do. It is possible for a teacher to teach effectively and do a good job day in and day out, but still have a lot of individual instances of feeling overwhelmed. So, if you're feeling it, too, rest assuredly knowing that you are not alone.


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