*By Karen S. Voytecki, Ph.D.2001 CEC Clarissa Hug Teacher of the YearAssistant Professor, East Carolina University*

In addition to being able to communicate and collaborate with other professionals (i.e. general education teachers, special educators, paraprofessionals, speech/language pathologists, etc.), it is also essential to focus on the instructional component that equates to success for students with exceptionalities who are included in general education classrooms. Although there are numerous factors that must be taken into account when designing instruction for today's students (i.e. students' background knowledge, current skill levels, interest, relevance to their lives, etc.), each lesson must be differentiated to meet the needs of the diverse students that compose the classes of our schools.

Differentiated instruction meets the needs of ALL students by responding to their varying levels of background knowledge, skill readiness, language acquisition, learning styles, interests, and response modes. The process of differentiated instruction is an instructional approach that is specifically tailored to address differing abilities within the same class. Differentiated instruction individualizes the overall lesson to maximize each learner's potential and academic success.

Differentiated instruction begins first and foremost with student assessment. Based on the needs assessment, instruction can be differentiated by content, process, or product.

The following weblinks provide more details and insights for effective differentiated instruction techniques:

*Differentiated Instruction* by Mark Walker (posted at OSEP Ideas that Work website)

http://www.ed.gov/teachers/how/tools/initiative/summerworkshop/walker/walker.pdf

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) Universal Design for Learning

http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_diffinstruc.html

**Print Resources:**

*Differentiating Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities: Best Teaching Practices for General and Special Educators.*(Available at the CEC Store: http://www.cec.sped.org/ScriptContent/Orders/index.cfm?section=CEC_Store)

Grahm Batson says

In the rush to create programs and plans that create extra work for teachers, we forget what is intended of education.Never when we read, discuss, or develop inclusive ideas do we talk about the effects of this on the regular learners. It is time to regain our world standing as the leader in education and return to solid trusted methods of presenting material, stop teaching to test, and quit creating equity where there can not be equity. As a special education teacher I know that we need to provide the best available education we can but not at the expense of another’s education. Differentiating Instruction is another ‘”plan” that sounds good creates a lot of workshops and makes money for those who developed it or teach it. We should Have enough guts to say to parents this placement is not the best for your child and teach common sense education that uses good ole problem solving, troubleshooting ideas, and common methods that lead to an answer. Focus on providing the best available learning experience for all learners.If the best a student can do is learn to feed themselves then that is the best available. I have high expectations for my learners based on ability and understanding. Differentiating Instruction ends up being to difficult.to hard.ortodistance to work so the education goes to the lower end of ability not the upper.

Karen Mitton says

I am a supporter of inclusion because I have seen it work, but I also believe we need to recognize that the LRE for some more involved students is not the general education classroom for the entire day.

I believe differentiated instruction works for the majority, but not for all. At the same time, I am concerned that through No Child Left Behind and the accountability “high stakes” assessment that is now required of all students, even differentiated instruction is not enough to bring our special education students to the proficient level by the “deadline.” How can “high stakes” assessment be fair for all students, even with the allowed accomodations? Can we really expect students who are below grade level to perform on a proficient level to grade-level norms??

Lacey says

I understand the importance of the point made in this article: that inclusion of students and differentiation benefits all students, not just those with exceptionalities.

Differentiation meets the criteria for universal design. Organizing lesson plans in a diverse manner and giving students options of what to learn and how to learn it benefits all students, not just those with exceptionalities. As educators provide more options to students and allow them to study what interests them in a way that meets their learning needs, they will find that more of their students take personal responsibility for their learning. I know that as a student (especially when I was younger) I’m the most excited to learn about a new subject when I get to pick what I’m studying. For example, two of my most exciting classes in high school were current events and US History because I spent full semesters studying what I cared about: endangered species and NASA’s Apollo Program. I have seen this response in other students as well. My teachers didn’t have to teach me anything about these topics- I took the initiative and learned. My teachers’ only responsibility was to relate my interest back to the general principles they taught in class so I would find those interesting as well.

This method should not be restricted to the general education classroom either. Tutoring in special education classes, I’ve seen too many “one size fits all” attitudes of teaching students with exceptionalities. If the LRE environment for a child is not in the general education classroom, they should still be entitled to the most effective teaching methods.

I do recognize two drawbacks to this approach, however, and they are related. First, in order to provide the most appropriate options to one’s students an educator must know their interests and needs. This takes time, the second disadvantage of differentiation. It does take more time to develop more than one option. I acknowledge as well that it can also save time in the long run as students learn faster and easier. There will be less time spent ensuring that all students are progressing and grasping the curriculum because they will be more likely to do so originally.

I’m all for differentiation in the classroom to meet the needs of all students and to help them to progress by allowing them to learn in areas that are important to them.

Lucy Giblette says

I completely agree with this article. Differentiated instruction in the classroom is crucial to effectively reaching ALL students. Each child is different and each child has unique needs, talents, and abilities. To use only a “one size fits all” teaching method will fail to reach the majority of students. Reflecting back, the classes where I felt I learned the most and benefited the greatest, were the ones where my teachers or professors understood this concept and applied differentiated instruction. For example, One of my favorite classes was a beginning Spanish class. My teacher used a variety of ways to reach all of her students. She consistently mixed up the classroom setting. Some days class was held outside. Other times, the desks were moved into different areas. Also, her teaching methods were always varied. We had small group activities, large group activities, videos, projects, even dramatizations. Further, through her differentiated instruction, she had transformed the classroom into a place where we felt comfortable as students, and where the classroom was all about us: the students. She used her role as teacher to become the facilitator of learning and growth. From her example, and from other teachers like her who applied this principle of differentiated instruction into the classroom, I know firsthand how using this idea will reach and benefit all students. It is truly important to apply this into our classrooms as well.

Leslie Fester says

I understand and agree with this article. Inclusion allows students with disabilities to learn in general classroom settings. When I teach it’s going to change my instruction because I’m dealing with diverse students with different abilities, backgrounds, concepts, students with accommodations they need and students who respond to instructions differently. For example, if I’m teaching and I have a student who has ADD I would alter my teaching curriculum to the student who is disabled. I would also work my teaching strategies around their needs. If I’m teaching a class of first graders I could approach the class with blocks to keep the student with ADD still interested in learning about adding and subtracting. If I ask the class what two plus two is and have them show me what the answer is with the blocks, this will still keep the student with ADD occupied and involved.

Placement of students will change in the inclusion classroom because of their behavioral, academic and physical needs. Any disabled students will be in the front row so they will receive more direct attention. For example, my brother has ADD and in classroom settings he was placed in the front row as a young child. This helped him focus more on the teacher and kept him from getting off task. Those students who don’t need as much attention can be placed on the sides or in the back of the classroom. I will make these choices based on their Individualized Education Plan.

My teaching style will change because I will use more differentiated instruction with my students to assist those who are disabled. In order to make room I will use less inquiry, cooperative learning, etc. Direct instruction is usually effective with both disabled and regular classroom students.

I will use pre assessment before instruction to see what my students already know and can’t identify. I will build my instruction off what my students do know to cover what they don’t recognize.

janelle says

I agree with this article that we should do better to include students with exceptionalities in our general classroom. This can mean creating lesson plans, group projects, fun outdoor activities, and other types of teaching that involve all of the students, including those with a disability. When a student feels included and has a sense of belonging in the class, they tend to learn better. Group projects and other methods allow students to work together and cooperate to include everyone in the class. They not only teach each other and work as a team, but they also usually grow in stronger friendships as they get to know one another. In a way, I know it is possible to adjust lesson plans to fit a student struggling in a particular subject, comes from a different ethnic background, maybe has a language barrier, or even a disability. We need to accept the fact that diversity exists in the classroom and adjust our ways of instructing our students to best suit their learning.

Shizuka says

While I was reading the article, I nodded by myself as looking the screen. I truly agreed with the article. I learned that how much important for the teachers to make a differentiation in the classroom. The article and the instruction by Mark Walker mentioned that each student is really difference than others. That is true! If the lessons always have variety, then students do not get tired of. Lather than that, they will be more excited if the lessons are prepared in diversity.

When I was in English conversation class in back home, I was excited to go there every week. Because the teacher prepared the lessons in different way each week, I did not want to miss them. One day, he challenged us to sing a song in English. On the other day, he brought some funny stuff, and put them into the box. After that, I had to guess what the things by using my hands. From the lessons, I noticed that varieties of lessons are attractive. Further, using the attractive lessons is able to get students’ attention more.

In the future, I would like to apply the principle for my teaching.

Erica H. says

This article brings up a very important, yet basic principle of effective teaching.

What I love about Differentiated instruction is that as it is used to help each individual student progress in their best learning environment, also helping teachers to find each students unique learning styles. As the teacher allows variety, the student finds success, and it is then present to both the student and teacher how it is that one learns most sufficiently. Another benefit would be that the teacher would come to know each of their students on a more personal level which allows progressing in itself. It’s a total win win situation.

I understand that it may take more time and thought when preparing differentiated teaching lessons but if we do truly desire success for each of our students as individuals we will sacrifice that time as our duty as special education teachers, and general ed. teachers alike. That does not dismiss the freedom to inform parents that a student is not in (in)adequate placement. But if it so be, then again it is our duty to create whatever progress we are capable of into that students educational experience.

We need to be prepared and have the mentality to not just teach the classroom, but to teach each individual student within the classroom and help, not only them, but ourselves as teachers to find their greatest learning techniques and induce greater progression in their lives.

Nathan says

This really is a great Blog article, which addresses a very important topic – inclusion. It addresses the importance of inclusion, while also addressing the challenges and pointing out strategies for inclusion. It tells us why differentiated instruction is so important to the inclusion model. Differentiated instruction is important to students with exceptionalities, but I think the point is made that it is also important to students without exceptionalities; as the author stated, “Differentiated instruction meets the needs of ALL students”, not just those with exceptionalities. The important focus here is on the needs of the students, all of the students. This can be difficult for a teacher, but it is important essential to the students. While this article does not give the solution to the difficulty to differentiated instruction, it does give starting points and point you in the right direction. The rest is up to us.

Tyler K. says

Dealing with students that have exceptionalities is a responsibility that all teachers should have. It is very important for teachers of all grade levels and subjects to learn how to effectively help students with exceptionalities. Inclusion of exceptional students is great for their psyche. It will greatly help those students learn and feel more comfortable with all other students. As long as teachers want to help exceptional students, then they need to be willing to deal with them in their own classrooms. Teachers need to learn to work with exceptional students in order to be able to create instruction that best helps them. Differentiated instruction is an effective tool that a teacher can use to be equitable to their students. It takes more work because a teacher has to prepare more and have more options available for their varying students but it is definitely more effective in a students learning. Once each student in a class is learned about then a teacher can go about creating ways to differentiate instruction that best suits each child’s needs. I strongly agree with this article and I want to help all students in the future that come into my classroom.

Louena H. says

I found this blog so true. We need to include all students whether they have disabilities or not. They are all the same and they all want success in life. All students are equal when they are in general education classrooms or special education. It is our duties as teachers to teach what we can and treat every student equally. Teachers expect the best from their students and having everyone participate in classroom activities will not make each student with a learning disability feel like they don’t have any need for special education. Having students in a classroom with different cultural backgrounds may be a disadvantage but when there is differentiated instruction it will be able to meet the needs of all students; responding to their background knowledge, learning styles and so on. I agree that if differentiated instruction is used in the classroom each student will be able to feel comfortable to know that they will be taught according to the ways of how they learn a lesson whether in a general classroom or special education class.

Rachel says

Education over the past century has experienced dramatic changes. Today’s classrooms are primarily student-centered. Teachers have recognized the one-size-fits-all principle when referring to a lesson is a false concept. Each classroom is filled with great diversity in race, religion, abilities, practices, etc. Learning style is not the same for any two students. Thus, teachers are called upon to create an enriching environment that will engage all learners. This is easier said than done. Teachers must be flexible, able to make adjustments and assess students in many ways. Teachers must provide ways to allow students to become decision makers, active learners, and problem solvers. If students are constantly spoon fed information, with heavy emphasis on grades, students will not achieve meaningful education. Regarding students with special needs, accommodations need to be made in the classroom and in the curriculum. Children with disabilities should be educated as much as possible in the regular classroom. These students want to be treated as normal and interact with their peers. When necessary, special attention outside the regular classroom is appropriate and beneficial. I have a friend with minor retardation who needed to be taken aside sometimes, but for the most part can function in regular classroom situations. As teachers, we need not limit our students, but rather we should be encouraging them to do as much as they can on their own and help them become self-reliant workers. Our focus is on helping our students and adjusting our teaching to what is best for them.

Kaite says

Inclusion has been a huge topic in the education world lately. Many educators are trying to find different teaching methods to enhance the students learning experience and different tools to enable the student to learn easily, but what it really all boils down to is the ability of the teacher. Sure there are techniques that help when teaching, but techniques can not do the teaching. With inclusion, children with disabilities are not the only student that should be looked at. Exceptional students in differing subjects are also expected to be included in the general class room even though they are above the level of everyone else. The teacher can either make or break the students learning experience. A teacher with the desire to do their best and go over the top to reacher every child’s potential is the teacher with the most success. It is the teachers responsibility to find out the student’s weaknesses and design the lesson plans accordingly. I am not saying this is easy by any means, but the teacher should use the students with the higher abilities to help with those with disabilities. There are many different tactics a teacher can use, the teacher just need to have the desire to help their students reach their full potential by using the methods and tactics offered.

Lindsey says

Every student that enters a new classroom each year has many different needs, they all come from diverse backgrounds, and they have different cultures. Some may not be skilled readers, some may have difficulty with mathematical problems, some may be very gifted; every student is different, and every student learns differently his or her own specific way. As teachers, our role is to teach in a way that every student is given the opportunity to learn.

To me it seems that the most effective way for teachers to give this equal opportunity to every student, is to make individualized learning plans. Plans that will give every student the opportunity, the challenge of learning, advanced goals that can be reached, and learning tools that will push every student to learn. These differentiating lesson plans will be the means by which students on different levels of learning will each have different individualized goals. By using creative teaching techniques and individualized teaching plans, teachers can be effective in the classroom.

Andrew says

I agree that it is very important to include all students in class so they would not have to be left out. As a future PE teacher, I will try to modify my lessons so that I will get all my students involved. I have been getting advice from other PE teachers of how I should modify my lessons if there is a disabled kid in my class. I do not want any of my students to be left out of any activities or feel like they have to go a step back because of their peer’s disability. I want everyone to have fun but at the same time make it challenging for everyone no matter what skill level they are.

In my opinion, the most effective PE teacher will help every student learn no matter what types of skills they have or how quick of a learner they are. Disabled students who do not feel accepted by their peers will most likely not want to participate during an activity in PE class. This creates a barrier for the student to learn. Teachers need to build that bridge for those students by helping them feel accepted by others to participate in activities. It is the teacher who is responsible for having everyone involved. In the future, I will try to build friendships, teamwork, and lifelong learning by including all of my students in all of my activities.

Naomi A. says

This article has definitely reinforced the idea of the importance of an individualized and personalized education to me. I believe that this is one of the components that make special education so “special” and unique. The key to appropriate special education is also through individualization, which is shown through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) that is implemented here in the United States.

This component on the other hand makes it vey hard and laborious to be a teacher because there are so many factors that we must consider with our students before we give them their appropriate instruction. In a way, teachers have to be like “superman” and process multiple factors at once and try to “read” or assess their students’ interest, culture, current skills levels, etc. Also they also need to find a way to tailor their instruction to all the various types of students within the same class. Now, I can finally understand why people say that teachers earn less than they deserve because they do A LOT! We cannot expect every student to be the same (this isn’t very realistic), therefore we should not expect to teach everyone the same. Heavenly Father created all of us differently, whether we have disabilities or have no disabilities, whatever our culture is, or whatever our education background happens to be. As teachers, we should accept and go even as far as to embrace these differences that make us not like anybody else. By assessing their abilities through a needs analysis, we can come up with the appropriate instruction for them in which their learning will have optimal potential and academic success.

Jessica says

Maybe it is simply my naivety, but I don’t understand why there is even a question as to whether or not differentiated instruction be applied in classrooms, be it a SPED or a general ed classroom. Obviously the needs of every student are quite individual and so why not prepare teachers for this through educating them in the principles of differentiated instruction? In doing so, teachers can utilize this technique within their classrooms even if they do not plan their lesson in a such a way.

I find this attention to the specific needs of individual students to be of the utmost important as instructors face programs such as No Child Left Behind. In an effort to meet the standards set by an increasingly involved national government the craft of pedagogy is being destroyed. Without the individualized attention that differentiated instruction provides teachers cannot hope to accomplish AYP and still maintain a classroom where critical thinking is taught. All to often, in an effort to meet AYP standards, teachers resort to regurgitation techniques and this is where the student suffers; this way of learning is fine for now, but what occurs in higher education when a student must demonstrate problem solving or discuss information instead of simply filling in the correct bubble on an exam? In applying differentiated instruction within in every classroom teachers can meet students needs while still creating success for the classroom as a whole. Isn’t this simple concept the goal of every teacher at heart?

zach says

A teacher is not a teacher only in the classroom setting; there are time consuming preparations for lesson planning, constant thoughts of each student, and when in situations outside of the school environment, etc. One never knows of when certain situation approaches where they have to switch to “teacher mode”, a teacher has to be prepared at all times and all places. Be and act like a teacher in all time.

Teaching is underrated. More and more issues, concerns, training, instructions, etc. that are added to the “to do list” that are taken into account daily. The students that a teacher has in their class are not the only living organism that they care about (family, children, spouse, significant other, pet, etc.) Too much are expected from a teacher. Time is another factor a teacher takes in account. But as a teacher, the student is one of the top priorities. The special needs each student may or may not have, was and still is thought of when planning the lesson. The Scientific Approach is often practiced in daily teaching situations, “trial and error”. Trying to find the most effective way to teach a class where the lesson will deeply affect each individual in a positive and effecting way that will benefit their learning process. A teacher should be humbled to also be in “student mode”, learning new ways to teach, knowing different ways that a person learns.

Communication is essential: communication and feedback from Teachers with other professionals (especially those who are involved with particular student), teachers and the parents/guardians of the students, and teachers and students. Differentiated Instruction should not only be used when students with exceptionalities are present in the class room, but used in regular mainstream classes. Every student is different, and do contribute that special characteristic to the rapport of the classroom when projected in a positive and responsible fashion. Every lesson, principle, method learned by the students is rewarding for the teacher.

The goal is to have every student in the classroom learn the principle and/or lesson prepared by the teacher. Differentiated Instructions should already be implied by the teacher. Collaboration amongst peer educating professionals, and parents…, should also be taken in respect for there are countless ways to teach something. The questions should really be: Will the teacher take the time to apply it in their daily lesson plan? When and how?

Eventually, all teachers will end up differentiating their instructions. Communication is essential, as well as consistency.

Janet says

I think that using the technique of differentiation in teaching would lead to a huge growth in the acceleration of the learning of all students in a class room. While this seems to be a simple thing to do it is in actuality very difficult. I believe that a lot of time is wasted in the classroom when teachers are forced to focus their attention on students that are struggling while the rest of the class sits around and waits. While the students that have difficulty learning the material do warrant special attention, teachers should use the technique of differentiation to help all the students in their class to reach their full potential. This will require a lot of preparation and work by teachers but the results of their work would be amazing. The challenge would be for teachers to keep the class at around the same level. It would be easy to let the advanced learners get so far ahead that it would be impossible to present a lesson plan to the whole class. I believe a great way to help keep everyone on the same level is to have student who have mastered the subject help those that are struggling. While this technique is more labor intensive for teachers, I believe that it would help students reach their full potential.

Katie says

I love this concept of differentiated instruction because it will harness teachers’ attention and efforts towards the benefit of all the students. Often the focus is on the higher performing students and/or the lower performing students, and the kids who are stuck in the middle are sometimes left to fend for themselves. The idea of having every student assessed is great because it will help teachers see where each and every student’s strengths and weaknesses are, and what their instructional needs are. With this differentiated instruction, we can also be able to reduce the amount of labels placed on the students. We may see that a student with dyslexia who struggles greatly in English may be excellent in Math, and with this new type of instruction they will not be seen merely as an learning disabled student. This will really help me as a future teacher to help every one of my students to succeed.

Kellen says

As I now am teaching in a classroom, I have noticed this first hand. When teaching you need to find what is best for the class and not only one individual. Sometimes this leads to some students having a more difficult time understanding the material because they cannot understand the material the way it’s presented. Although as educators we want each student to achieve their full potential, it is difficult to achieve this. The article brings up a good point, but it leaves out the point of how much extra time is needed to make an individual lesson plan for each student. Although we need to focus of the needs of the students what can be an approach is to find a way to work with each student individual maybe during classroom work to assess their needs and problems. Therefore, you can teach towards the class, but help the individual. As one because more familiar with their class, helping every student to understand will become much easier. However, trying to create a lesson to help every student is a task that might take too much time and effort of a teacher.

Lo Tsin Wing says

Hong Kong classrooms usually have at least 30 students in each class. Although there weren’t any student with exceptionalities, but many were from different family background, environment, religion and cultures. Many of us being students had often felt left out and fall behind easily in many classes, because with one teacher, students do not have all the attention. Besides, many teachers in Hong Kong expect students to find their way to follow along with the pace in the classroom, such as pay full attention, take notes and prepare lesson before coming to class. It is our own responsibility to be always on the learning mode. If students do fall behind, teachers would suggest students to be at private tutoring. However, somewhat is true that student should do all they can in the classroom, but it is a fact that different students must have different levels of background knowledge, reading skill, learning style and so on. If teachers generalized all students to be at the same level, the lesson will probably not so helpful for ALL students in the class. When some students fall much behind than the others, they will start to loose focus and interest in learning process, this can result in low self-esteem and frustration to students. Especially students with exceptionalities, they even need extra attention from the teacher, they are most likely to fall behind and loose focus in class. Teachers play a very important role in a classroom, if the class is teaching in a slower pace and with instructional component; this can benefit ALL students in their learning ability. Giving enough information and instruction is not so much as giving the answer, but students can learn much more than they were expected to know something before they actually learn it or experience it. Differentiated instruction may need so much time to plan and prepare for each lesson, but students being able to educated and learned is what most important to us teachers.

Many students with exceptionalities have their strengths and potential to learn things, one day that they will have to be self-determine, to be responsible to their own family and to the community their live in. If we give up educating them just because they are slower learner, we can lose many good employees and good citizen in any society.

Crystal says

It is essential that the lessons we teach in our classroom meet the needs of ALL students. Whether they have a disability or not, no student deserves to be left out. As an aspiring elementary education teacher, it is my goal to encourage unity in my classroom. I believe in group activities, varied seating assignments, and any opportunity that gives my students a chance to meet and work effectively with someone new. If my students feel comfortable with one another, I believe that class participation will be successful, and it will help create a comfortable learning environment for the students. Once my students feel comfortable working with one another, it’ll make it easier for me to be able to teach the class using differentiated instruction. I hope to be able to give lessons that everyone can accomplish with understanding. I wouldn’t want to give one student more attention than another, but at the same time make it challenging for everyone no matter what skill level they’re at. I would try to accomplish this by first, identifying the individual needs of each student. Once I have identified the challenges that each student faces, I would try to prepare my lessons with those challenges in mind, and incorporate them into my daily lesson plans. For example, if some students have trouble working in groups, I would make more group activities, rearrange the seating assignments from time to time, and prepare educational games that encourages students to work together as a team . Or if one student has trouble reading and another has trouble comprehending, I would go around the classroom and have everyone take turns reading aloud regularly, and summarize as a class what we read. By incorporating the challenges of my students in my lesson plans, I hope to be able to maximize each learner’s potential and academic success.

Edris says

With inclusion, all teachers have to remember that their practices must be aligned with the requirements of IDEA and the individual child’s IEP plus the particular nature of the behavioral styles of students with particular disabilities. Awareness of the intentions of IDEA and leveling the field for students with disabilities within the regular classroom must be reflected in the practices of the regular education teacher regardless of the high expectations for all students. Students with disabilities demand differences in instruction and consideration for social differences.

Kristina Sovasova says

I agree with this article that states that there need to be an inclusion among general education classrooms. I really feel that there is a need in providing appropriate services especially for students with exceptionalities. There are a lot of things that can be taken into account in terms of the student but I think that it is right and worth it for all for the learning of the children .It actually helps these children develop friendships among themselves because they have diverse children in the classroom with and without disabilities. In addition to this the child is the center of education and with that allowing the child to learn in groups or on a one to one instruction is appropriate.

It is amazing how inclusion in the classrooms creates a new environment of quality learning .This meets the individual needs of those students who now have the opportunity to learn as much as they can because of the attention that is given to them. There are also a lot more activities that these children can do like art e.t.c .Hence when there is communication among students it helps them become acquainted a lot more with the teacher and the teacher with the students. Inclusion brings these children together, regardless of what exceptionalities they have ,every child deserves the best therefore educators have that responsibility to include them as part of the circle of inclusion.

Yu-Han Chen says

DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION

Differentiated instruction would meet the needs of all students, however to accomplish this it would require many details to consider.

There are laws governing the safety of the students and the teachers as to class size and student ability. An example of this could be during a cooking class where multi languages are present. Instruction on heating of stove tops maybe interpreted differently. This presents individual as well as collective safety.

One must consider testing of students for placement into which class the student is allowed to go into to assure learning will take place. Or would you even consider placement testing if you remain true to the definition of “Differentiated Instruction”. This meaning all students regardless of like abilities could be placed in the same class room almost demanding equal instruction time. This brings us to the matter of what is the educational training for a teacher in order for that teacher to instruct a variety of capabilities. Not only would this teacher have to be general education teacher, special education teacher, a specialist in linguistics, and a classroom manger.

This teacher of differentiated instruction would need to understand the state guide as to how much knowledge is required to be taught. The teacher would have to learn how to do “layered curriculum for different abilities thus: A set of vocabulary for each group, different expectations for each group, some will have one assignment while other groups will have more depending on their ability, this can only be done if you do not have severe student disabilities, and would the class qualify for teacher aids or volunteers.

Without teacher aids, volunteers, smaller class sizes, and more budgets for teacher salaries, differentiated instruction has an uphill battle to overcome to be thought of as a standard for classroom instruction.

Sione Uasila'a says

I agree with the article that it is very important to include all students in class so they would not have to be feeling lonely and not important to learn. The article reinforced the idea of the importance of an individualized and personalized education to me. I love the idea of differentiated instruction because it will lead the teacher’s attention towards the benefit of all the students. I believe that sometime a lot of time is wasted in the classroom when teachers are forced to focus their attention on students that are struggling while the rest of the class sits around and waits. Although, there is a need to focus on every single student in the classroom we also need to find a way to work with each student individual during classroom work. A teacher should be humbled, love, learning new ways to teach, knowing different ways that a person learns. To me it seems that the most effective way for teachers to give this equal opportunity to every student. A teacher should plan that they will give every student the opportunity, challenge of learning and learning tools that will push every student to learn. I think a teacher need to be creative in lesson plan. As a future teacher (does not matter what level you teach) we should be wise, be smart, and be a good example. We also need to be well preparing. For example, I was a substitute teacher before and I did not do a good job at preparing lesson but as reading this article it help me and persuade me to be more focus at preparing because I know that every student is very important.

Question – What is the best way to a teacher?

Suwon Lee says

The inclusion of students with exceptionalities is essential for our

educational system. All students must have equal opportunities in the classroom. Having an environment with both students with and without exceptionalities provides benefits an opportunities to both groups. To make this system effective, there are some principles that teachers should know.

Knowing concepts and principles correctly helps students with

exceptionalities to be supported and to be included in a differentiated classroom. Knowledge of concepts and principles will help students to better understand the subject taught by the teacher. Once students come to understand the concept, teachers can make goals which will help the students to know their exceptionalities.

Classroom management is as a significant element as knowing concepts correctly is. Teachers should have various strategies to maximize students’ exceptionalities. This is the hardest challenge for teachers because students have different backgrounds, expectations, and learning speeds. Teachers should put unlimited trials and effort into understanding what teaching strategies work well for their students.

Assessment and support is essential to develop students. Teachers should know about their students like which parts of their teaching methods will best help their exceptional students. Feedback helps students to find out their abilities, and through providing feedback, the teacher can help the students even more.

These three principles are effective ways to include students with exceptionalities in a differentiated classroom. Better understanding of exceptionalities is an important key in unifying all students in a differentiated classroom.

Nephi Tanuvasa says

I agree wholeheartedly with the fact that our instructions and lessons must be customized with each and every student. The research of Marian Diamonds proves that no two people think or learn exactly the same way. We must be able to add flexibility to our understanding of the subject we teach as well as how we deliver it. Now creating a customized lesson for each and every student seems like an impossible task to complete because of the limitless ways of confusing the students as a whole. However, by sticking to our subject and having the goal of learning the basic principals, we can connect our personal understandings of both the criteria and the learner to personalize the message and narrow the methods of teaching to the most effective. We have aides and different kinds of ways to add in extra assistance to individuals. Our past teachers always taught that when there’s a will, there’s a way. If we don’t believe that, then how can we expect to have these students believe in what we teach.

Loana Tefau says

As future teachers, we have to be prepared to have students with exceptionalities in our classrooms; therefore, differentiated instruction is important to acknowledge in order to prepare lessons, to prepare assessments, and to meet the needs of ALL students. This article focuses on the importance for teachers to prepare their lessons according to all the students in the classroom. The assessments are to evaluate the understanding of each student on a specific subject. Each student is different and according to the exceptionalities teachers have to reach their potentials for an academic success.

All students in a classroom have to be cared of. It is the duty of a teacher to do so. Teachers have to know all the students in their classrooms, and do all their best to reach the best of each student. “Differentiated instruction individualizes the overall lesson to maximize each learner’s potential and academic success” is a very interesting characteristic of differentiated instruction. That is what we all want to accomplish. I strongly agree with all the things said in the article. Flexibility, organization, and achievement are required from teachers when using differentiated instruction in their classrooms.

Christine Andraszczyk says

I too agree with this article and its support of differentiated instruction. It seems more often than not that some instructors forget their true purpose in the lives of the children they are given to teach. For some it is no longer about helping and shaping the child, but to simply get their job done. I love differentiated instruction because it emphasizes and focuses on just that: molding each individual child to achieving their highest potential. To accomplish this, teachers must focus on each child’s individual needs in the classroom. There is a certain level of understanding, patience, and devotion that goes along with accomplishing this. If each child is expected to understand as quickly or in the same process as another, there will not be sufficient enough progress in the classroom. We as teachers all know that each child learns differently. When we are given these children to teach, we need to first take a look at ourselves to recognize if we are developing the right strategies of teaching each child, continually assessing ourselves as well as the child, examining the child’s learning style and level of development and understanding, and fixing our own curriculum to best fit the child.

I believe that as we show respect for each child and their unique qualities, continually assess ourselves as well as the child, and bring change and understanding in a way that is comfortable and successful for the child, we will accomplish our goal as educators in truly shaping and molding the lives of those we teach.

Erik Ramsay says

I think that it is interesting to note that in our profession we have a generalized opinion of what a human being should arrive at, when they have completed the requirements that past educators have set for them, and that we still abide by. We force students into a mold or form that will set them into position to be positive influences and assets to the community that they live in. We set the standard, and hell or high water we expect students to arrive at that standard. What if they cannot? What if the disabilities that they have will forever limit them to a low standard and a stereotype that able bodied individuals hold over them? If the person cannot be “cured” from the disability that impedes them, than something else has to give. I think that something else is found in inclusion and specifically inclusion through differentiated instruction. We sometimes expect everyone around us to come to the same conclusions as we do, but those conclusions cannot always be met along the same path. Specific plans to help a student arrive at a common goal are the ladder leading from the den of lions. Inclusion and differentiated instruction has two positive effects. The first stems, not from the students with disabilities, but from the students that are placed in the classroom with them. These students will form the base for society to realize that those with disabilities are capable of more than they are currently given credit for. These students will change the societal view as well as limit and eventually eradicate the stigmatization of those with disabilities. The second benefit is found in the eventual potential that those with disabilities can reach if they are placed in a supportive classroom, with peers, and an individualized plan that will eventually lead them to the goal of the public education system (though now it is too often forgotten in the red tape): success.

Vika says

During my volunteer service to the island of Australia, I was able to learn an important lesson that is to be engraved in the heart of ALL teachers, that is, to teach so that it meets the needs of every learner. As I am taking this Special Education class, I have recognized the different students that a teacher can have in their classroom; those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, hearing impairment, vision impairment and so forth. Learning that the student or learner is the focus of every teacher, it is vital that we meet each of their needs, for they are reason why we are learning to become better teachers. Being on that volunteer service, I learned that we need to be observant when first entering a house of the person we taught. Similarly, assessing students in a general education classroom is essential. We must observe their behavior towards the teacher, toward class assignments, or their general behavior in the classroom. It is important that when we make our lesson plans, we are mindful of the different needs of all the students. Though it may be hard and requires a lot of time, it will greatly benefit them and all will be in harmony with each other. We will have student acting out. I have been in general education classrooms that had students with either one or all of the following: learning disabilities, communication disorders, behavioral disorders. I don’t know if the teacher recognized their disabilities or not because their instructional methods were the same for all the students. Those that were slow were just said to be dumb, not recognizing that they had a disability or disorder. I feel that it is of great importance that teachers and those that are training to be teachers assess the students and then set out their lesson plans to meet the needs of the diverse students. Because we were once like them, we should know how to better serve them so that they can be better. The education of the learner is the reason why you and i are becoming teachers. Be a better teacher than yours was to you.

beau says

In reaction to this article the first thought that comes to my mind is the Boy Scout idea of always being prepared. Each and every school year we will be given different types of students with different abilities and different needs. We have to prepare ourselves for this and be ready for whatever might come our way. We need to pay close attention to what we learn now because if we do not and we are presented with a student which has something special about him or her that we have never had to deal with it will be very hard to know what we should do. Another important thing that we should do is as early as possible get to know our students so that we might be able to understand them the best we can so we can prevent having problems down the road. If we get to know Juan and understand that he has just recently come from Mexico we know what we might be dealing with and how to prevent any problems that we might encounter having a student that is learning the English language. In conclusion this is our time to prepare and to know the strategies that we will need to incorporate into our teaching to help those students with problems and have everything go as smoothly as possible.

Samantha H says

I fully agree with this article. All of the instruction and ideas sound so easy when it is on paper. I know that it is not so, in the actual classroom. Teachers who care, spend mass amounts of time trying to do the best for their class. In another article I read recently, but can’t remember the name or who wrote it, talked about imagination and creativity. This particular example used art work in the class room. The teacher brought in a whole bunch of art work that featured a landscape. Each was very different and ranged form abstract art to realist art. The teacher had the class evaluate the paintings and notice the differences. She pointed out that they all showed a landscape, but the way that they were painted were quite different, also, that each panting reflected how the artist saw the landscape. She challenged her class to paint a landscape on their own, how they wanted to show it and how they saw it. I really liked this example because this teacher was able to get the whole class involved and have them express what they learned in their own way. In part of the blog that we read it says to use the benchmarks as a place to strive for, not the goal. Each student is different, and needs their own goals to reach. A motivated and dedicated teacher will be able to accomplish this.

Ann says

There are 5 children in my family and each of us has a very unique way of learning. One example is one of my siblings thrives in group settings to learn the best while another does best when secluded and taught singly. My mother recognized these differences and in response sent the first child to public schooling and kept the second at home for homeschooling. We as teachers must be to do the same types of things with students in our classrooms. As discussed in the article we should first assess each student and see what are their best learning styles and then take action to make specific lesson plans to fit the many different styles we observe. After volunteer teaching as an ESL teacher I know that making the lesson specific for each student may be difficult but it is crucial we do so. There are many ways I can do this as I prepare to be an ESL teacher. One idea is for each lesson to have at least one activity that uses the different learning styles I have observed my students use the best. I can use a power-point for those who are visual learners, tell example stories for auditory learners, and a hands on example for other students. The same idea is implemented when students with disabilities are in the class. After assessing their ability, I can ensure that I have a plan to adress their best learning style in the lesson. As this is done for each student they will be more comfortable in the classroom and more eager to learn. By trying our hardest to apply differentiated teaching and learning to our classrooms we will have the highest success for learning among our students.

Winnie says

First and foremost, students are the focused of every school. As being a teacher for four years I had come to clearly understand the main purpose and the roles of a teacher. Teachers are responsible to teach students in all aspects of learning and teach in the most effective ways. When teacher is effective in the classroom then the students are successful because each student achieved the same learning outcomes. According to the article of Inclusion of Students with Exceptionalities, I strongly believe this article that students will enhance learning through a well prepared and intelligent teacher. An effective teacher must consider students on their ability to attend, their interests, motivation, learning difficulties, skill levels, learning styles and rates. We as teachers in the future we must teach students to think for themselves and teachers must understand that every single student have different learning profile. We need to keep students on task and provide them with clear expectations of what needs to be done. By doing this, students will receive instinctive and extinctive quality in contribution to various areas such as: family, society, communities and country as a whole. Students are from different backgrounds and they have different reactions and views of what the teacher is doing. So, it is very important for us teachers to reduce and minimized uncertainty and disappointment because some students would not be able to focus but displeased and leads them to inactive learning. Teacher should accountable to find related materials to provide students with enough knowledge of what they suppose to know and understands. In this way teacher is productively creating an environment of gaining, receiving and learning styles. By using different strategies and methods of teaching students will actively participate and make learning persuasive and fruitful. As we strive to do our best in honoring to serve these students we will find ourselves peace and happiness because someday students will be leaders in different areas of their own nation.

Hu Wei says

I fully agree with this article. All the intruction and ideas give clearly definitions and explanations of teaching. As a student, we should now start to preparre ourself entering the teaching field. In order to reach my career of being a special education teacher, I found out there are some points will help me grow. If we want to make a different and change in the child, we should fist examine ourself if we are qualify of being a teacher. Ecery kid is unique, a teacher should know no two children are alike. In the classroom, children should think for themselves. Teacher is the one to let children develop their creativity and vision. It might takes more time to teach a special kid than a normal kid. But patience is one of the essential elements of being a teacher. The special kid just need more time to find their own. The teacher is really important and is the one to support them without complaning. Also, I learned that key Characteristic of a differentiated classroom is “student centered”. Teachers focus to the student’s learning will help students progress more than we can think. knowing every single kid has its own potential and unique, I am really pleasure that I can learn from this article. It shows the love of a teacher and how a teacher willing to devote themself into the teaching field in order to influence the kids which they will be the national future pillar of the state.

Krystalee says

This post is very true. Every person has a different way of learning and different capabilities, strengths and weaknesses; each student is unique and should be treated as such. Every child needs to be included in the lesson and to feel that they are worth being taught, that they can learn and that they do have a place in my classroom. Different learning styles create opportunity for inclusion of different backgrounds and experiences. This can be a difficult task to complete as a teacher but the efforts will be greatly rewarding when you are able to see the progress and happiness it brings to your students as they are able to better and more fully learn. By looking at my classroom as individuals rather than a group I will be able to meet the specific needs of each student and give them the best education I can.

Cassi says

I would have to agree with this comment. Even before I read this article I felt that it is very important to make sure that when you teach you do so in a way that all of your students in class can learn. Every students has a different way of learning. Isn’t there a saying that says, “There are not two people a like,” so I feel that same way about every student. No two students learn the same way. As a future teach I know that I need to be well rounded so that I can teach all of the students my class in a way that they can learn it.

A great example of this is my brother and I. My brother and I are the same age, and thus have always been in the same grade. When we were in elementary we always had the same teacher. My brother and I had different strengths and weaknesses. So even we grew up in the same family, with the same parents, the teacher had to come up with different strategies to teach the two of us. But the teacher didn’t have to do it just for us either it was the entire class.

Juliana says

I think that differentiated instruction is a great idea. It would be awesome if every teacher could prepare lessons in a way that ALL students have an equal opportunity to learn. I’m sure each teacher tries to prepare lessons that will best fit the needs of the majority of the children, but, what about the minority children? What about their needs and progress? Isn’t it important that every child’s needs are met and not just the majority?

Growing up in Hawaii and being a student at BYU Hawaii, I am constantly reminded of the idea of multiculturalism. I am blessed to have grown up in a multicultured background. I think that because I’ve had this opportunity, I am a little more aware of the differences in attitudes, personalities, interests, and activities that each person possess. Being aware that there are many, many differences, I feel it can help me as I teach in my own class.

Maximizing each individual’s potential is one of the greatest goals that we can have as teachers. As we study and practice different instruction methods, we can help each student reach their greatest potentials.

Stephanie says

This post is true, one must keep in mind that every student has different needs and learning styles. As teachers we must mold lesson plans accordingly. In planning accordingly, we should also remember how the majority of the class learns. You do not want to penalize the majority of the class by teaching a way that they cannot comprehend due to one student. If a handful of children can only learn through reading, and the majority of the class is hands-on, your students will not no be able to understand the lesson if you cater to the minority. You must find a balance.

On the other hand, it is beneficial to explore new teaching and learning style. Perhaps one day you may be presented with a group of students that learn different than past years, and you must learn how to quickly adapt. By trying new learning styles, it allows you to include those having a hard time in learning and enables you as a teacher to become a student again and learn by differentiating teaching styles.

Becoming a teacher doesn’t end being a student…

Tewira Tune says

i think defferentiating intructions for disability students is a great idea. it doesn’t mean that they are neglected, but it is helpful to them and teachers. growing up, i was sad to see some of my friends dropped out from school because they could not handled school any more. this happened because of the inclusion of students with exceptionalities. teachers should be reminded that each student has their own ways of learning. it is impossible for students with learning disabilities to process the language quickly, so the idea of differentating instructions based on their needs is very effective for them and teachers. teachers are more focus on thier needs and trying to help them to be successful. also, normal students will not stuck because of disable students, but they will continue to learn and more knowledgeable.

when i first came to BYU-H, i was placed in a program called, “EIL” or English as International Language. This program helped me a lot to prepare for my major classes. Not only that, but it helped me to speak english more fluently.

again, differentiating students is not about who learn fast or slow. it is about working together as teachers to fulfill each students potential.

raymond says

I totally support and agree with fact that the inclusion of students with disabilities in any form of learning processes and environment create the feeling of forever learning with everyone not just a categorize group of students with no disabilities at all.But in other words the same basis as being an effective teacher with a lot of self-preparations and motivations can enhance students to receive the objectives core of the specific subject being taught.However, by the technique of differentiate what is to be taught to students in the setting of a classroom is very much needed with specific instructions and guidance from the teacher/s. Back in the islands,I can relate to an experience as a student when I was in 5th grade there was a friend of mine he had a sight disability with only one eye he can see with.The teacher would always confirm with assurance that we understand together everything as a class with my friend no matter what by putting extra effort to assist him if he has any questions.I truly believe in by doing effective procedures of being accountable with each students’ needs and wants it will be beneficial for students’ ability to learn and grow no matter who they are and what they are.Hence, there are a lot of potentials in each individual through letting students who are advanced learners to work and mingle together with medium and slow learners in each group working or in pairs.With the main purpose is to ease each students to cooperate and work together to create successes. I am being optimistic with this technique and concept that it will help in any classroom anywhere in the world.

Ana says

I totally agree with this article. I know that when you teach that you do so that every student in your classroom learns. Everyone has different ways of learning and so they need to be taught differently than others. I know that this will help me in my future classroom to make sure that I could teach my students in a way that they all learn it.

Every student has different personalities and capabilities so there’s a need to teach in a way that they will learn. I remembered when I used to teach in the islands. There was a twin brothers in my class and we all know that most twins act the same way. But when it comes to the classrooms, I had to find ways to teach both of them. One of the twins was a slow reader and so it took him awhile to understand the lesson. So even when you think that they have the same personalities, they still have different weakness or even different ways of learning.

Moeai says

I agree with the article in that it is important to meet the needs of all students, including those with exceptionalities. Differentiated instruction seems like a great way to address this problem, though I do think it requires a lot of attention and effort on the teacher’s part. Think about it, the teacher not only has to effectively teach students with exceptionalities, but they must also effectively teach students with different attitudes, cultures, capabilities, and beliefs.

Just because I think it’s hard, it doesn’t mean I think it’s impossible. I am all for differentiated instruction. It’s a great way to include all students. Personally, I grew up with teachers that practiced differentiated instruction and now I notice how much of a positive influence it had on all us students. Not only did it help us learn together, but socially in brought us together as well.

M. Meline says

I agree with Doctor Voytecki when she emphasizes the need for differentiated instruction for students with exceptional needs in the regular classroom. Differentiated instruction is necessary for students with exceptional needs in the regular classroom because it allows those students to be taught and to succeed based on their potential. I especially appreciate Dr. Voytecki for posting links to articles to further educated about differentiated instruction. The power point of Mark Walker really emphasized to me more of the ways to instruct using the ideal of differentiated instruction and what can be done to get to that point. For example, learning to make the classroom an emotionally secure place for all students to learn really helps differentiated instruction because it helps the students to feel secure so that they will be more engaged in the instruction and benefit as students. Furthermore treating that every student is different and do not all learn the same way will help to eliminate the blame of a student’s failure in education on the student and will enforce teachers to change their way of instruction to more effectively teach the students who are falling behind.

However, I see problems with implementing differentiated instruction in the classroom. Most of the teachers who will be teaching only have a bachelor’s degree while teachers such as Dr. Voytecki, Dr. Thompson, and Dr. Wesley all have graduate work completed. For a teacher who has only about 2-3 years of teaching instruction compared to those teachers who obtain a master or doctorate degree and will find it more challenging to use differentiated instruction in the classroom. This is because they will not be well instructed on how to teach their students and implementing differentiated instruction to a large group of students with an inexperienced teacher will cause further problems in classroom and the teacher’s emotional health. After all, learning from Dr. Wesley’s Fundamentals of Education class, most teachers will not continue teaching after two years. With all these teachers not continuing to teach after they have become experienced, experienced teachers who can implement differentiated instruction effectively will be no longer available for their schools, communities, and students. Furthermore, not all of the schools that teachers will be stationed in will have the same opportunities, resources, and help that other wealthier school districts will have. In this case some teachers will not be able to implement differentiated instruction because they will not have all the resources to teach in a way to give individualized instruction to all their students.

To conclude, differentiated instruction is necessary for students with exceptional needs to succeed in the classroom. It can help students to feel more secure and engaging in their classrooms and allow them to learn more as a result. However if teachers do not receive more education and experience, they will not be able to effectively implement differentiated education to all their students. Furthermore differentiated instruction can be difficult to present because of the lack of resources in schools. Differentiated instruction is ideal for students with exceptional needs and also regular non-disabled students but problems occur with lack of resources and inexperienced teachers.

Jennifer says

Differentiated instruction in the classroom is necessary. Students are being included more and more in the classroom making differentiated instruction necessary for all students to learn the material and achieve their potential.

When I was in high school, the students with exceptionalities were included in every day classroom. I was especially grateful when I took an advanced class and our teacher taught us about different learning styles and techniques. She said that everyone learns differently so she has to teach in many ways. She used power points for visual learners, went over them verbally for auditory learners and had everyone take notes for students that learn by doing. She understood that we all learned differently and by doing these things, the success rate of her students was higher than other classes. Other ways that teachers included the students with exceptionalities was by having us do group work. Each person had a role to complete and that role was usually what suited us best.

In conclusion, differentiated learning techniques are important in the classroom. They help students learn and achieve at their potential. Differentiated learning techniques are wonderful!

Mala says

No two people are equal, therefore we must consider the fact of differentiated the way we teach to make sure that everyone in the classroom is learning and progress regardless of their learning disabilities. Talking from a teacher’s point of view, I learn that no matter how hard I tried to involve all the students in a lesson, but somehow there are still some students who seemed to me that they have no interested in the lesson at all, not until I sit down with them one on one and explain it to them, ask them to show their idea of their understanding of the lesson, then I found out that my students have different learning style. From the article that I read by Karen S. Voyteck, I learn the importance of the using of a variety of strategies in the classroom as we teach in order for all of the students who come into the class have the opportunity to learn and feel that they are really part of that learning environment and motivate them to learn. With the differentiating of the teaching in the classroom, we are supporting the idea of No Child Left Behind as it is enforce by the Federal Law in the US. I am strongly agree and support the idea as it discuss in the article above. Students with learning disabilities should be treated well and teachers I know that if I ever have this kind of students in my classroom, I will make sure to make adjustment to the lesson and the teaching methods so they can become an effective part of the lesson, and at the same time, they are learning and feel comfortable in the classroom.

Joy says

I agree with this idea of differentiated instruction! Teachers are called teachers for a reason and I think it is so important that teachers step up and do what they are called! Teaching is not easy but it is true that it is a noble profession! Every student in the classroom is important and deserves a good education. Every student learns differently and it is up to us, as teachers to make sure the student’s needs are being met. Not only will it help students learn better to try new ways of teaching but it will help the teachers grow as well. Teaching is so critical and can really change a students life. I hope I am the kind of teacher that will be aware of each individual student and be able to adjust the way I teach to maximize their education and experience in school. I know that I had teachers that did this for me and it really changed my attitude about school and helped me become who I am today.

Dee says

I agree with the article that when teaching we must include ALL students. Every one is different, and so is everyone’s learning styles. For some they learn simply by listening, others by observation and some by doing. Therefore it’s important that when teaching a specific subject or principle in that subject that as teachers we must have more than one way of teaching that very same thing. It will take practice as all new teachers will need to experiement for each class to see what works. This then requires more effort and attention in the classroom, making note of the way different students learn and then applying it to your teaching. I have seen this by many teachers that I’ve had not only in school but also in church. By having gospel principles taught through object lessons as well as using analogy’s, I am able to take what I have already observed by many teachers around me and thus prepare as a future teacher in the classroom.

Beth says

Dr. Voytecki’s advocacy for differentiated instruction presents many strategies for how to effectively teach students as individuals, rather than teaching the whole class on the same level and in the same way. Thinking about how I would apply those ideas to teaching to a high school U.S. History class, I imagined teaching the Bill of Rights in these ways:

1. Starting with an assessment activity, I would ask the students to pretend they were Supreme Court Justices. Then I would present them with various laws (some real laws, some imaginary) and have them write down if they thought each law would be constitutional or not.

2. I would give a power point presentation, using pictures and graphic organizers, to explain what each amendment means, and why they were important in 1787.

3. I would divide the class into ten groups, asking each one to make a poster illustrating a different amendment from the Bill of Rights. I would put them up on the wall right away for easy reference.

4. I would divide the class into ten different groups, and play charades, having each group act out an amendment while the rest of the class guesses.

5. I would ask students to either (1) write an opinion paper about a Supreme Court decision, describing whether they agreed with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Bill of Rights, or (2) make some kind of political advertisement (flier, video, or audio) trying to convince people to vote for or against a current issue based on the Bill of Rights. Using books, magazines, and newspapers from my classroom library center, students would be allowed to choose a topic that interests them, such as Miranda rights, surveillance laws, capital punishment, or gun control. For some students, the paper or political ads would be simply statements of opinions. Other students, who are ready to tackle more, would be expected to research more.

Hopefully, these strategies would help achieve the ideal of making students active learners, decision makers, and problem solvers, rather than passive receptors of information.

Haeyoung Kim says

I totally agree with the article that it is necessary to include all students in the classroom even the exceptional students. They all need to be equally treated by teachers in the classroom. The more the society is developed, the more students with various disabilities are appeared as well. Nowadays, most schools have the methods that can help exceptional students in classrooms. However, some of teachers are still struggling with including those students as equal as normal students. To be a good teacher is to try to love every student like real children. They might all have different situations that they need, through their cultural background, historical background, their ability to use language or study, and so on. Teachers need to be aware of those students needs so well in order to help them. Tbe exceptional students can make difference in the school and society depending on what they learn, how they are learned and treated by their schools, and the expectation they are showed by teachers. Knowing about their students as much as possible will help teachers to understand more about thier students, and it is easier to figure out what each student is necessary for accomplishing their goals. Having positive thought will also help them to courage their students, too. To be a good teacher is difficult always, but it is such a valuable job ever in the earth that they can make a difference. As future teachers, we need to have a sense of duty so that we can be great teachers.

Hilary says

This article is very interesting and I aggree with the idea of differentiated instuction. I believe that it is very important for a teacher to design ways in which every student can learn. Everyone is different which could make it potentially hard for the teacher, but as long as they (the teacher)remain positive, they can encourage themselves and students to accomplish their goals. Every student is important and deserves the best education that a teacher can give. As I read this article my mind kept straying off to the story of the “freedom writers.” The story involves a teacher that changed her ways of teaching in order to help her students learn to the best of their abilities. I believe that she taught with differentiated instuction. All of those students had a story to tell and the only way the teacher could help them to write their story was to change her ways of teaching. I am glad that I had teachers that changed their ways of teaching fo me, and other students in my classroom. It has made me who I am today, and I believe it will help me teach with differentiated instruction in the future.

iraia says

I support this style of teaching in the way that it aims to tailor lessons to the specific needs of each individual student. I dont fullycomprehend how a teacher will be able to accomplish such a feit but i do believe it can be done.

Every student has different needs according to his or her background knowledge and the skills that they have acquired from the beginning of their education.

why has it taken so long for a phylosophy like this to be implmented into schools throughout america? i believe it will be a beneficial style of teaching for all students.

Doreen Lee says

I agree that different students need differentiated instruction to maximize their academic achievement. Students with exceptionalities have to be treated equally by giving them instruction in general classroom, so that they won’t feel themselves distinct from other students. Students with learning disabilities need more time to progress academically. Therefore, teachers have the responsibilities to change their teaching styles over time in order to help their students to learn more effectively. They should not teach only according to their lesson plan. They play a major role in giving instruction that can meet students with different abilities and needs. I think students with exceptionalities have the right to learn and grow with the normal students at the same environment, so that they will have the ability to get along well with the people in their society in the future. Differentiated instruction is possible to help all the students with different needs in the same class to achieve a brighter and successful future.

Mary Jantalert says

I strongly agree with Voytrcki that each lesson that we teach must be differentiated to meet with diversed students that compose the classes of our school, especially in BYU-Hawaii. We have students from all over the world and have different learning background. Many of us are experiencing learning difficulties from learning everything in English. Some are having hard times because of their disabilities that they alreay have before they came here. As I read more details about this idea from Karen Voytecki and Mark Walker, I learned that effective keys and principles whihc help teachers to be able to create good classrooms’ environment and for the special education teacher to be able to work effectively with others in the educational area are to have pre-assessment to find out the learning style of each students and understand their background knowledge. Moreover, it is important that as we teach, we are to make sure that we regularly offered choices and students are mathced with their compatible with their individual learning profiles. We as teachers are to help students experience appropriate levels of challenge according to their capibility. We must realize and learn how to help students with disbilities learn that each brain needs to make its own meaning of ideas and skills. As we do these things, we will be able to help students with disbilities become more independent in their learnings and become more prepared to live with others in the society.

Jenn says

I agree with Voytecki to a certain extent. Incorporating students various learning styles into your everyday lessons is important, however, it is a difficult task that requires much effort and planning on the teacher’s part and participation on the student’s part.

I personally feel that it is an acquired skill/talent that a teacher develops throughout their teaching years. One factor I found very helpful in my past teaching experience is getting to know your students, making them feel comfortable enough to tell you things (problems, questions, concerns, etc…) that allow you to get to know them. You can learn a lot from them by just observing their behavior and interaction with fellow students and peers.

I agree that assessment plays a large role in the outcome of student teaching/learning. There are various forms of assessment that can be done and it has made the process much easier for teachers today. One year I gave my students the “Meyers Briggs test” and it helped me better understand their learning styles and levels.

Incorporating this knowledge into your lesson plan and then actually applying it to your teaching will allow your students to learn more from you and your ways of teaching.

Kasey says

I also agree with this article. I can see the importance of creating a program to insure that all students are able to learn to their ability and skill level. Being able to recognize and help the students comes with us being prepared. I know that doing this will take a lot of dedication on the teachers’ part but as each student progresses you will be inspired to keep up the hard work. Assessing the students is wise because everyone learns at their own pace in their own ways. By doing this you know what level each person is at and then apply your lesson to each persons way of learning or by using many methods to get everyone involved. I really liked this article because it really gets you thinking about the student as an individual and not as a whole.

Georgeann Winter, Memphis, TN says

The controversy currently exists as to whether or not the inclusive setting is the least restrictive environment for all exceptional students. It can be if general educators have prepared. The reality is that our classrooms do not consist of a homogeneous population, they consist of a heterogeneous population of cultural and academic diverse students. Accomodations and modifications are not just for students with exceptionalities when teaching the grade level curriculum. General educators should have been implementing differentiated instruction practices for the past decade. Unfortunately, many general educators are resistant to change. They are dependent on textbooks that distracts purchase for lesson designs instead of utilizing alternative methods of teaching to accommodate the different learning styles. By using valid assessments (AIMS Web, Standford Math, psycological evaluations for students with disabilities, district standardized assessments, and state assessments) teachers can understand the individual cognitive needs of their students and plan accordingly.