Interesting distinctions from the department of Ed. What do you think?

Interesting distinctions from the department of Ed. What do you think?

http://www.ed.gov/technology/draft-netp-2010/individualized-personalized-differentiated-instruction

3 Comments

  1.  In their definition of differentiation there seems to be a focus on tailoring the instruction to  “student preferences” to meet the same learning goals for all. TO me the idea of preferences indicated a choice on the part of the student and to some extent the ability to control one’s situation. I feel like there is an idea missing from that piece which is providing scaffolding to the student’s abilities so they can meet the learning goal.  

    This sentence seems vague and does not sit well with me: “or what research has found works best for students like them”. What are “students like them”? The previous sentence eludes to this meaning students who have similar learning preferences, but a student who cannot speak English needs a great deal of scaffolding and supports when being asked to meet the same learning goal of reading 5 mathematics word problems in English and then solving them. To me this has nothing to do with the student’s preference, because I have found their preference almost always to be able to understand what is being asked of them and then be able to accomplish it , but their skill set does not allow this to be attainable. This is true not just for our ELL or SpEd students but for so many kids who are being shuffled along through grade levels without having the necessary skills and understandings to accomplish the grade level standards and its accompanying work.  

    It also seems to suggest an idea that instead of providing the scaffolding needed for each individual child that you are using a strategy for “students like them”, but one ELL newcomer from Mexico or one student with autism is not necessarily the same as another. Yes, there are strategies you can go to as a starting point but that should not be where differentiation ends. If you have to require the same learning goal for all (which would never be my choice as a teacher) I think the differentiation itself can and should be personalized to the student needing supports.  The trouble then lies in the unrealistic nature of providing different supports for each of the 28-35 students needing to reach the same goal, especially for teachers who provide 6 sections or subjects a day for 5 days a week. There are some supports that can be put in place for all tasks, but many of these require excessive amounts of planning time and/or contact with each student.

    Perhaps a bit nitpicky but I tend to believe that vague definitions and unsettling terms similar to “students like them” are not going to drive forward the kind of radical change needed to support teachers in realistically providing an education for all children that will set them up for success in life. 

  2.  In their definition of differentiation there seems to be a focus on tailoring the instruction to  “student preferences” to meet the same learning goals for all. TO me the idea of preferences indicated a choice on the part of the student and to some extent the ability to control one’s situation. I feel like there is an idea missing from that piece which is providing scaffolding to the student’s abilities so they can meet the learning goal.  

    This sentence seems vague and does not sit well with me: “or what research has found works best for students like them”. What are “students like them”? The previous sentence eludes to this meaning students who have similar learning preferences, but a student who cannot speak English needs a great deal of scaffolding and supports when being asked to meet the same learning goal of reading 5 mathematics word problems in English and then solving them. To me this has nothing to do with the student’s preference, because I have found their preference almost always to be able to understand what is being asked of them and then be able to accomplish it , but their skill set does not allow this to be attainable. This is true not just for our ELL or SpEd students but for so many kids who are being shuffled along through grade levels without having the necessary skills and understandings to accomplish the grade level standards and its accompanying work.  

    It also seems to suggest an idea that instead of providing the scaffolding needed for each individual child that you are using a strategy for “students like them”, but one ELL newcomer from Mexico or one student with autism is not necessarily the same as another. Yes, there are strategies you can go to as a starting point but that should not be where differentiation ends. If you have to require the same learning goal for all (which would never be my choice as a teacher) I think the differentiation itself can and should be personalized to the student needing supports.  The trouble then lies in the unrealistic nature of providing different supports for each of the 28-35 students needing to reach the same goal, especially for teachers who provide 6 sections or subjects a day for 5 days a week. There are some supports that can be put in place for all tasks, but many of these require excessive amounts of planning time and/or contact with each student.

    Perhaps a bit nitpicky but I tend to believe that vague definitions and unsettling terms similar to “students like them” are not going to drive forward the kind of radical change needed to support teachers in realistically providing an education for all children that will set them up for success in life. 

  3.  In their definition of differentiation there seems to be a focus on tailoring the instruction to  “student preferences” to meet the same learning goals for all. TO me the idea of preferences indicated a choice on the part of the student and to some extent the ability to control one’s situation. I feel like there is an idea missing from that piece which is providing scaffolding to the student’s abilities so they can meet the learning goal.  

    This sentence seems vague and does not sit well with me: “or what research has found works best for students like them”. What are “students like them”? The previous sentence eludes to this meaning students who have similar learning preferences, but a student who cannot speak English needs a great deal of scaffolding and supports when being asked to meet the same learning goal of reading 5 mathematics word problems in English and then solving them. To me this has nothing to do with the student’s preference, because I have found their preference almost always to be able to understand what is being asked of them and then be able to accomplish it , but their skill set does not allow this to be attainable. This is true not just for our ELL or SpEd students but for so many kids who are being shuffled along through grade levels without having the necessary skills and understandings to accomplish the grade level standards and its accompanying work.  

    It also seems to suggest an idea that instead of providing the scaffolding needed for each individual child that you are using a strategy for “students like them”, but one ELL newcomer from Mexico or one student with autism is not necessarily the same as another. Yes, there are strategies you can go to as a starting point but that should not be where differentiation ends. If you have to require the same learning goal for all (which would never be my choice as a teacher) I think the differentiation itself can and should be personalized to the student needing supports.  The trouble then lies in the unrealistic nature of providing different supports for each of the 28-35 students needing to reach the same goal, especially for teachers who provide 6 sections or subjects a day for 5 days a week. There are some supports that can be put in place for all tasks, but many of these require excessive amounts of planning time and/or contact with each student.

    Perhaps a bit nitpicky but I tend to believe that vague definitions and unsettling terms similar to “students like them” are not going to drive forward the kind of radical change needed to support teachers in realistically providing an education for all children that will set them up for success in life. 

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