Differentiating InstructionFive Easy Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms This article is from the website of Dr. Paula Kluth. It, along with many others on inclusive schooling, differentiated instruction, and literacy can be found at www.PaulaKluth.com. Visit now to read her Tip of the Day, read dozens of free articles, and learn more about supporting diverse learners in K12 classrooms.
Many general educators believe that they need specialized strategies to teach students with disabilities. While it can be beneficial to know about certain types of disabilities before teaching students with labels, often teachers are effective when they are accepting, look for strengths in their students, provide personal attention when necessary, and allow for differences in the ways students approach tasks and complete classroom work.
Teachers can also support the learners in diverse classrooms by differentiating instruction. But what exactly is differentiating instruction? To put it simply, differentiating instruction involves providing instruction that is accessible and challenging to all:
When a teacher allows students different ways to express their understanding of a novel (taking a written test, designing a piece of art related to the book, giving a speech about comparing the novel to other works), she is differentiating instruction.
When a teacher uses cooperative learning approaches and assigns students’ roles that will challenge them as individuals, he is differentiating instruction.
When a teacher provides students with a range of materials to teach immigration (travel documents, costumes, maps, interactive software), she is differentiating instruction.
When a teacher creates different questions to meet the needs of individual learners during a discussion, he is differentiating instruction.