This is my last post in my series on differentiation. I thought I would try to summarize some of the key ideas with this post.
To me there are a few bottom line and basic ideas that we need to remember
- Differentiation is Just Good Teaching
- Fair doesn't mean Equal
- One Size Doesn't Fit All
- Know Each child's story
- The Importance of having a Growth Mindset
I am sure there are others but those are my top five. However I think this is one over arching idea or theme that encompasses all five.
We need to remember that our job is to educate the whole child. Therefore we need to know their unique needs and background and each child is unique. We also need focus on more just the academics but a child's social and emotional well being is also going to play a role in their school experience and success or failure.
There was one area related to differentiation that I did not write about or focus on but if we are truly going to reach the Whole Child then it need to be mentioned and that is our grading system. There is a whole group on Facebook and Twitter about Teachers Throwing out grades and I have blogged about it myself but it worth mentioning in this context as well.
Grades typically focus only on the academic success or our students but if we are truly going to differentiate and educate the Whole student then the feedback we give needs to take into account not only growth and effort in academic but non academic areas like the arts as well as the students emotional and social well being.
I think all of us want all of our students to succeed and at the same time many of us seem scared by the idea of differentiating. So let's not call it differentiating but rather we are focusing on meeting the individual needs of the WHOLE CHILD