Can you have a differentiated curriculum if all students are being taught the same thing at the same time? I argue that you can. Lets bounce!
If you have followed my blog, (bless you) you will know that I have turned to a much more traditional approach to my teaching. I know lots of people are jumping out of trees to say forget the traditional vs progressive dichotomy, but I’m lacking the vocabulary skills at the moment to digress. My view is that there is definitely less differentiation in my class than previously. Or is there? I spend a lot more time explicitly teaching concepts to the whole class and there is a lot less group work than before. But does that mean my students are missing out on a more individualized curriculum that may better suit their needs? I don’t think so.
Since almost *scrapping group work and spending the extra time on explicit instruction I think students are getting more individual attention. Nothing better than hearing “You’ve lost me”. Excellent, I get to go over the concept again, improve my instruction and rework my examples. Of course you can do this with group work to follow but while that often generates great discussions and discoveries, it might not be the learning I wanted. I know this is heresy to say but for me that is ‘wasted’ time. As the learning I want is mandated in the curriculum that needs to be first cab off the rank. (Without very solid foundations we have nothing to build on.) So after explicit instruction students stay at their desks and work on showing me they have grasped the concept.
I’m trying to set up the desks so that I can have access to students as quickly as possible, this is made easier by some students having to sit on their own, (What a horrible teacher where’s the inclusivity?) and maximizing my time for those who need assistance. We have no funky lime coloured, pod shaped furniture available and much of the classroom is in rows. Some people would argue that my classroom is from the “Industrial Age”. I prefer to think we are “Industrious”. But that’s just me. Judging from the smiles, laughter and learning in the classroom, I think my students are the better for it.
*I’m mandated to use guided reading groups.
If you have read this far thank you and well done.