Imagine a classroom complete with painters, players, scientists, singers, mathematicians & entrepreneurs. Though our students seem alike when sitting together in a class, they own talents and intellects as diverse as all these professionals. Hence, assuming that there can be a versatile teaching method & expecting them to learn in similar ways, is a fallacy.
The Need for Differentiated Teaching:
New-age education is characterized by numerous intelligence classrooms, ongoing & formative assessments, inquiry-led learning where the focus is on the learner & contextual teaching-learning that borders upon real-life situations. There is hence, a crucial requirement for Differentiation in learning, even in remote classes and blended learning modes. Differentiation has the following aims:
- Adapt the teaching methods for various learning styles
- Address children with various interest areas
- Bridge gap in children with varying readiness levels & prior education experience
- Provide appropriate motivators by judging the hot buttons
- Instil confidence with favourable reinforcement
Approaches for Differentiated Teaching-Learning in Hybrid Classes
Facilitators can play an important role in dealing with the issue of differentiation in online classes. They can invite students to talk about various topics, apart from the lesson being taught. Creating peer groups, having reading buddies & interacting through characters in classes is also a form of engaging students.
The format of content can be personalized to sustain learning styles. Animated lessons, textured books & audio chapters are some of the formats that are used to cater to various learners at the content distribution level. Lessons live often imparted through pictorial means to present topics.
The procedure for the transfer of knowledge can be adjusted depending on the pace of learning of student groups. Giving extra periods to students to understand concepts & complete projects is sometimes essential. Recapitulations at frequent intervals are also effective for boosting retention & understanding. Active learners, on the other hand, are engaged via some challenging activities. The timeline for finishing each section of the curriculum has to be maintained flexible.
Assessment can be done utilising personalized means. Several tools are available that work across devices & can be virtually used for differentiated learning. The most widely used methods for online learning media are game or simulation-based assessments. There can be a broad range of quizzes or challenges with a set goal. All these products can be adopted for differentiation by adjusting the goal of activities or test levels of quizzes.
The feel & functioning of the classrooms can be adapted to suit the learners. This is positively impactful in the scenario of physical classes, where students can select a preferred setting. A ‘silent corner’ can be created for reflection and notes. Another corner of the classroom can be for group discussions. Some children may want to doodle on a whiteboard for more useful understanding.
Even in the virtual classes, students can be assigned a dedicated space through Breakout Rooms, where they discuss a topic or a problem and suggest solutions. Moreover, digital boards, similar to whiteboards, can be used to communicate thoughts and ask questions. Our facilitators interact personally with small groups of students to apprehend queries and develop ideas.
With the pandemic tossing a new set of challenges in the way of students, their stress levels are higher, and their attention span is lower. These factors have developed our teaching-learning over the past year, enhancing our focus on the needs of students. The future of education demands that we encourage all learners through personalized lessons & processes, and we at Gurugram Global Heights School are ready to embrace the change.