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Differentiating VS Discriminating & Caging

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by CHuynh, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. CHuynh

    CHuynh New commenter

    Dear teachers
    Differentiating is a new trend in teaching, teachers are expected to implement this big idea which has benefits.
    However, I would learn from all of you wonderful teachers out there, what you do to minimise/avoid the following two things:
    1. Discriminating. The less capable students should not feel that they are discriminated and given the "dumber" work
    2. Caging. The less capable students are always given the watered down work, and are removed from doing work of higher level. As a result, they are locked in the "less capable" cage, unintentionally.
    With so many brilliant teachers out there, I am really keen to hear from you please.
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Differentiating is a new trend in teaching = It's not new o_O

    Discriminating/Caging = Give the students a choice of tasks - they are not forced to do 'dumbed down' or 'watered down' work; choose tasks they are capable of, and tasks that challenge them
    bonxie, Piranha and Easyasabc like this.
  3. Easyasabc

    Easyasabc Occasional commenter

    Differentiation has been round for years. It can generally be simply by Outcome or be work tier based. No one is removed from doing other work or caged. I think you need to look at differentiation far more in lessons to understand how it actually works.
    border_walker, bonxie and Piranha like this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Where I come from, differentiation has been around so long that I can barely remember a time when there wasn't differentiation. My year 4 teacher in 1968 differentiated.
    However your questions are ones that all teachers need to reflect on from time to time.
    You are not imprisoning children by giving them work that they can do. The child who is constantly faced with work that is too difficult and then gets poor marks is soon caged by their own problems and low expectations. Assessment needs to be based around showing what the child can do. Long term goals need to be positive but achievable. As you imply raising the attainments and expectations of the children with most needs is a big long term challenge.
  5. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    My earliest memory of differentiation was in 1962, being taken to a different part of the school to got a reading book as I was bored with the ones for my year group. Where the decision is taken by the teacher, it is a form of discrimination, as is anything where we make a choice. Students know pretty well where they stand in ability terms, and won't benefit if they are given work beyond their capability or if the more talented students are only allowed to do work they find very easy.

    I would certainly discourage the idea of calling work given to the less talented students "dumber". If that is the way their teacher sees it, they will resent it. There is a danger that they will just be given work that the teacher knows they can do easily. What is needed is for the work set to be capable of moving them forwards to more difficult material, even if they are doing it later than others in their class.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    How long does something have to be in place before it is no longer considered 'new'?
    Teachers are, of course, expected to meet the needs of all pupils...but this isn't new.
    I dispute your use of the terms 'less capable' and 'dumber'.
    Sometimes children are working at a lower level because they have missed a chunk of school, or because they had a less good teacher in a previous year or school, or because the are more focused on other things in their life, or for a whole host of other reasons. These do not make the child 'less capable'.
    'Dumber' is truly offensive term and I'm appalled any teacher would think it is ok to use it.
    Children should always be doing work which challenges them and moves their learning on as rapidly as possible. Poorer teachers do exactly what you have described here, but the better teachers do whatever possible to 'close the gap'.
    Piranha and Easyasabc like this.
  7. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Are you actually a teacher, @CHuynh?
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Worryingly, looking at their other posts, it seems very possible that they are!
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    On the basis of the op being serious.
    Extension work for fast workers.
    Common core for a lesson then reinforcement or consolidating.
    A series of tasks in sequence, perhaps the highest attained don't start at the beginning.
    Key things for me are:
    Take all learners seriously
    Take all learning tasks seriously but accept that not all are needed for all learners.
    Know all your learners so that they do work that is meaningful for them.
    Understand and accept that some learners will always work faster or with greater understanding than others, and achieve higher grades.
    Piranha likes this.

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