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Discussion in 'Further Education' started by Hannadelaney, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Hannadelaney

    Hannadelaney New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I have been teaching for 6 years after completing a PGCE in post-compulsory education and training and I've worked in a range of settings both permanently and as a supply teacher/volunteer and basically, one thing that keeps popping up in CPD, walk-throughs and observations in the "actions" column is the word "differentiation".
    Please don't think I'm being a duff teacher but I feel that the question needs to be asked:
    What does differentiation in the class room actually look like?

    SLT whack it on the feedback forms but have I been given the opportunity to watch true differentiation to take its course? Not really.

    Apart from different coloured paper, seating plans, tiered/specific learning objectives and colour coded feedback, what more is there to be done?

    I'm teaching 16-19 y/o GCSE English resit. The difference in grades ranges from a 1 to a 3.
  2. NewbieHoD

    NewbieHoD New commenter

    Ask your Head of Dept to pair you up with someone who's been identified as being good at demonstrating this in observations, and see if you can share some good practice and maybe see them in action.

    As for specifics, one thing I've seen done well is by using differentiated questions. So , perhaps identify 3/4 questions at different levels (grade 2-4, maybe?) relating to the same topic. You could colour code them, or give them some sort of traffic light thing (be be careful to have anything green at the hardest end and red at the easiest end) to help students. The idea is they must complete at least 2/3 questions, and they must start at one level and move up a level based on their own confidence in the topic. Another variation of this is using the same (long-answer) question, differentiated by providing students with varying degrees of support from keyword prompts to writing frames, and assigning students a different version of the question based on your prior understanding of their. This is best done subtly and can incorpoate some group work / Kagan -style activities.
  3. fred1964

    fred1964 New commenter

    tbh honest, it's a buzzword for a lot of managers. Of course you differentiate - you treat each student as an individual and you might ask a question to one student that you'd ask slightly differently to another, right? That's differentiation. I always stress that I get the group to work together as much as possible in order to develop group trust and loyalty - as this is paramount for building confidence and that I set work that can be differentiated naturally, with each student working at their own level. Have more demanding expectations for some, and more support (scaffolding, they like to call it) for others. As long as you can articulate that this is what differentiation is, when required to do so, you should be fine. Mind you, I don't work in a school - I work in a different kind of education environment.
    blueskiesmev likes this.
  4. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    There are some excellent differentiated English resources on here, free of charge.
    Created by Mathew Lynch. I am one of his biggest fans.
    I am surprised that you have level 1 students in your class. They would be more suited to Functional skills. But hey ho, it is what it is.
    And keep going with the coloured paper and whatever else is needed for individual learning needs.
  5. suzeworld

    suzeworld New commenter

    Hi. Can you post a link for these? I struggle with searches in this forum. Thanks.
  6. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    This is a strange thing to say? post 18?

    Which have been provedto make no difference at all, so I am surprised your school is still using this. It was purely an invention by a company that sold silly coloured glasses and filters and huge prices.

    And an anti buzzword, Ive been a teacher for a long time, and it has swung in and out of favour repeatedly. Where I am now "differentiation" is seen as deeply evil and sinful, " you are limiting and prejudging and setting low expectations"

    personally, I don't believe that, but currently all differentiation has to be done covertly

    Basically have 2 or 3 different worksheets. Basically the same, just make sure one breaks down the tasks into smaller chunks and doesn't go as far, one that is standard for at least half the class, and one that skips the easier questions and goes on to particularly complicated tasks.

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