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My dearest friend - DIFFERENTIATION!

one of the easiest way to help your children to thrive

By Beata Bednarska

If you an educator then you know that one of the factors of the effective teaching is to differentiate for your pupils in order to meet their needs.

What does differentiation means in teaching?

Differentiation is simply a teacher attending to the learning needs of a particular student or small groups of students, rather than teaching a class as though all individuals in it were basically alike.

What an inclusive teacher should know and do?

In the last blog, I was talking about the different ways of learning so I will not repeat myself on that. Teachers therefore have to know how children learn and need to use a variety of teaching approaches that cover multi-sensory learning styles. So if you missed last week blog this is the link.

To differentiate effectively teachers should also know their children well for example: diversity of pupils needs, individual needs, strengths and weaknesses, and interests of pupils.

Another important thing is knowing the potential barriers to pupils learning. If the teacher is not aware of them then he wouldn’t be able to help them and consequently children will miss this and other learning opportunities so the list of the deficit skills will broaden.

Simple skill of knowing how to break down learning into smaller steps will help the teacher to differentiate even for children with complex needs (autism, dyspraxia, learning difficulties) or EAL pupils.

Effective cooperation with other adults (SENCO, TA, LSA, parents) it’s also a huge part of differentiation process. 

Some teachers, especially for NQT, those who are new to teaching SEND children or those who never supported complex needs children or EAL, this is quite difficult process. However everything is teachable and how to differentiate as well.

You have plenty of different methods of differentiating which I illustrated for you below: 

When I differentiate and prepare the worksheets I always start with the ultimate goal and then I’m  working the way back to the basic skills with in the topic/task.

Using Mind Maps to differentiate will give you clear stages to the  ultimate goal and it’s really good as a visual support.  As a example I placed below the Mind Map of type of skills the child have to master to write the instruction on: How to plant a seed or a bulb? 

When I  prepare my worksheets I always make sure that they are:

  • relevant to pupils’ interests (up to date)
  • stimulating, interesting and visually appealing 
  • dyslexia friendly
  •  including graphs/ boxes/ numbers/ headings and they are break up into stages
  • different size of the text, page (A4, A3)
  • colour-coded 
  • designed in a form of a game, quizzes, word-searches, bingo, etc.
  • include different range of activities such as matching, sequencing, labelling, true and false, yes and no, gap filling, etc.
  • using response form such as written, oral, cut&paste, tick, circle, typing, etc.
If you would like to use my worksheets (that I used for above task) then please feel free to follow the link here and here.
 
I hope that you enjoyed this week blog.
 

With love 💕 and excitement,

Beata

 
PS: Remember to share with others and leave a comment below!
 

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