Differentiated instruction is a very effective technique of teaching learners since it allows the teacher to meet the needs of various learners. It involves incorporating different activities in the learning process in order to provide for the needs of diverse learners. It involves the modification and adaptation of materials, instructions, learner activities, content and assessment methods. The teacher takes cognizance of the different needs of the learners in the class and adopts varied teaching methods in order for the learning process to be productive.
Differentiated learning serves various purposes that include accommodation of students that have disabilities, accommodating learners from varying cultures and taking care of the needs of all the students. It is a technique of learning that encourages creativity and aids students in the understanding of ideas of a higher level of learning. Unlike the traditional learning that focused majorly on memorization, differentiated learning adopts a practical aspect hence encouraging the participation of every student. Differentiated learning allows for students of differing abilities to be accommodated in one class. Differentiated learning is, therefore, an effective way of teaching students of varying needs in a class.
Instructional strategies for young children: Uppercase/Lowercase matching
This activity requires the learners to match the uppercase letters with lowercase letters. The teacher draws letters in both uppercase, lowercase on a manila paper, and then trims them out using a razor blade or a pair of scissors. The letters are then jumbled up together. They are then given to learners to sort them out by matching each uppercase letter with its corresponding lower case letter. After matching the alphabetical letters, the learners will then be instructed to write the letters in their books. This is an activity that should take approximately 30 minutes. This activity is helpful to learners of various abilities. It helps in grounding the learners’ recognition of letters in both their uppercase and lowercase forms. This activity is beneficial to both learners with disability and those without disability because it allows for the teacher to attend to each learner individually. The learners are divided into groups of two in which they match the letters. The teacher walks from group to group observing the activities and giving the learners ideas on how to handle the activity effectively. The activity addresses different learner skills that include creating and copying, problem solving, familiarity with alphabetical letters both in uppercase and lowercase forms, eye-hand coordination, visual discrimination and problem solving. Learners with poor memory skills will be aided to recall the letters by the models created by the teacher. Learners that have a problem writing the letters will have the privilege of observing and writing in their books. The learners’ diverse needs are, therefore, addressed in this activity.
Activity 2: Finger writing
This is an activity that requires fine sand, Manila paper and a red tape. The teacher will attach a piece of the red tape to the left of the Manila paper then spread the fine sand on the paper. The teacher will then instruct the learners to practice writing their names on the thin layer of the fine sand. The learners are bound to make errors as they are writing the names. The teacher will teach the learners on how to erase the errors they make in the process of writing their names. This will be through spreading the fine sand in the area where there is an error and writing again using the finger. The names can also be rubbed through shaking the tray on which the fine sand has been placed. This is an activity that requires each learner to work individually. Each learner is allocated ten minutes to complete the work. This activity is helpful to both children with disability and those without disability as it helps in the development of fine motor skills. The movement of the finger is coordinated by the brain. Children who experience difficulties will be aided in the activity until they become successful. This activity also aids the learners to begin to understand how to develop letters. This activity also helps the learners to start developing the ability of concentration. The learners are aided by the teacher in recognizing their mistakes, which they erase through repositioning the sand. The students, therefore, become keener when writing the letters to avoid repeating the same mistakes. This activity teaches the learners how to do their work independently, letter recognition and organization of thoughts and ideas. Activity 3: Pictorial activity The third activity is more visual compared to the two previous activities. It is an activity that is carried out in the process of another activity. The teacher arranges for an activity during an art lesson. In the process of the activity, the teacher will take pictures of every stage of the activity that the learners are performing. Therefore, the teacher will need a digital camera for use in class during the activity. The teacher will then have the pictures printed. In the next lesson, the teacher will use the pictures to allow the learners talk about their experiences during the previous lesson. The main motive of the pictures is to help the learners recall the events. This activity is very helpful to diverse learners is it assists in the development of a sense of awareness. It also stimulates and encourages a sense of curiosity, exploration and discovery. The learners will engage in recounting the events through recollection and recounting. The learners will, therefore, develop their language and vocabulary. The activity will also help the learners develop the ability to follow arrangements, social skills and the organization of thoughts and ideas. Learners with disabilities are able to memorize the learning activities better when a pictorial aspect is involved. The pictures ground the information learnt into the mind of the learners. They are, therefore, able to recall the activities with ease.
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Differentiated learning strategies are very important as they enhance the quality of instruction that is given to the learners. Teachers create more than one way of accessing the curriculum when they use differentiated learning. Teachers who differentiate their learning make the learners to be more occupied with the learning process. The responsibility of learning leans more on the learners, and this is made possible as a result of the different activities that the teachers use in their lessons. Classes where the teachers employ the use of differentiated learning experience fewer discipline problems since the learners are more engaged in the learning activities. The learners also have some choice when engaging in learning activities. They are, therefore, more motivated and may have an increased learner achievement.