Differentiation is vital to setting and achieving effective academic goals. You can’t just teach one thing in one way and every child is going to learn as effectively as each other. Children come with different background knowledge and different skill levels and they learn in different ways and at different rates.
“The concept of differentiation moves teachers away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach.” (Greg Parry)
Can you imagine giving all children just 30 minutes of time to learn to juggle? The next day some children will have achieved a lot and for others it will seem like they did not learn anything at all. Learning literacy and numeracy can be exactly the same. Sometimes we need to take longer and we might need to learn in different ways. Some students may be satisfied with a very basic understanding while others will extend above and beyond. Children might end up juggling complex words, sentences and maths problems far beyond what the teacher expected them to learn.
“Children progress through material at different speeds, according to their own learning needs and abilities. For example, a student might take longer to progress through a given topic, skip topics that cover information already known, or repeat topics on which they need more help.” (Greg Parry)
Howard Gardner, of Harvard University, USA, is famous for his identification of seven distinct learning intelligences. This theory has emerged from recent cognitive research and “documents the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways,” according to Gardner (1991).
According to this theory, “we are all able to know the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, the use of the body to solve problems or to make things, an understanding of other individuals, and an understanding of ourselves. Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences – the so-called profile of intelligences -and in the ways in which such intelligences are invoked and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems, and progress in various domains.” (Gardner)
Kingsgate International school embraces the multiple intelligences to ensure the needs of all students are met and learning potential is accelerated.
We do not believe that each child has only one learning style to be catered for. That is a simplistic understanding of different learning styles.
“We have many different challenges to solve and many different mindsets to solve them. It makes sense to embrace every different learning style and approach to leave no stone unturned in the learning process for different kids.” (Greg Parry)
“Differentiation is a way of teaching and it is a school culture. It is not a program or package of worksheets. It asks teachers to know their students well so they can provide each one with experiences and tasks that will improve learning. I think it also includes children having a say and ownership in their own learning.” (Greg Parry)
Kingsgate International School takes pride in being a school that is different. Students’ learning is differentiated, it is individualised and targets the achievement of key benchmarks. We know ALL students CAN achieve success given the time, support and professional differentiated instruction.
Contact us directly to learn more about why our school is better!
For more information about differentiated classrooms (Carol Anne Tomlinson)