As humans, we naturally have the tendency to question things. We have all had this particular question, at some point in our lives as well. This particular question pops up across every line of work, across every region, and is asked by almost everyone. The question is: “Why are we doing it this way?”… and almost always, we are given the fallacious answer of “Because we’ve always done it like that”. Then, we go on with our lives.
When it comes to the early childhood classroom, we limit children to thinking and learning about one content area for an entire hour. Take for example this typical first grade schedule:
So, from 9am-10am they must think, breathe, eat, drink, and sleep math? Meanwhile, we discipline the student drawing in their notebook, shush the student who is humming a song, redirect the student who is writing a poem, and start to lose our minds! So why must we teach this way? The answer we receive, more often than not, you guessed it: “Because we’ve always taught this way”.
The Big Question
This traditional approach is not meeting the needs of our diverse learners. We as teachers “Need to take into consideration not only the subject we teach, but the learners as well. All learners do not make progress at the same speed rate, or with same learning techniques, with same behavior, or interests”(Ismajli & Imami-Morina 2018). Time for the big question: How can educators meet the needs of all students?
We can meet our diverse learner’s needs through differentiated instruction! Differentiated instruction simply means tailoring instruction to meet individual student needs. It entails that “Instructors are flexible in their approach towards teaching and adapt their syllabus and teaching to learners, and not adjust learners to the syllabus” (Ismajli & Imami-Morina 2018).
A Call To Action
We are not all alike, and neither are our students. So lets give those students opportunities to draw, to sing, and to create while delivering content. We can even go a step further and practice an integrated curriculum, incorporating multiple content areas into one lesson. We simply have to take the time to get to know our students, their learning styles, and what works best for them. Utilize differentiated instruction and watch your students blossom. Please, consider the kids.
How will you utilize differentiated instruction?
Ismajli, H., & Imami-Morina, I. (2018). Differentiated Instruction: Understanding and Applying Interactive Strategies to Meet the Needs of All the Students. International Journal of Instruction,11, 207-218. Retrieved March 31, 2019, from http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=8c2c9483-be1c-4b3f-b607-27365e07fb11@pdc-v-sessmgr06