Have you ever decided to use group work in one of your classes only to have it very quickly turn to chaos? When I first started teaching Year 1 I had just this experience. I was so excited to use group work because I had read all the literature on how students learn better in social situations. I was convinced my students were going to benefit so much because of this wonderful cooperative learning strategy. Of course what ended up happening was just a mess! There were kids rolling around on the floor, some of them were bossing the others around and some went off on their own to read in the reading corner. It was an unmitigated disaster!
While your name may be the sweetest sound on earth to you, when it is overused in a negative tone, there is no sweetness! I have heard teachers use a student’s name over and over in a vain effort to have them comply with directions - to stop or start doing something. The teacher’s voice becomes white noise - the target student is not listening and the rest of the class is annoyed and also switching off. Being creative and using a variety of non-verbal ways to manage student behaviour and gain student attention can avoid this pitfall and save your voice:
As educators we all recognise that differentiation in the classroom is vital as students are individuals who learn at different rates and in different ways. However, planning, programming and assessing for the wide variety of needs and interests of multi-age and multi-ability classes can be quite a challenge! Here are 14 ways you can use differentiation in the classroom.