As I prepare for a new crop of students in Semester 2, which is fast approaching, I have been thinking a lot about what I will do ‘differently’, with regards to differentiation. Included in these thoughts is a possible re-working of the definition of Differentiation or — at least for me– a more concrete way of thinking about its definition .
As I gain a bit more experience in attempting to create a ‘culture of differentiation’ in my classroom, for me this means that I am creating an environment of Responsive Teaching; that is to say, I find now I am constantly gathering feedback on many areas of the classroom and the course from the students themselves, both formally and on-the-fly, and from my own observations, and based on that ongoing flow of information, I, as the teacher, strive to respond appropriately to what the students are revealing they need at that moment in order to be successful. But all of this information is perhaps filtered through my own professional judgment as the classroom teacher and what I feel the students need as well.
If I were to put it in a even more succinct fashion, I might say:
- “Responsive teaching based on a constant flow of information and feedback gathered with and from the students — and the response is always tempered, facilitated, and guided by the informed professional judgment of the teacher.”