Differentiated Instruction: A Practical Approach
Improving at anything takes practice. And not just any practice, but productive practice. If, for example, you want to be a better swimmer, it’s counterproductive to spend hour after hour in the pool when your stroke is dreadful. Correct your stroke first, then swim laps. And correcting your stroke requires skillful coaching. Coaches can only help, however, if they know what you need help with–e.g., a swimming coach must see what’s wrong with your stroke in order to help you get it right. Same goes for acting, music, art, and pretty much anything–including academics!
And when it comes to academics, you as the teacher must be that skillful coach. For students to become better writers, they should therefore not only write more, but write more in your presence. For them to master math, they need to do more math in your presence. A lot of teachers cling to the belief that if they prepare and deliver great lessons, kids will be ready to fly solo after a few minutes of independent practice. Homework, in turn, will be all the additional practice they need.
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