DI – macro vs micro

Edu Gridlock Part 5:

What do you think when you hear the term DI or Differentiated instruction?  What is your first reaction?  I think the notion often stills up a lot of negative thinking – maybe this type of reaction – chaos envisioned.

my horrified look

The truth is, in conversations with teachers and administrators, what makes the most difference seems to be DI at the micro level.  I have heard so many accounts of small changes, choice, and flexibility playing in important role in moving learning, process, documentation of learning and/or assessment to a more effective result.  Don’t discount the impacts of “micro changes”. 

There is another angle though.  I enjoyed a great conversation with Julie Balen  this evening, where we discussed the idea of educators embracing DI “up front” at the planning stage.  Questions we explored included:

  • What lens do you look at a curriculum with?
  • Does thinking default to a fixed linear sequential mode?
  • What does it take to imagine curriculum unfolding in a new way?  — perhaps an unconventional way that may the deepen learning, feedback and assessment cycles
  • Considering the impact of approach, choice, voice and better questioning techniques
  • What actions can we take to inspire people to think differently?

I really enjoyed hearing Julie’s perspectives and experiences.  There is no one answer to these questions. The value is in taking the time to explore them, consider personal change and recognize the importance of the flexibility to adjust in an effort to  maximize each learning opportunity.   I look forward to our next conversation Julie!

Differentiation Resources: ASCD,  Learn Alberta

Julie’s  Blog

Photo credit:  Flickr user Bernice Bowling

~Mark
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