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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One thought on “DI – macro vs micro”

  1. There has been some terrific Twitter conversation this summer about where powerful conversations take place: online vs. offline. Many people in my PLN have both as they use a variety of tools beyond Twitter, say, like Hangouts and Voxer. I connect with folks in many ways, too, and I am a better person and educator for my interactions in those online spaces. They are an essential part of life.

    But, for me, face-to-face conversations allow other ways of communicating than text and voice. Eye contact, facial expressions, body language, response time add layers of meaning that otherwise may not be received nor understood. And our shared experiences ground those conversations, helping to make the ideas that emerge stick and then grow (and spread e.g. connectivism).

    Our conversation last night did just that!

    It is imperative that at the planning stage we challenge our assumptions about what we think we know about the courses we teach. Do we “see” the curriculum the same way we did when we first started teaching? And how do our students “see” the curriculum? How do they “see” themselves in the curriculum?

    Thanks for the timely conversation Mark!

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