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Duval's entire model of teaching, differentiated instruction, is a complete failure.

At least according to Ed Week anyways.

If you have taught in Duval you have had two words drilled into your head over the last few words and they are differentiated instruction. In theory it means you are supposed to meet the kid where they are and teach to their style. In reality that would be great if each class had five kids and some more reality is it has been a muddled mess.

From Ed Week: The biggest reason differentiation doesn't work, and never will, is the way students are deployed in most of our nation's classrooms. Toss together several students who struggle to learn, along with a smattering of gifted kids, while adding a few English-language learners and a bunch of academically average students and expect a single teacher to differentiate for each of them. That is a recipe for academic disaster if ever I saw one. Such an admixture of students with varying abilities in one classroom causes even the most experienced and conscientious teachers to flinch, as they know the task of reaching each child is an impossible one.
It seems to me that the only educators who assert that differentiation is doable are those who have never tried to implement it themselves: university professors, curriculum coordinators, and school principals. It's the in-the-trenches educators who know the stark reality: Differentiation is a cheap way out for school districts to pay lip service to those who demand that each child be educated to his or her fullest potential.
Do we expect an oncologist to be able to treat glaucoma? Do we expect a criminal prosecutor to be able to decipher patent law? Do we expect a concert pianist to be able to play the clarinet equally well? No, no, no. However, when the education of our nation's young people is at stake, we toss together into one classroom every possible learning strength and disability and expect a single teacher to be able to work academic miracles with every kid … as long as said teacher is willing to differentiate, of course.

It does sound good though doesn't it, kind of like charter schools, merit pay and vouchers, and so many of the other reforms people try to cram down our throats, the problem is none of them work very well and while we kick and flail with each new idea our children and schools pay the price.

1 comment:

  1. expect a single teacher to differentiate for each of them. That is a recipe for academic disaster if ever I saw one.

    Wow common sense. Teachers are being drawn and quartered in our nations classrooms.