Title

Making The Connection With Disconnected Learners: Strategies for Differentiating Instruction

Location

Scarbrough 3

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

Academic success for all learners hinges on the ability to meet learners where they are and broaden their opportunities to respond to instruction. Students arrive in our schools and classrooms with a wide range of life experiences, cultural expectations, cognitive abilities and academic experiences, all of which impact how instruction is received and internalized. Providing instruction that taps into students’ propensity to learn in multiple ways is essential in facilitating learning connections with the potentially disconnected learner.

Brief Program Description

Differentiating instruction is the bridge we build between pre-determined curriculum standards and the unique needs of the diverse learners we teach. K-12 participants will examine effective ways to increase learning relevancy and promote learner connectedness despite wide achievement gaps existing within our schools. Targeted differentiation provides a key tool for increasing student performance and narrowing that gap.

Summary

The task before us is great, as we educate children who are members of an increasingly diverse global community. It is readily apparent that students bring to the learning environment a range of life experiences, academic talents, cultural behaviors and social-emotional needs. Sometimes chronological age is the only common demographic within a given classroom grouping. To increase the chances of relevance and to engage students around content, instruction must be delivered using a variety of stratagems that will honor the learner’s prior knowledge, experiences, learning styles and modalities and rates of learning. Students must also be given a broader range of opportunities to respond to instruction. The diversity and increased number of ways students have to reflect, respond, and react to what’s being taught directly influences understanding, skill development and recall of information. This is a presentation that has clear and specific take aways. K-12 teachers will leave this session armed with specific instructional strategies to improve their craft. Teacher leaders and administrators will take away tools to enable their teams to create appropriately challenging learning environments that fit any curriculum and serve diverse learning groups. On a backdrop overview of the modalities and intelligences that drive the manner in which learners respond to instruction, we will examine techniques that create “realness” and cultivate rapport and trust with students. The child who is most at risk of academic failure in school is one who does not view himself as a member of the academic mainstream. We will recognize the teaching land mines that worsen this downward spiral of learner alienation as we discuss questioning strategies and delivery techniques that focus student attention and create an inclusive and engaging space for all learners to grow and thrive.

Evidence

Differentiating instruction to accommodate the different ways that students learn is hugely supported by sound learning theory and multiple bodies of research. The approach is one that advocates actively and intentionally planning for student differences in classrooms and is rooted in theories that support teaching in ways that are compatible with how the brain learns. Bloom’s Taxonomy, Howard Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence, learning modality research and theories that support an anti-bias curriculum all sit squarely at the foundation of this teaching philosophy. Educational Leadership, an ASCD publication, provides a review of the research on Differentiated Instruction. It summarizes the various practices that validate differentiation to include promoting student engagement and motivation, responding to learning styles, grouping students for instruction and teaching to the student’s zone of proximal development. These are just some of the strategies that will be addressed in this session that across the literature, undergird support for differentiated instruction practices. (Education Leadership Feb. 2010, Vol.67. No 5: Meeting Students Where They Are)

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Cheryl Smith Turner is a seasoned teacher trainer who brings passion, professionalism and more than 35 years of experience in the field of education to each and every presentation she does. Cheryl possesses a training style that integrates her ability to read and connect with an audience with humor and “hands-on/minds-on” learning. As an Asst. Project Director and Lead Trainer for the Georgia State University Best Practices Training Initiative, Cheryl worked collaboratively with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (Bright from the Start) in developing and providing professional development for Georgia Pre-K teachers, site directors and other education practitioners. She conducted professional development workshops and one to two-day trainings on a variety of topics and areas of content, to include classroom management, social-emotional development, language and literacy development, critical thinking skills and play based learning. Currently, Cheryl is a nationally certified trainer for classroom management trainer and differentiated instruction as well as a state approved trainer for Strengthening Families Georgia. Additionally, Cheryl is CEO/president of her own educational consulting company.

Keyword Descriptors

Differentiated Instruction, Brain-based Instruction; Achievement, Instructional Strategies

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-3-2015 1:00 PM

End Date

3-3-2015 2:15 PM

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Mar 3rd, 1:00 PM Mar 3rd, 2:15 PM

Making The Connection With Disconnected Learners: Strategies for Differentiating Instruction

Scarbrough 3

Differentiating instruction is the bridge we build between pre-determined curriculum standards and the unique needs of the diverse learners we teach. K-12 participants will examine effective ways to increase learning relevancy and promote learner connectedness despite wide achievement gaps existing within our schools. Targeted differentiation provides a key tool for increasing student performance and narrowing that gap.