Why Is Giving Students Differentiated Instruction Important?

students differentiated instruction

Although most lessons cover material in a standardised manner, the truth is students have a wide range of interests, curriculum knowledge, and learning pace. Some are struggling with the material, while others are already seeking advanced knowledge. Moreover, some students latch onto concepts quickly just after an explanation, while others need more practice. 

With students possessing different aptitudes and abilities, is it possible to challenge top students while not leaving anyone behind? How can teachers adapt to all sorts of diverse learning needs?

This is where Differentiated Instruction comes in! It is a vital educational tool, addressing multiple intelligences in the classroom, and different learning abilities. 

An example of a Differentiated Instruction strategy would be to tier lessons to challenge all students. This means a teacher would teach the same concept to everyone but vary the level of complexities in subsequent assessments.

Teachers can also split the class in an organised way for group discussions of key concepts learnt. Afterwards, the groups come back together to present said concepts and summarise the salient points. By matching their learning abilities within appropriate groupings, students are more likely to understand the concepts learnt, become motivated, and gain confidence – something absolutely crucial for students!

Students can be grouped based on their level of readiness, interest, or learning style. It is also possible to mix students from different levels – meaning, grouping higher-performing students with lower-performing ones. Grouping is a dynamic, flexible process! 

Here at Write Edge, we utilise students differentiated instruction in our lessons. As we understand that every student has their own strengths and weaknesses, our dedicated teachers will adapt based on their learning styles, to help them overcome whatever unique challenges each different student faces, and develop more effective writing skills!

Take for example, if a student is struggling with independent writing. They might not understand how to structure and flesh out their composition, or they may be unsure of how to make it more engaging. To resolve this, we would first guide them through plot planning or provide some guiding phrases for some paragraphs. By giving small hints and a subtle guiding hand, it ensures we do not leave students to get lost and demotivated, while simultaneously ensuring they are not being spoon-fed.

We will also do our best to elicit responses from students, to encourage them to speak up and take part in lessons, rather than simply being passive bystanders to their own learning. Finally, we would guide students in applying simple WE skills and writing techniques wherever relevant. This includes fundamentals of composition writing, such as Show-Not-Tell, mature reflection, and linking back to the composition topic. 

In another instance, where a student struggles with completing compositions on time, we would set a limit for them during writing practice – about 10 minutes per paragraph. This is to inculcate an important habit and examination strategy, where we set a pace for the student. Although they may initially feel a little pressured, they will slowly get accustomed: eventually, they would possess a much faster writing speed and be able to complete compositions with minutes to spare!

Another issue students may face is being unable to apply the appropriate standard of content and language skills. In that case, we would employ scaffolding, and send feedback to parents about our efforts to help. This help would entail a multitude of different factors, where we set specific goals or targets, as well as a specific timeline that they think is fair to accomplish those goals.

We would set our Content Strategy in motion to brainstorm relevant skills, as well as to get our students to write down a list of skills, phrases, and formats that can be applied to the composition they are tackling. 

There is also our Language Strategy, where we go through Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar Rules, and assign spelling corrections to clean up and polish their writing.

In an extreme case, there might be students who do not complete homework but require extra practice to see improvement. In such a scenario, our teachers would verbally give students a choice to set aside time before or after class to do Draft 1 or complete Draft 1 at home.

If a student has a lot of backlogged homework, informing their parents is our first step. For lower primary, we would work with both the student and their parents to fix a homework routine. For upper primary students, we would create a separate homework tracker with clear deadlines. As for secondary school students, we would set agreements, and a personalised homework tracker to not only motivate but help students to manage their workload.

To sum up, our teachers at Write Edge will use three main techniques to tailor lessons to a mixed-ability classroom. Firstly, we will identify types of students in the Write Edge classroom, to group them into varied levels: Challenging Behaviour, Low Progress, and finally, Advanced students. Next, we will guide them through whatever unique learning obstacles each student may have. Finally, we will select the most suitable strategies for managing various kinds of writing profiles.

If you are interested in the students differentiated instruction teaching method or are unsure of how to improve English composition skills, join our creative writing class online at Write Edge today!