Differentiation: An explanation, resources and experiences of a Teacher Aide

It’s been a big part of my career in Early Childhood to assist and apply differentiation strategies to assist educators and children in achieving learning goals.

I’ve been doing it since before I knew it had a name.  The first childcare centre I worked at I was a support worker for a child on the Autism Spectrum.  He was profoundly affected by this disorder and I learnt so much in a short space of time assisting him with various tasks.  Differentiation is the “art” of customising education. That’s how I see it anyway.  It’s anything you do or say in order to maximise students opportunity to learn.  For a hearing impaired child this might be sitting them close to the teacher, for a visually impaired child, it may be providing large print worksheets – sometimes it’s those things that are thought out, planned and executed; but actually as educators we differentiate in so many ways each day we don’t even know we’re doing it.

When you provide younger students with smaller chairs, you’re differentiating- they require a smaller chair to sit proportionately at the desk, so they can write and participate comfortably.  When you have different expectations of child a to child b, you’re differentiating.  For child a, it might be quite an achievement to count to 5, while child b is struggling with the writing of numbers.  Their individual level and the alterations you make to your expectations, your activities, your support are all ways you implement differentiation.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Autism – and insider’s perspective… | rachelharlen

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