Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Really Matters In Teaching? (The Students)

Tomlinson, C & McTighe, J. (2006), Chapter 2 "What really Matters in Teaching?(The Students), Integrating Differentiated Instruction + Understanding by Design, ACSD, Virginia

Summary: This chapter focuses on 3 essential questions; how can students’ lives influence their classroom experiences? Why does it matter to teach responsively? And what are starting points for responsive teaching? Through the chapter, Tomlinson addresses the three key issues affecting student learning are their personal lives, their identity, and possible learning problems. The beginning of the chapter focuses on the importance of teachers to consider the diverse issues facing students when they come to school and the second half focuses on teachers being able to teach responsively. Being a “responsive teacher” she defines as some one who is “attune with their students learning needs and to the requirements and thoughtful and well-articulated curriculum.”(18) She presents ten ways teachers can become more attune to individual students learning needs that is the best way to differentiate rather than individualize.

This chapter being one of the introductory chapters in the book basically focuses in on doing just that, introducing the topic and leaving the reader with more questions to be followed up on in later chapters. She offers case study observations of students in order to emphasize her points. Even though the chapter is not heavily sited, it makes a compelling argument for responsive teaching as well as introducing some strategies teachers can use to incorporate into their classrooms in order to best differentiate to their diversity of students. Research sited is mainly her own and/or McTighe.

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