Monday, October 11, 2010

Two, Four, Six, Eight, Let's All Differentiate

Bravmann, Stephanie. (2004). Two, Four, Six, Eight, Let's All Differentiate
Differential Education: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Retrieved from:


The article goes through a brief history of where differential education began, how it's being used today, and where it should be going to be effective in the future. Dr. Virgil Ward first coined the phrase "differential education" in an effort to better serve gifted students by beginning their instruction based on what they already know. It has since been seen as applicable to all students. Now that it's been popularized, there has been some confusion. It does not mean giving the same assignment to all students and simply making the questions harder. Providing enrichment activities for those who finish early is not differential education either. In order to truly use differential education teachers need to make changes in the areas of pacing and sophistication, depth, complexity, and personalization.

"Some write and speak about "differentiated curriculum" and others about "differentiated instruction." Few focus unambiguously on the necessary combination of the two in order to create differential education."

"Learning activities must allow for student choice at levels of complexity that are most appropriate; in other words, assignments must be tiered to take into account different ways to meet the same goal."

"Differentiation itself is based on three beliefs: Everyone learns differently; Quality is more important than quantity (e.g. significance trumps coverage); "One-size-fits-all" curriculum and instruction presumes that content is more important than students"

"Differential education is a philosophy that is focused on the confluence of student and content. It is not a strategy that teachers can learn "to do" in classes and workshops and then immediately implement in their schools."

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