Many of the School Board candidates have talked about differentiated instruction so that all students are being served in the classroom.
Differentiated Instruction, which is defined by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, is “instruction that seeks to maximize each student’s growth by meeting each student where he/she is and helping the student to progress. In practice, it involves offering several different learning experiences in response to students’ varied needs. Learning activities and materials may be varied by difficulty to challenge students at different readiness levels, by topic in response to students’ interests, and by students’ preferred ways of learning or expressing themselves.”
The most common example of differentiation in public schools is ability grouping within classrooms. Ability grouping divides a class into smaller groups of advanced, average, and remedial students for specific instructional topics such as reading or mathematics. This sounds good in theory, but students are able to figure out the groupings of the "good" students versus the "not so good" students. Tracking is even a more obvious practice because it completely separates students of different abilities. GATE falls into this approach of differentiation, which is not without controversy, as you can see:
Now, imagine an elementary school class with 30 young students. How can a single teacher, each and every day, provide individual instruction to all 30 young children that is tailored to meet their specific needs and interests with just the right amount of challenge and some choice in how to learn?
Unless class sizes substantially shrink, I have my doubts. However, I want to hear the community's thoughts. Is this too good to be true? I am most interested in hearing the perspectives of the teachers. What do you think?