Presenting a Differentiated Approach to Curriculum Development

Presenting a Differentiated Approach to Curriculum Development

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5106-5.ch003

Abstract

In this chapter, there will be a presentation of information on the development process of differentiated curriculum. Differentiated curriculum can be beneficial for the traditional and online classroom. Since a differentiated curriculum is developed unique for the student population, this is particularly useful for a multicultural student population. A differentiated lesson approach can be used to motivate students because of a unique approach to the lesson. Also by using differentiated lessons and models lesson preparation is a unique process for each different learning style. When working with a multicultural group of students it is necessary to setup an individual plan for each student focusing on the students learning style and profile. Following are key areas that will be discussed in this chapter; A differentiated approach to curriculum development, theoretical models that support differentiated learning, determining the learning style for differentiation. (multicultural), aligning the topic of study with differentiated learning, developing a plan to address the learning style using a differentiated approach. (multicultural) and encouraging students to interact and provide feedback for students. (multicultural)
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A Differentiated Approach To Curriculum Development

Differentiated curriculum is useful for traditional and online environments and it is important for all students. “Differentiated instruction is a philosophy of teaching purporting that students learn best when their teachers effectively address variance in student’s readiness levels, interests, and learning profile preferences” (Tomlinson, 2005, p. 263). Variance is the difference that makes students unique. When developing curriculum, it is important to keep in mind the cultural differences in order to make the information useful while motivating the student. It is noted that “differentiation must be an extension of high quality curriculum, not a replacement for it” (Tomlinson, 2005, p. 263). Although there may be differences in differentiated curriculum it should still have the concepts, ideas and objectives that the main curriculum has for the class. “Quality differentiation has a core focus on ensuring that each student in a diverse array of learners maintains a focus on personal growth to enhance motivation to learn and effort necessary to learn” (Tomlinson, 2005, p. 268). Focus on personal growth can be a motivational factor and encourage the growth of individuality.

A differentiated approach to curriculum development is not new and has a positive attention on individual growth. Gundlach (2012) discussed that differentiated instruction dates back as far as the 1600. The differentiated classroom was made up of a one room school house. The teacher had the responsibility of making sure that all students and all grades were educated from the same classroom while using different lessons for a diverse group of students. The one room classroom provided challenges to the instructor in that not only was the instructor responsible for training the children but the teacher also had to maintain order in the classroom. As a youngster, I experienced a one room classroom because of the remote location of the town. Students were lined up in rows by grades. Students would work on assignments and tasks while instruction would continue with the other grades. Grades 1 through 6 were managed by one instructor and assignments and tasks were worked on individually and submitted on time by the end of the day. As time progressed, other specialists and educators in the field studied the importance of managing the differentiated classroom and the impact on students based on different educational needs. This type of classroom can be a challenge and the teacher needs to develop different lesson plans that can be used for a diverse group of students.

An individual by the name of Preston Search in 1889 noted that students work at different paces and that they need to be accommodated in their learning by experimenting with different learning styles and techniques. Learning styles can be a useful tool when developing the curriculum to manage a student’s learning style that can be useful in a differentiated environment. There are also other educators like Frederick Burk and Mary Ward who noted how intelligence tests are useful for evaluating students in self instruction. The self-instruction approach can be managed to encourage students to move forward at their own pace using differentiated lessons (Gudlach, brighthubeducation.com, 2012). Self-instruction is considered a differentiated approach and can help instructors understand how to use self-instruction to develop lesson planning, student tasks, student assignments and assessments.

“Differentiation was originally associated with gifted learners (e.g. Renzulli, 1978; 1997 Tannenbaum & Baldwin, 1983; VanTassel-Baska, 1992)” (Tobin, 2005, p. 4). Although differentiated curriculum development was used to work with the gifted student, it can also be useful for all students. All students can benefit from an individualized approach to understanding the concept and objectives for the course. “Differentiation was popularized by Tomlinson’s (1995) extensive and well-articulated work on whole-class differentiation” (Tobin, 2005, p. 4). Popularization encouraged teachers to look at a differentiated approach using a different perspective that allows creativity and individualized enhancements of the curriculum. The key to:

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