The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners
Carol Ann Tomlinson
I've had this book for eight or nine years, I bet. This summer, I made a point to review it.
"[Teachers] accept and build upon the premise that learners differ in important ways. Thus, they also accept and act on the premise that teachers must be ready to engage students in instruction through different learning modalities, by appealing to differing interests, and by using varied rates of instruction along with varied degrees of complexity. In differentiated classrooms, teachers ensure that a student competes against himself as he grows and develops more than he competes against other students" (2).
"Healthy classrooms are characterized by thought, wondering, and discovery. Says elementary teacher Bob Strachota (1996): 'Unless we go through the complexities of struggle and invention, our knowledge is empty. If this is true, I cannot transfer my knowledge and experience to children whom I teach. Instead I have to find ways to help children take responsibility for inventing their own understanding of the world and how to live in it. To do this, I have to struggle against both my training and my instincts which strongly urge me to be directive: to tell children what I know, to tell them what to do...'" (33).
Sixteen years ago. He said that sixteen years ago. And I missed it. Or ignored it. It's easier to just tell them how to do things or tell them what things are. Plus, if you tell them everything, you can blame them for not getting it. Blame it on missing homework, or excess talking, or wasting time. When you lead them to learning, it's a little scary, takes time, and leads to complaining and uncomfortable conversations with parents. Ah, but it's fun.