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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

A Minute Activity on Fairness and Differentiation in Teaching

[#facilitation + #teaching] There is an activity you can do that takes less than a minute, yet brings up enough feelings and experiences in every person to last a good 20 minutes or more (!) of reflections on the learning that takes place. It is about discussing the idea of #fairness when it comes to meeting the needs of all learners.


You can do this with adults or with students.


1️⃣You take an object - a chocolate, a book, something you are willing to give away.


2️⃣You place it somewhere in the room - ideally fairly accessible to all.


3️⃣You inform the participants that anyone can go and get the object, and if they do, it is theirs to keep.


Then you go quiet and wait for action.


Typically, someone will jump up quite quickly and seize the opportunity. The rest of the room, in turn, develops a whole range of feelings in response.


There are two things to reflect on together after this 1 minute activity is done:


1: Was it fair? Explain your reason.

2: How would you make it fairer?


The kind of ideas and reflections that come from these two questions after the activity can help inform a lot of the things you need to consider when meeting the needs of all learners. Things like: “it wasn’t accessible to me”, or “it wasn’t something I was much interested in”, or, “your instruction wasn’t clear for me!”.


Today, my favourite solution was shared by a teacher who said:


If I only had one object like you did today, I’d make it into a game - set a challenge for my learners to win the object.


Quite cool!


I did this with teachers in Oman and today again with teachers in Dubai, and it has proven a valuable plenary / opener activity to help reflect on why differentiating effectively often needs the buy in and collaborative effort of the whole class to make deep learning experiences happen in the long run.


I was grateful to get the idea to do this from Jen Perry  , who shared the story of a teacher who ran this activity in their class as part of a webinar “Why Wellbeing Isn't Just About Mental Health, but Rooted in Learning Pedagogy”, a session coordinated and delivered by the COBIS - Council of British International Schools. Thank you, Jen!



📸: Photos are with some of the super team at Crescent International School Abu Dhabi yesterday! Such valuable insights shared all the way through - an awesome team! 💛🤩


💃🏻 Skirt & top is from the Rosewater House collection. A brand I love that honours #Arab heritage. I was also told it projects Chitrali vibes too, by fellow #Pashtun #teachers. ☺️💛




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