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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

Effective Differentiation: Insights from a Workshop

[#teaching + #differentiation] Today I was grateful to be invited to work with a group of teachers who opened themselves up to a learning journey with me. At some points we were pretending to be bumble bees, at others we were grappling with giving constructive feedback on what it means to be fair. And throughout we punctuated it all with lots of wi-fives.

We were considering how to differentiate well, in a consistent way, and a question at the end prompted us to hone in on three key takeaways, which I share below.

Any good facilitation of learning involves constant differentiation - it’s a never-ending story that has 'being considerate' at the heart of it. So while the list is long of what could be done, I felt these three were pertinent to the experiences we had in this workshop, and I think they are important when thinking about the challenge of ‘constantly differentiating’:

1) “Joining up”.

Metaphorically making sure you have made “eye contact” with every single student in the room. Check in. Really seeing each student. Noticing things and details about them.

2) Being ready to pivot. On the spot.

Even to override your own instructions or plan.

The magic of learning in a classroom is in the spontaneity that can come from students in person working together. It’s in the hubbub, the exchange and the shared discoveries. Making the most of this means sometimes overriding instructions and plans.

3) Always having the end in mind, clearly.

If someone walked in, mid-flow during a lesson, can you tell them in one sentence what the single most important practical outcome is? Having this in mind in an easy to grasp way, communicating it often to the people in the room (no matter their age), and having unwavering focus on getting everyone over that line is very helpful for differentiating. It allows you to steer everyone back on track and notice when things are going too far off on a tangent.

There are so many things we can all do to better meet the needs of our participants and learners consistently and in a fair way. What are some you might add to this?

I am super grateful for today. Thank you #EmiratesFutureInternationalSchool, #AbuDhabi and my colleague Anup Singh Khichi for the stellar support and engagement throughout. It was a privilege.

To your continued success this year. 💪

P.S. fun fact: most schools in the UAE will have a little (sometimes big!) heritage corner in their entrance, showcasing some traditional features of the country. Last photo is the cute corner from today’s school.

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