Differentiate instruction is not easy for the teachers and also they got some misunderstanding about this kind of teaching method, such as they think it is chaotic. That's why lots of teacher nowadays just keep using some rigid methods to teach the studetns, ignoring the differentation of the students. One of the ways to do differentiate instruction is that using a variety of grouping strategies allows you to match students and tasks when necessary, and to observe and assess students in a variey of groupings and task conditions and so that keeping students from feeling that they are"pegged" into a given classroom niche.(Tomlinson, 2001). Of course, it is only one of the methods, there are too many ways to achieve it. About the motivation, i will discuss it later.
In my mind, we focus on teachers not use differentiation methods to teach students, to flavour them learning but ignore that there's no space for teachers to learn and apply the stategies.
In Hong Kong, students' academic performance is definitely a measurement for the teachers and also the school. Sometimes, teachers do not hate seeing students learning happily if they use some activities in the lessons. But with no doubt that, it is not as efficient as the method "talk & learn". If the students with fun activies learn less than other classes, the teacher is to be blamed even though the students actually learn more EFFICIENTLY. If the mindset of the principals and even Hong Kong education does not change, teachers are just small potatoes. They dare not to do this reform - using a varity of teaching stategies.
One of the most difficult tasks for teachers is that how can we motivate the students. I think there are lots of teachers still cannot perform well in it. Of course i cannot too(now). But i have read some readings about it and want to share with you. A really important thing is that we should let the academic instruction is teamed with real-world situations. For example, lots of students think History is really boring, but for me, it is not. Why? As my secondary school teacher motivated my interest in History. He tried to tell me that we can avoid some big mistakes while we know the History. Why can we live comfortably nowadays? It is because the world war I and world war II showed us how cruel the wars are, that's why the Japan, America and China try their best to avoid the war again even they have really intense relationship in the event of Diaoyu Islands. So, try to let your subject related with real-world situations, or accurately, let them know how it applies in real-world.
It is suggested by a journal that there are four aspects which would affect students' motivation:
(1) the degree of success experienced by the student;
(2) the level of task difficulty;
(3) the feedback received; and
(4) student perceptions of control in a situation.
For me, the level of task difficulty may be the most crucial factor. No matter what level students are in, the tasks should be just slightly harder than what they could achieved. In this way, students would not feel bore, neither would they feel frustrated and give up.
Tjeerdsma, Bonnie L. (1995). How to motivate students ... Without standing on your head! Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance 66:(5), 36.
Due to technical problems, I have duplicated replies and "this" reply should be under Yiu Siu Chung 01/28/2013 2:59am
It's glad to hear that you have a good History teacher! I also feel sorrow when I watch WWI, WWII videos after my secondary school. But my teacher didn't let me to watch at that time so I didn't study History well. According to Neil Fleming's VAK model, there are 3 kinds of learning style: visual, verbal and kinesthetic. Watching videos and playing games are welcomed by students as they are fit for verbal and kinesthetic students. And even welcomed by visual students, they feel fresh about it.
Try our best to relate our subject with real-world situations is a practical way to keep students' attention, in which i believe it is easier for LS teachers to deal with it as we always pick up current issues to discuss with them.
However, what I believe is more important is the mindsets of teachers. Before entering classroom, we should take away all of our stereotypes towards this type of learners. Namely, not all of them are high academic acheivers, not all of the high academic acheivers are gifted; What is more, there is no gender, ethnicity, financial situations and any kids of differences among them.This is what Professor James R. Delisle emphasized in the book Gifted Child Today(P. 22–23.2005).
Instead, their characteristics are diverse, they are gifted in different areas. In this way, teachers will be more aware of their special needs and cater for them, for example, they may possess a precocious ability to think abstractly and logically, rapid learning things they are interested in, and most importantly, their sensitive personality and they are sometimes mentally-vulnerable, which need our special care and attention.
Whenever gifted ones can feel your passion and awareness, they will feel secure and will be more willing to listen to what you teach, thus building up an intimate relationship with trust, love and care is the first and parmount step to take when you first become their teacher.
As a Kindergarten teacher in Ontario, Canada we are moving towards and inquiry based model of teaching. As educators we listen to our students interests, conversations and questions and design a program where students learn through their interests. Our primary students are aware of and understand their immediate world ( weather patterns, components of community, family heritage and histories to name a few). Through theses topics we can teach and provide opportunities for: authentic writing (predicting an outcome of an event, creating a storyboard, making meaningful posters); math concepts related to real world contexts (using measurement tools to understand weather, numeracy and data management to record experiments, geometry to build structures); representing their thinking and ideas through visual arts and drama. Because the 'spark' has come from the students they are very motivated to learn, ask questions and design their learning. I began this journey of teaching through inquiry when I started researching the Reggio Emilia schools of Italy
One of the most difficult tasks for teachers is that how can we motivate the students. I think there are lots of teachers still cannot perform well in it. Of course i cannot too(now). But i have read some readings about it and want to share with you. A really important thing is that we should let the academic instruction is teamed with real-world situations. For example, lots of students think History is really boring, but for me, it is not. Why? As my secondary school teacher motivated my interest in History. He tried to tell me that we can avoid some big mistakes while we know the History. Why can we live comfortably nowadays? It is because the world war I and world war II showed us how cruel the wars are, that's why the Japan, America and China try their best to avoid the war again even they have really intense relationship in the event of Dialog Islands. So, try to let your subject related with real-world situations, or accurately, let them know how it applies in real-world.
Diao yu Islands.
How to do differentiation?
I think the first step we can do and need to do is to know how the differentiation the students are, because it is important to the teachers that modify their teaching strategies.
Besides, there are many differentiated instruction strategies we know. Maybe the teachers don't know what strategies are good for their students, therefore the teachers need to know more about the students and acknowledge their differences and difficulties. Finally, the teachers can choose the best strategies to them.
I really agree with what Yiu Siu said that the instruction related with real-world situations can motivate the students and attract their interests. I think Liberal studies(My Major=]) is related to the real-world situations but the students don't think they can apply what they learn in the real-world. For example, we teach something about the influences of China Reform, but the students think that it is not related to them and useless. So how can we change their perception and attract their interests? Can you suggest some way to us?
Patrick has introduced lots of information about the gifted students for us, such as their definition , characteristic and challenges, you can name it. When we mange classrooms in the future, we probably will find some gifted students in our classrooms in the future(maybe we are/were one of them), how can we take care of them? Or how can we motivate them? We cannot just teach them like we do to the normal students, right? So, I think we can explore more in this area and i know you guys are willing to do so:) . Maybe we can focus on two questions, 1. As there are wide definitions of gifted children, can we just define them as ''intellectual precocity'' so that we can discuss it in a deeper and efficient way? 2. How the teachers take care and develop the gifted students in the general classrooms?
Yes, I agree. According to Patrick, Gardner believes that there are multiple intelligences such as music, bodily, naturalist, intrapersonal, verbal, logical and so on while Francoys Gagne suggests that there are different scopes including intelligence, creativity, social, muscle movement and so on. If we can narrowe the scope or focus on one particular domain, it would be much easier to handle. Therefore, I agree that we focus on ''intellectual precocity''. At the same time, we can also make an assumption that the gifted students in our class do not have other special educational needs such as ADHD or Autism so we just simply assume that the gifted students are academically intelligent.
Yes,I agree with you .And I found some resources from HKAGE .There are some interviews with the leading gifted education experts ,the theme is about igniting the motivational flame of gifted learners.
For example ,the electronic periodical interviewed Professor Steven Pfeiffer (Director of Clinical Training of the Florida State University ) and he highlights the relationship between motivation and gifted (Very Useful!!)
He said " In homogeneous gifted classroom considerable individual differences in drive, enthusiasm ,ambitiousness ,determination,persistence ,and motivation ". Motivation is most important ."
Motivation is not a component of giftness ,but it can consider as an integral component of talent among high ability students .
So after delimited targets, we can focus on igniting gifted learners' motivations.
You guys are very smart. A lot of educators, even those in USA, find the broad definition of giftedness very difficult to handle. Like some districts in Virigina, USA, they have their operational definition like what you suggested. They then find it much easier to cater for their needs. However, "intellectual precocity" is not equal to "academically intelligent" because they can think fast and handle abstract thinking but they may not have high score. That may be due to the requirement of assessment task, motivation, interest and even their SEN nature (eg. dyslexia).
* If intellectual precocity is the operational definition of giftness, how can teachers identify those students and then cater for their needs?
According to the differentiation theory, ''Differentiation is a systematic approach to planning curriculum and instruction for academically diverse learners. It is a way of thinking about the classroom with the dual goals of honoring each student’s learning needs and maximizing each student’s learning capacity (Tomlinson & Eidson, 2003). So, we got to exercise their talents to fullest potential. Here are some ways suggested:
1. Sophisticated personnel preparation
Teachers of the gifted and talented are given special training, after which they can better prepare individually appropriate curricula and recognize the characteristics of giftedness or high-ability students in their own classrooms.
2. The gifted teaching specialty requires the teacher to have further developed skills than his or her regular classroom counterparts
Once content standards are established in general education, the
gifted specialist adds to these standards, creating a “standards-plus” criteria that enhances content for gifted students. The key element is to provide a measure of gifted education training to all teachers since every teacher is responsible for educating the gifted students in their own classes.
(From Tempus Fugit Glass.(2004). What Gift? The Reality of the Student Who is Gifted and Talented. Gifted Child Today, 27(4), 25-29.
To be continued
I would like to talk about how teachers can take care of the gifted students in the general class. According to Dr. Wan lectures, I find that the concept of "Enrichment" is useful in dealing with the gifted students during the class. When we do small-group projects/ discussion, can we arrange the gifted students in the same group (supposed there are a few of them in the class)? If they finish their discussion or tasks quickly (they are supposed to be), we can arrange higher-level tasks for them. Teachers can prepare self-directed learning activities, supplementary worksheets or materials for them so that they can make use of their time after finishing the class work while teachers can focus more on other students. I remember that Patrick had said before that based on his experience, forming students with the same ability in a group is practicable and the outcome is good. Do you have any ideas?
Also, a class library can be built at the back of the classroom so that if they finish the tasks or they have already familiarized themselves with the concept or the topic which teachers are teaching, they can go to the class library and look for the related and supplementary materials whcih can enrich their knowledge and they will not be bored. Of course teachers have to prepare the materials which are related to the topic beforehand so that the gifted students can benefit from them.
I also agree with Rebekah. Class library sometimes will be useful, but the teachers need to encourage the students go to the library, rather that give them a task to go. Because some children may think that these task is not compulsory, the teachers just want to increase their workload, that it will influence their interests of it. However, I think the teachers need to give the children a choice to decide whether they go to the class library.
From my perspective, enrichment is definitely crucial for consolidating students's knowledge and motivation to learn. It is a process of spoonge learning, in which they will gain sense of satisfaction and success.
According to views from Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Children, curriculum based on development and ability will be more effective than based on their age. Therefore, teachers' flexibility is key to gifted children's success.
Same curricular strategies will not be both work for 2 gifted students as every of them is unique and we should tackle them in a tailor-made way. Even we adopt the method which Patrick suggested about putting students with similar abilities into the same group, we should always keep attentive about their needs, espeically most of them are emotional ones.
I read an article "Challenge Gifted Students with Differentiated Instruction" in which it mentions that gifted students love making choices. Teachers can give them choices in order to motivate them. The article suggests that "A typical tic-tac-toe would include options for each learning style and for the various levels of learners." For example, students have to choose several options among all the options after reading a story. The options can be "Design a book cover for your book. Include the title, author, a short summary, and illustrations that help the reader understand what the book might be about", "Write an interview between yourself and a character from your book that asks specific questions of relevance to the plot", "Create a picture dictionary that includes 10 words from your book" and so on. The abovementioned activities can be designed for students with different levels and abilities so it can suit their needs and interest. All in all, accelerating or decelerating is very important for students to work at their own paces even they are learning the same topic. I think this article can give us some insights.
You may take a look on the following website:
Shall we narrow down the meaning of the target group receiving differentiation? That means which kind of students in class we should focus on/ we should help. Although there are many varieties of combinations of students in a class, concentrating a special type of students help us discuss the poster more efficiently. Below are just examples. 1. Students with verbal/ kinethestic learning style; 2. Gifted Students; 3. Students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, ADHD(maybe we can also choose one kind of the difficulties)
Our topic is how teachers can take care of the gifted students in the general class. =]
I agree with Chui. To make it focus and simple, we decide to narrow the scope and just focus on ''intellectual precocity''. And we will not discuss the gifted students with other special educational needs. You can refer to the above comments to have more details.
Another research paper (Differentiating Curriculum
for Gifted Students (Berger 1991)) suggests that teachers can develop differentiating curriculum for gifted students through modifying the content, process and product expectation, some of whcih have been mentioned before. But I think it is more organized to see show us which aspects we have to pay attention to.
Firstly, regarding modifying the content, "acceleration, compacting, variety, reorganization, flexible pacing, and the use of more advanced or complex concepts, abstractions, and materials" should be used in order to let students work on their own pace since talented students need challenging tasks and different kinds of activites instead of just single activity which will make them bored. This matches the above discussion and suggestions, in which I mentioned that talented students finish their tasks more quickly then others so they can be arranged other higher-level activities which encourage self-directed learning and can enhance their knowlegde and keep them busy in the class. As a result, they would not disturb others' learning.
In terms of modifyiny the process, Berger(1991) said that "students need to be challenged by questions that require a higher level of response or by open-ended questions that stimulate inquiry, active exploration, and discovery". By doing so, we can adopt Bloom's Taxonomy. Teachers can stimulate students higher level thinking skills by following the Bloom's Taxonomy that moving from the basic thinking skills such as remembering to the advanced level thinking skills like evaluating and creating. Therefore, teachers can ask open-ended questions based on these kinds of indicators.
Finally, modifying product expectation can also help. Students can choose their own ways to reflect what they have learnt. As the abovementioned, talented students like to be provided with choices so that they can choose the one which suits their own learning styles. For example, after learning the concept of ecosystem, students can choose to draw a mindmap, a diagramme or a picture, fill in the blanks, make a wordlist about ecosystem, take photos and make a story book and so on so that it can make learning more funny and consider their individual differences especially the talented students.
I think we can follow this three aspects to discuss the issue on the poster. What do you think? The following website is the website of this research paper: http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content/diff_curriculum.html
I want to highlight two points which we have discussed before.
First, we have talked about making a mini library in the back of the classroom so that talented students can go to the back and study different kinds of materials after finishing their class assignments. But there is one point we have to beware: when they are in the back of the classroom and read books, they are usually feeling isolation and not comfortable (Lupkowski , 2004). I think may be we should not always ask them to go to the mini library. Instead, we can give them a task to finish so that they will concentrate on the task given instead of feeling that they have nothing to do and feel uncomfortable or embarassed.
Second, talented students are always being asked to tutor other students who are having difficulty. But according to Lupkowski (2004), it might not be a good idea. Because it may waste their valuable school time and they should make good use of this time to learn new knowledge. Otherwise, it will be unfair to them. Instead of asking them to be tutor of other students, teachers can ask gifted students to work together in a small group based on homogeneous grouping. Because "grouping students with similar interests and abilities, giving them assignments at an appropriate level of difficulty, and allowing them to work at a pace matched to their abilities"(Lupkowski , 2004).
Ann Lupkowski Shoplik (2004). Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom. C-MITES Information and Resources.
Regarding to Nga Sze's comments, I strongly think that asking for gifted children's willingness as the priority for tackling their problems. Should we set up a mini library? Rather than assigning the to do so, we should first ask their preference. Do they prefer read books alone? Or doing another higher-leveled task? Some prefer read books alone so that he can think more and deeper, if doing another task may feel bored and just like a robot who do things continously.
Some may prefer to do another task, better with higher difficulty, so that they can PROVE to teachers and most importantly, to themselves, that they are able to gain that kind of knowledge and skills, boosting their self-confidence in the meantime.
No matter which method to adopt, by asking their willingness, this can also prevent them from disturbing the discipline of the class, and enhancing their learning interest in classroom as well.
Thank you so much! As mentioned before , I also found some motivation approaches recommend to teachers by Professor Steven Pfeifer.
1. Stop telling kids that they are smart .
(This is an important principle for all students with all issues ,especially for gifted students.They may have wrong concept that they shouldn't have to work very hard in academic tasks because of the special brain .)
2. Give frequent,early ,positive feedback .
(This is not necessarily all students with low motivation .Teachers can help the students find personal meaning and value in learning activity. Professor Pfeifer suggested "make the learning real "for gifted students .Teachers can infuse local examples ,current events and "pop culture"into curriculum and classroom activities. )
3 Build relationship with students is especially effective in helping re-ignite the motivation with the unmotivated students .
It is believable that the adult respects in interested in ,and cares about them personally are much more ready to listen to them ,
The following website is the website of this research paper:
Moreover, Dr Wan taught different ways in dealing with the differentiation in the classroom .
First of all ,teachers should find out students' learning readiness and start point. And then teachers can use different ways .If you want to learn further information,please visit this website"(art6):
Katie! Thank you for your information! I agreed what Professor Steven suggested, for instance, when telling the kids they are smart, which may make them become over-confident. Failure always comes from laziness and a lack of awareness about how they perceive to succeed. As an old saying goes by Einstein who is super gifted, talent is 99% hardworking with only 1% inborn talent only.
These 3 measures indeed, is not only useful for classroom management and effective teaching, but also applicable to dealing it at home. I would like to emphasize the role of parent as well, as the kids spend most of their time with family members indeed, solely rely on teachers is not enough to support them any time they need.
Parents know their children well and they can discover their kids' potentials, and even fully develop them, this is also the Centre Director of Aristle Gifted Institute, Miss Vivian Wu advocated. She organised the Insititue successfully with this kind of concept to bear in mind. Therefore, I believe we should stress the importance of the roles of teachers and parents simultaneously. :)