According to Tomlinson, ?Teachers are expected to stimulate thought, show examples and counterexamples, ask probing questions, set up authentic applications, play devil?s advocate, check for understanding, and require explanation and justification.? In a differentiated classroom, teachers use multiple approaches and support systems in these important roles to ensure understanding of a full range of learners ?(Tomlinson, p. 109). Therefore, differentiation is beneficial to students because it allows them to access and understand the material, and it is beneficial to teachers because it allows them to reach all learners and vary their instruction. Differentiation helps teachers grow as professionals because they are always have to learn new modes of instruction as well as to modify their lessons to meet the needs of different types of learners.
As a special education teacher, I have always had to differentiate instruction and I know that even in a general education classroom students learn in different ways (ie visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and at different paces. In an English classroom, I differentiate instruction by using a variety of whole class, small group, and independent activities. When creating small groups, I consider the different types of learners so that each member has different strengths and weaknesses and can therefore help each other.
In addition, I provide graphic organizers during reading, writing, and lecture activities to support visual learners. I always read aloud directions even if they are written on the board to support auditory learners. I use a variety of independent and read aloud in class to support different types of learners.
When creating assignments, I try to give students a choice in how to prove that they understood a topic. For example, for a literature project I may allow students to choose whether they deliver a speech, write a creative play, write an essay, or create a diorama that manifests their understanding of the story. This allows different types of learners to show their understanding of the materials in a way that is enjoyable to them. Finally, I respect student differences and try to incorporate literature from many different cultures to expose my students to a variety of cultures from around the world.