Aspirations & Differentiation

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” Louisa May Alcott (American novelist)

Over the past year I have become somewhat of an idealist in what I want my classroom to look like. I ‘aspire’ to see all students excited about, and actively engaged in their learning. I realise that it is highly unlikely for this to be achieved 100% of the time; however I believe this needs to be the goal of every teacher. As I have reflected on my classes I realise that I can do more to pursue my ‘aspirations’ to improve learning outcomes for my students.

To help ensure that my learning tasks are meeting the needs of my students, I surveyed the students to identify their learning styles. I’m not sure why I haven’t done this before! Now that I know how my students prefer to learn I am going to plan tasks with this in mind.

In addition to this, I have also been doing some research on the differentiated classroom. I’m excited to apply what I have learnt when planning my lessons for next term. Tomlinson states that ‘ student differences do matter and quality teaching makes room for these differences.’ (Tomlinson, 2010. Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom) I want to be a quality teacher therefore I cannot  ignore the different learning needs of my students. I plan to use a variety of differentiation strategies, including learning style, interest and ability.

Throughout this process my students will not be the only ones who are learning. I’m looking forward to learning more about myself as a teacher and the teaching craft. Reflection will be an important part of the learning process for both me and the students. I will seek regular feedback from my classes, reflect on this, and allow it to shape my actions in the classroom.

Over the coming weeks, as I follow my aspirations, I hope to see greater engagement and enjoyment from my students as we learn together.