Differentiated Learning for ALL

NOTE: OPINION PIECE! KARYN’S PERSPECTIVE FROM EXPERIENCES AS A STUDENT AND TEACHER

During a conference call regarding accessibility, the group was discussing inclusion, accessibility, differentiation, and other student needs. There was a comment about students with high intellectual abilities, but not necessarily high social skills. What are we doing in the classroom for them?

My own childhood and my siblings’ experiences, led me to have the following opinions:

  • Cluster groups placed in a class may not always be the best idea for helping with social interactions. As an adult, in the workplace, most of us work with a variety of people who have different ways of doing things, different ways of thinking, and we often need to work together. Why not encourage that at a young age?
  • High IQ doesn’t necessarily mean high achiever. I’ve had to tell parents that their children didn’t quality for gifted programs because they were high achievers, but didn’t have the high IQ. Some were upset, but, honestly, high achievers seemed to do better in school.

High IQ/high achievers should NOT be turned into tutors for the class all the time. They need to be challenged, too. Yes, it’s hard in a classroom with a wide spread of needs and abilities, but with so much online learning available, they can be challenged! (Though, personally, I loved being a “junior” teacher.)

Finding resources online is not as simple as I thought, but I will continue to search for more! These are a bit dated, but I still found the content applicable.

Differentiating Between Gifted and High Achieving Students
Key point: students with high IQs can also have learning disabilities/discrepancies.

Smart and Bored? What Do High Achievers Need? By Samantha Cleaver Towards the end of the article, she shared a strategies list.

Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students: Differentiating Mathematics and Science Instruction

Highly Gifted Children in Full Inclusion Classrooms by Kathi Kearney

Gifted Kids with Learning Problems…The Twice Exceptional Child

Shouldn’t we strive to make sure ALL students feel included and are encouraged to reach the top of their abilities?