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What is Differentiated Learning? What are the differentiated learning programs offered by special ed schools?

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“Differentiated instruction is a teaching philosophy based on the premise that teachers should adapt instruction to student differences. Rather than marching students through the curriculum lockstep, teachers should modify their instruction to meet students varying readiness levels, learning preferences, and interests” – Carol Ann Tomlinson

To explain this further, differentiated learning entails devising a variety of learning strategies. You examine what pupils must learn, how they will learn it, and how they will demonstrate it. When we design education using a variety of methods, we ensure that a student learns as efficiently as feasible. Differentiated learning, at its most basic level, entails shaking up what happens in the classroom so that students have many alternatives for absorbing knowledge, making sense of ideas, and articulating what they've learned.

The Differentiated Learning Program at the Aditya Birla Integrated School

In the Differentiated Learning Program Section (DLP) no child is the same. We have learners ranging in age from four to eighteen. These learners have a wide range of abilities and skill sets. We aim to ensure that all our learners get the resources they need in order to succeed in and outside the classroom. The key to a successful lesson is effective lesson planning. This is how we go about putting our classes together. There are three stages.

  1. Plan

The planning stage is the first step in creating a differentiated lesson. We aim to incorporate auditory, visual, and a variety of hands-on activities into our classes while organising them. This in turn ensures that we are catering to each child and all kinds of learners. Some learners may enjoy hands-on activities while some may not, some enjoy rhymes and some colours. By including all of these components into a class, you can ensure that there is diversity and something for everyone.

  1. Execute

In this stage the teachers take their lessons to the classroom. Along with the many components of the lesson, the instructor strives to differentiate her instruction as needed during the class. Eg. Some children may prefer fewer words when expressing a question, while others may choose to learn through music. Some people may require additional illustrations and instructions. The child is supplied with material that he can comprehend as well as additional material that encourages them to explore. We have students that are both verbal and nonverbal. Students are encouraged to communicate through words, gestures, AAC devices (Alternative and Augmentative Communication Devices), pointing, or any other means and methods available.

  1. Evaluate

Last but not least, there's the evaluation. In this stage, the teacher assesses not just the students but also herself. Was she able to use enough resources? could she have included more? and where can we take the students next on their learning path? are all questions that must be asked on a regular basis.

The students are evaluated using a variety of approaches. They are assessed using paper and pencil, oral questions, visual diagrams and pictures, and auditory aids. The evaluation also functions as a feedback loop, allowing us to better design future lessons.

Non-Academics Classes

Our non-academic classes will cover a wide range of topics. In addition to their academics, our students are exposed to dance, physical education, culinary arts, art, and music. Children can grow, explore, imagine, and create as a result of this diverse range of experiences.

Furthermore, tailored speech, occupational, and behavioural therapy ensure that all of our children can effectively develop their skill set during their formative years.

To quote our mission statement here at The Aditya Birla Integrated School we aim to Inspire potential to create happy, confident, balanced, and independent learners whilst nurturing the qualities of amity, bravery, integrity, and sincerity

Author: Talia D’Souza, Head - Differentiated Learning Program
The Aditya Birla Integrated School

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