It’s no secret that children learn at different speeds and in different ways. Take a peek into any classroom and you’ll see some students gravitating to technology. Others prefer to talk through processes. Still, others draw, write, or puzzle their way through the challenges they are presented with. Some students catch on quickly and are eager to dive deeper into the concepts. Other students lag behind, either seeming bored or frustrated with the content.
With all of these differences in learning, is it any surprise that these students are best served by different approaches to instruction? Yet often teachers are constrained by the need to provide one-size-fits-all instruction.
At The Tenney School, we understand the value of the customized instruction. Customized, or differentiated, instruction allows the teacher to adapt their lessons to a variety of learning styles and needs, giving their students the best possible chance for growth. While a customized approach to instruction may take time and preparation, it pays off in a more well-rounded educational experience. And a few small adjustments to instruction can make a big difference over time.
Here are a few reasons why customized instruction isn’t just nice, but necessary:
Students are able to learn at their pace
Customized instruction is designed to give students multiple ways to approach a single new concept. Unlike a one-size-fits-all lesson plan, students are able to follow the method that makes the most sense to them and best suits their strengths.
As a result, they learn the material more quickly and are able to apply it and expand upon it. Not only does this help them gain more confidence in the subject matter, but it keeps them learning at a pace that makes sense for them.
Teachers will find more overall flexibility
While it may seem like more work on the front end, customized instruction allows for a more flexible, dynamic classroom. Simple adjustments to the lesson (for example, allowing students a choice of a visual, auditory, or hands-on method of approaching the topic) can provide a fun new way to approach lesson planning.
These activities tend to be more open-ended and inquiry focused, allowing the teacher to step into a facilitator role. Even better, when students are engaged in activities designed to meet them where they are, they’re more likely to enjoy the topic.
Students can comfortably learn new skills
While a student may lean on their primary method of learning at first, the confidence their successes give them will eventually allow them to try new things. Certain types of activities, such as menu boards and flexible grouping, may be designed to challenge students to step outside of their comfort zone. In doing this, it provides a safe atmosphere for students to improve upon their weaker areas while still falling back on what they are most confident in.
Teachers and students alike will see more results
When students enjoy learning, and the learning feels tailored to their individual needs, it becomes more enjoyable. As a result, they’re more likely to achieve at a higher level and remember the content over time. It also becomes easier for teachers to identify when students are struggling with a concept (as opposed to a method of instruction). This gives the instructor clues about when a topic needs to be revisited or a student may need more support.
There is no such thing as true one-size-fits-all instruction. Students are dynamic, and each one comes to the classroom with different needs, different strengths, and different areas for growth. By incorporating flexible, customized instruction, students are given an opportunity to showcase their strengths while also continuing to develop weaker areas. It’s an opportunity for student and teacher alike to approach the classroom with renewed energy and excitement.
For more information about customized instruction and what The Tenney School can offer, don’t hesitate to contact us.