Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction

 

Instructor Name:          Dr. Michael Sedler

Facilitator Name:         Professor Steven Dahl, M.Ed.

Phone:                         509-891-7219

Office Hours:              8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday – Friday

Email:                          steve_dahl@virtualeduc.com

Address:                      Virtual Education Software

                                    16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450

                                    Spokane, WA 99216

Technical Support:       support@virtualeduc.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Introduction  

Welcome to Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction, an interactive computer-based instruction course, designed to give you an understanding of the framework of and need for creating supportive learning environments for diverse learning populations. In this course you will learn what is meant by Differentiated Instruction (DI) and the common myths associated with creating the differentiated classroom.  We will discuss the legal, theoretical, and pedagogical foundations in the field of education that support the utilization of differentiated instructional practices and principles.  We will reflect on best practices and national trends in the design of the educational setting to meet the needs of a diverse learning population.  Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction will also provide connections to a variety of concepts, variables, and resources that will assist practitioners in aligning their own professional practices with those found in the differentiated classroom.

 

This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Course Materials (Online)

Title:                            Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction

Instructor Name:          Dr. Michael Sedler

Facilitator Name:         Professor Steven Dahl, M.Ed.

Publisher:                     Virtual Education Software, inc. 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presumes a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.

 

Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.

 

Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.

Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.

                                                                                                                                                                       

Level of Application

This course is designed for anyone working with a diverse learning population across the K-12 spectrum. While the information presented may have relevance to any student-centered educational setting, it will have the most relevance for K-8 mixed ability classrooms.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Expected Learning Outcomes

As a result of this course, participants will demonstrate their ability to:

  1. Understand how differentiated instruction is defined.
  2. Articulate why differentiated instruction is not a prescriptive approach.
  3. Outline the major elements within a classroom that teachers typically differentiate.
  4. Explain the role of curriculum and instruction in a differentiated classroom.
  5. Relate ways in which differentiated instruction may be useful when creating a personal teaching philosophy.
  6. Identify the core principles of classrooms reflecting a differentiated instructional approach.
  7. Outline the current systems-level, theoretical, legal, and pedagogical foundation for differentiation.
  8. Identify ways in which differentiated instruction compares and contrasts with specially designed instruction for students with disabilities.
  9. Explain how assessment in a classroom best exemplifies a differentiated approach.
  10. Articulate the primary methods for obtaining information about student interests, preferences, and overall learning profile.
  11. Understand the rationale for synthesis between leading curricular design method, Understanding by Design (UBD), and the differentiated instruction approach. 
  12. Distinguish elements of a differentiated approach from those of a non-differentiated, or “one size fits all” approach.
  13. Articulate the range of barriers when implementing a differentiated classroom.
  14. Analyze ways in which a differentiated approach addresses the role of NCLB in shaping professional practice and understanding of quality teaching.
  15. Understand the systemic pressures placed upon teachers and ways in which differentiation helps re-focus attention on the needs of students.
  16. Outline a framework for motivating all students in a way that is respectful, student-centered, and reflective of a differentiated approach.
  17. Relate to differentiated instruction’s concept of reciprocity of accountability for success of both teachers and students.
  18. Articulate how the current emphasis on teacher beliefs about learning and dispositions toward students are embraced within a differentiated approach.
  19. Articulate barriers that exist for those who are genuinely interested in implementing a differentiated approach.
  20. Articulate the role of the teacher, student, and parents in a differentiated classroom.
  21. Articulate the ways in which administrators can support teachers who are implementing a differentiated classroom.
  22. Discuss an expanded concept of diversity and learner variance to which teachers must respond.
  23. Identify characteristics of and initial strategies for creating a culturally responsive approach to student diversity.
  24. Assess current understanding of and willingness to implement a classroom aligned with differentiated instructional approach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Course Description

This course, Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction, has been divided into four chapters. The organization of the course covers the What, Why, and Who of a classroom that reflects a Differentiated Instruction approach.

Chapter 1:        The What of Differentiated Instruction

Chapter 2:        The Why of Differentiated Instruction (Part 1)

Chapter 3:        The Why of Differentiated Instruction (Part 2)

Chapter 4:        The Who of Differentiated Instruction

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Course Overview

In Chapter 1, we outline what a differentiated instructional approach entails. A framework for those elements that are typically differentiated in a differentiated classroom is provided.  Characteristics and principles that best describe the DI approach across the K-12 spectrum are outlined. General considerations of what DI is not, or common misconceptions associated with the DI approach, are also considered. Attention is given to ways in which the differentiated approach aligns with current expectations of professionals and anticipated needs for classrooms in the future.  

 

In Chapter 2, we explore why the differentiated approach is receiving so much attention. The historical, theoretical, systems-level, legal, and pedagogical factors that provide a supporting framework for implementing a differentiated instructional approach are defined. The role that instruction and assessment play in a differentiated classroom are discussed within a context of what are currently believed to be optimal learning conditions for students. A synthesis of ways in which differentiated instruction and “Understanding by Design” (UBD) mutually reinforce each other is provided. 

 

In Chapter 3, we explore a range of variables in support of the alignment of the differentiated approach with the needs of professionals, the needs associated with educational reform in general, and ultimately the needs of individual students. Particular attention is given to the role of teacher beliefs and dispositions toward students within a differentiated model. A metaphor for differentiated instruction is explored which reinforces a reciprocal responsibility for both teachers and students for creating the conditions for mutual success. The orientation of teachers to student failure within a differentiated approach is discussed. Barriers that exist for teachers desiring to implement a differentiated approach are explored.  

 

In Chapter 4, we explore who is involved in a differentiated classroom and how this approach differs from many traditional classrooms. Clarification of the roles of the teacher, students, and administrators in a differentiated instruction classroom are provided. The skills, interests, dispositions, and goals of course participants are explored within the framework of a differentiated approach.  Barriers to the implementation of a differentiated approach are explored, allowing for discussion of your particular role or context in education, the kind of school system you function in, and the degree to which you would identify yourself as a teacher who differentiates.

 

Each chapter contains additional handouts that cover specific topics from the chapter in greater depth.  They are provided for you to read, ponder, and apply to the setting in which you work.  Some of the handouts are directly related to the concepts and content of the specific chapter, but also included are handouts indirectly related to provide extended learning connections.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Student Expectations

As a student, you will be expected to:

·         Complete all information chapters, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

·         Complete all chapter exams, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

·         Complete a review of any chapter on which your examination score was below 70%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Examinations

At the end of each course section, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate.  However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed.  Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Writing Assignments

This course has two required writing components.  ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE REVIEWED. Exceptionally or poorly written assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy noted in the course syllabus, will affect your grade. Be sure to refer to the Grading Guidelines for Writing Assignments, sent as an attachment with your original course link.

It is highly recommended that you write and save all writing assignments in an external word processing program (such as Word or Notepad), and then copy and paste these into the course program so that you will have backup copies.

To save your essays:

 

When you select the question or article you wish to respond to, ‘Simple Text’ or ‘Text Edit’ will launch automatically. When you are finished entering your response, simply click SAVE. 

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.

 

1)       Essay Requirement: Critical Thinking Questions

There are four Critical Thinking Questions that you must complete. You will do research on the questions and write brief essay responses relating it to the course content (and your personal experiences, when possible).  To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Critical Thinking Question that you are ready to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay.  You must write a minimum of 500 words (maximum 1,000) per essay.  You may go back at any point to edit your essays, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you have completed your edits.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.

 

2)   Essay Requirement: Journal Articles

This task requires you to write a review of three peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles, preferably written by an author with a Ph.D. (blogs and news articles are not acceptable) of your choice on a topic related to this course.  You may choose your topic by entering the Key Words (click on the Key Words button) into a search engine of your choice (Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.).  Choose three relevant articles and write a critical summary of the information given in each article, explaining how the information relates to, supports, or refutes information given in this course. Conclude your review with your thoughts and impressions (200 words per journal article minimum, 400 words maximum). Be sure to provide the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the instructor to access and review that article.

 

To write your essays, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Journal Article that you would like to complete; this will bring up a screen where you can write your review. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE.  You may go back at any point to edit your essays, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits. For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.

                                                                                                                                                                       

Facilitator Description

Why DI?: An Introduction to Differentiated Instruction has been developed with the widest possible audience in mind because the core principles of a differentiated approach can be applied to K-12. The primary goal of the course is to provide both an accurate overview of the approach as well as an opportunity for reflection to

 

 

 

professionals who are interested in assessing how their current practice does, or doesn’t, align with a

differentiated one.  Steve Dahl, the instructor of record, has served as a district-level administrator overseeing a variety of federal programs, such as Special Education and Title 1, for the past 5 years. He has a Master's Degree in Special Education and has completed post-Master’s coursework to obtain a Washington State Administrator Credential which certifies him to oversee programs ranging from Preschool settings through 12th grade (as well as post-secondary vocational programs for 18-21 year old students).  He has 17 years of combined experience in resource-room special education classrooms, inclusion support in a comprehensive high school, and provision of support to adults with disabilities in accessing a wide range of community settings.

Please contact Professor Dahl if you have course content or examination questions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Instructor Description

Dr. Michael Sedler has presented seminars and classes throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada.  Dr. Sedler has worked as an administrator, behavior specialist, teacher and social worker within the public school setting.  Dr. Sedler is an adjunct professor for two universities in the state of Washington and has been a professor for a college in Georgia.  He has been a consultant for governmental agencies and worked for a state correctional facility for juveniles and for a community mental health agency.  His 15 years of public education experience combined with business experience increases his knowledge base for course delivery. He has presented in schools, hospitals, residential settings and for businesses in the public and private sectors. Please contact Professor Dahl if you have course content or examination questions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Contacting the Facilitator

You may contact the facilitator by emailing Professor Dahl at steve_dahl@virtualeduc.com or calling him at 509-891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.

 

If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call (509) 891-7219.  When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call. 

                                                               

Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Bibliography (Suggested Readings)

 

Abbott, J., & MacTaggart, H. (In press 2010). Overschooled but undereducated: Society’s failure to understand adolescence. London: Continuum.

 

Access Center. (2000). Universal design to support access to the general education curriculum. Retrieved July  16, 2012, from http://www.k8accesscenter.org/training_resources/differentiationmodule.asp

Ainsworth, L. (2003). Power standards: Identifying the standards that matter the most. Englewood, CO: Advanced Learning Press.

 

Bourbour, C. (2005, February). A problem-solving model for special education’s ‘storms.’ The School Administrator. American Association of School Administrators.

 

Brooks, M., & Grennon Brooks, J. (1999). The courage to be constructivist. Educational Leadership, 57(3), 18-24.

 

CAST. (2008) Guidelines for Universal Design for Learning 1.0. Retrieved from:             http://www.cast.org/publications/UDLguidelines/UDL_Guidelines_v1.0.doc

 

Christensen, C. (2003). The innovator's dilemma. New York: HarperCollins.

 

Collins, J. (2001). Good to great. New York: HarperBusiness.

 

Danielson, M., & McGreal, T. (2000). Teacher evaluation to enhance professional practice. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

DeLeeuw, H., & Monpas-Huber, J. (2009, Winter). Using data to uncover the strengths of English Language Learners. Leadership Information. School Information and Research Service (SIRS), 8(1).

 

Delpit, L. (1995). Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. New York: New Press.

 

Elmore, R. (2002, January). Building capacity to enhance learning: A conversation. Principal Leadership, 2(5).  

 

Fullan, M., & Hargreaves, A. (1996). What’s worth fighting for in the schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

Gaertner, S., & Dovidio, J. (1986). The aversive form of racism. In J. F. Dovidio and S. L. Gaertner (Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination and racism: Theory and research (pp. 61-89). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.

Gardner, Howard. (1999). Intelligence reframed: Multiple intelligences for the 21st century. New York: Basic Books.

 

Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(2), 106-116.

 

Glasser, W. (1969). Schools without failure. New York: Harper & Row.

 

Glasser, W. (1986). Control Theory in the classroom. New York: Harper & Row.

 

Glasser, W. (1992). The quality school: Managing students without coercion. New York:  HarperCollins.

 

Hall, T. (2002). Differentiated instruction. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_diffinstruc.html

 

Honawar, V. (2008, March). Teacher education community is striving to interpret candidate “dispositions.” Education Week, 27(28), 1, 13.

 

Howell, K., & Nolet, V. (2000). Curriculum-based evaluation: Teaching and decision making (3rd ed.). Stamford, CT: Thompson.

 

Jackson, R. (2009). Never work harder than your students & other principles of great teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

Jacobs, H. (2004). Getting results with curriculum mapping. Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

Klinger, J., Artiles, A., Kozleski, E., Harry, B., Zion, S., Tate, W., Duran, G., & Riley, D. (2005, September). Addressing the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education through culturally responsive educational systems. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13(38). Retrieved June 26, 2009, from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v13n38/

Learning First Alliance. (2000). The process of professional development. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from www.learningfirst.org

           

Lewis, L., Parsad, B., Carey, N.,  Bartfai, N., Farris, E., & Smerdon, B. (1999). Teacher quality: A report on the preparation and qualifications of public school teachers. National Center for Education Statistics.

 

Loreman, T. (2007). Seven pillars of support for inclusive education: Moving from “Why?” to “How?” International Journal of Whole Schooling, 3(12).

 

Loreman, T., Earle, C., Sharma, U., &  Forlin, C. (2007). The development of an instrument for measuring pre-service teachers' sentiments, attitudes, and concerns about inclusive education. International Journal of Special Education, 22(1), 150-159.

 

McTighe, J., & Tomlinson, C. A. (2006). Integrating UBD and DI. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

Medina, J. (2008). Brain rules. Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

 

National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt). (2009). http://www.nccrest.org/

 

Nolet, V., & McLaughlin, M. (1997). Accessing the general curriculum: Including students with disabilities in standards-based reform. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

 

Pallegrino, J. (2006, November). Rethinking and redesigning curriculum, instruction and assessment: What contemporary research and theory suggests. A paper commissioned by the National Center on Education and the Economy for the new Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. Retrieved July 16, 2012, from http://www.skillscommission.org/?page_id=291

 

Platt, A., Tripp, C., Ogden, W., & Fraser, R. (2000). The skillful leader: Confronting mediocre teaching. Acton, MA: Ready About Press.

 

Reeves, Douglas B. (2004, November). Accountability at a crossroads: The nation needs school leaders who will make accountability decisions that are grounded in research, not popularity. Virginia Journal of Education. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from http://www.veanea.org/vea-journal/0502/February2005-AccountabilityataCrossroads.html

Reeves, D. (2000). Accountability in action: A blueprint for learning organizations. Denver, CO: Advanced Learning Centers, Inc.

 

Richards, H., Brown, A., & Forde, T. (2007, Jan/Feb.). Addressing diversity in schools: Culturally responsive pedagogy. Teaching Exceptional Children, 39(3), 64-68.

 

Rosenfeld, M., & Rosenfeld, S. (2008, May). Developing effective teacher beliefs about learners: The role of sensitizing teachers to individual learning differences. Educational Psychology, 28(3), 245-272.

 

Sedere, U. (2008). Delineating an educational policy framework for the developing nations in meeting the emerging global challenges by year 2050. Online submission. Paper presented at the Annual J. E. Jayasuriya Memorial Lecture (18th, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Feb. 14, 2008). Retrieved June 26, 2009, from  http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED500041&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED500041

 

Shorr, P. (2006, May). Special ed’s greatest challenge and solutions. Norwalk, CT: Professional Media Group.

 

Singh, D., & Stoloff, D. (2008, December). Assessment of teacher dispositions. College Student Journal, 42(4), 1169-1180.

 

Stanovich, P., & Stanovich, K. (2003). Using research and reason in education: How teachers can use scientifically based research to make curricular and instructional decisions. Jessup, MD: National Institute for Literacy.

 

Stiggins, R. (1997). Student-centered classroom assessment. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

 

Stiggins, R. (2008, Summer). Assessment manifesto: A call for the development of balanced assessment systems. Leadership Information. School Information and Research Service (SIRS), 7(3).  Retrieved June 26, 2009, from http://www.nmsa.org/portals/0/pdf/advocacy/other_resources/AssessmentManifesto08.pdf

 

Stone, D., Patton, B., & Heen, S. (1999). Difficult conversations: How to discuss what matters most. New York: Penguin.

 

Thornton, H. (2006, Spring). Teacher dispositions in action. Teacher Education Quarterly, 33(2), 53-68.

 

Tilly, D. (2006, Winter). Perspectives. International Dyslexia Association quarterly periodical.

 

Tollefson,  J. M., Mellard, D.F., & McKnight, M.A. (2007). Responsiveness to intervention: An SLD de­termination resource [Brochure]. Lawrence, KS: Na­tional Research Center on Learning Disabilities.

 

Tomlinson, C. A. (1999). Differentiated instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

Tomlinson, C. A. (2000). Reconcilable differences? Standards-based teaching and differentiation. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 58(1), 6-11.

 

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001, February). Standards and the art of teaching: Crafting high-quality classrooms. National   Association of Secondary School Principals, 85(622), 38-47.

 

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms. Alexandria, Virginia. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

Tomlinson, C.A. (2003). Deciding to teach them all. Educational Leadership, 61(2), 6-11.

 

Turnbull, A., Turnbull H. R., & Wehmeyer, M. (2007). Exceptional lives: Special education in today’s schools. Lawrence, KS: Pearson.

 

Villegas, A. M., & Lucas, T. (2002). Preparing culturally responsive teachers: Rethinking the curriculum. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(13), 20-32.

 

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

 

Wagner, T., & Kegan, R. (2006). Change leadership: A practical guide to changing our schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 

Whitecotton, C. (2009). Collaboration and Inclusive Learning.  Leadership Magazine. (Volume 38: No. 4). March/April. Retrieved on March 16th, 2009 from Association of California State Administrators website: http://www.acsa.org/Default.aspx

 

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by Design. Alexandria, Virginia. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2008). Schooling by Design. Alexandria, Virginia. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2008). Put Understanding First.  Volume 65:Number 8. pages 36-41.

 

Zawislan, D. G. , 2008-10-15 "Connected Learning: Theory in Action" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the MWERA Annual Meeting, Westin Great Southern Hotel, Columbus, Ohio Online <PDF>. 2008-12-10 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p275553_index.html

 

Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.

 

Updated 8/27/14 JN