Differentiated instruction is an instructional theory that allows teachers to face this challenge by taking diverse student factors into account when planning and delivering instruction. Based on this theory, teachers can structure learning environments that address the variety of learning styles, interests, and abilities found within a classroom.
Bloom’s taxonomy in action!
For example: English Language learners in Primary education may have trouble producing and understanding questions in English. But this doesn’t mean that they cannot move towards more advanced levels of thinking.
It is very important for ESL teachers to have in mind the Bloom’s taxonomy when we design and develop activities for young learners, especially when asking questions.
|Bloom's taxonomy breaks down the critical thinking skills into different levels. The higher up on the triangle, the more difficult the skill.|
Primary school ESL students need to work on everything at the bottom of the triangle (the first three steps). First, they should practicing to answer simple questions, to learn vocabulary, to do matching activities (images and meanings), to complete sentences, to ask simple questions, to use appropriate structures of sentences, to classify words, to follow patterns and models, and so on.
Then, we should focus on working the capacity of finding the right information after understanding the question.
Teachers must start practicing with images, flashcards or any visual support, asking questions like “How many animals can you see in this picture?”
Later, from the picture, the teacher can ask questions that require more critical thinking, such as: Why do you think the lion is lying on the ground under the tree? Do you think the lion is hungry?
I’ve got a reading corner in my class, for year 2 students, with lots of different graded books. This is a weekly activity in which children choose a book to read. The first activity is to present the book to the rest of the class and explain why they have chosen it (this is usually made in L1).
Beginner learners are allowed to write the answers in their own language to facilitate coping with the levels of the taxonomy.
So, what else is new?
Working with the six levels of the Bloom’s Taxonomy promotes students self confidence and helps them in the development of metacognitive skills. In the above mentioned example, it helps children to be more conscious about the text comprehension.
After understanding the text, children have to start thinking in other difficult issues, such as, “What the author is really trying to say?” ... a big question promotes a big learning...
|Example of questions posted in the classroom help remind teachers and students to think more critically|
What Differentiated Instruction Means for Teachers
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Chart by Jennipher Willoughby, a freelance writer and former science and technology specialist for Lynchburg City Schools in Lynchburg, Virginia.