There are several areas in which we can differentiate learning in the classroom. We can adjust assessments, allow for reading of questions or use individualized journals/blogs, for example. We can differentiate content by utilizing centers or assigning level specific material. When we differentiate the process, however, we are adjusting the techniques that we utilize to teach the information or the way in which we guide each specific student in gathering new knowledge. Tomlinson (2000) defines differentiation of process as “activities in which the student engages in order to make sense of or master the content” (www.readingrockets.org/article/263/).
There are several different ways to differentiate process and many resources designed to help facilitate this. Discovery Education (www.discoveryeducation.com) has built in modifiers that allow teachers to assign specific videos or lessons to different students, small groups or a whole class. When teacher aides work one on one with students who require additional help, they are differentiating the process in which that student gains new knowledge. In the kindergarten classroom, some of my favorite methods for differentiating process are utilizing centers that are leveled according to small groups. I also like to incorporate the use of computers and online programs that allow students to work at their own pace. Lessons on the whiteboard allow me to have different level questions or slides to challenge or scaffold each individual student even while we work in a group circle time.
In a past week we concentrated on learning styles and applying theories of different learning styles encourages us to have lesson components that are hands on, gross motor, fine motor, partner and small group, individual, musical or visual (and often all of the above) in order to reach many different learning styles. I think Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is a sound starting place for consideration of the methods we teach. No single method will reach all learners.
My DIIGO resource list: https://www.diigo.com/list?token=d9767d60e3ab8e97f47a2bb0d87fdf4d
Visit my storify at: http://storify.com/lmblaine/differentiating-the-process-of-learning via @lmblaine