Alternative Question for Teachers of Adult Learners: What are the benefits of differentiation for adult learners?
I agree with Lee’s statement that our children’s classrooms are different that ours. PCs were just making their way in the 1980s. Technology was not thought of as tools like it is today. Furthermore, adult learners can be biased about learning through technology, or even be intimidated by the new experience.
The above comic is a great example of what standardized testing. We are not all built the same. We cannot all “climb the tree” the same. The same is with learning, we do not all learn the same even if the lesson is. This is why we need differentiated instruction (DI).
As Horn mentions below adult’s reasons for learning are not the same as children’s. Most of the time the drive for higher education is based on career decision for advancement, for example.
According to Horn, Adults typically differ from children in the motivations for learning:
- Desire to maintain social relationships
- Need to meet external expectations – the supervisor recommends you upgrade skills
- Desire to learn how to better serve others
- Professional advancement
- Escape or stimulation
- Cognitive or personal interest
To me differential teaching is teaching in a language that each student can understand. When adults see the benefits of differentiation learning they will able to get past their criticism. I do believe that when we see the benefits to DI then we will be more willing to accept the new format of learning.
Benefits to Differentiated Instruction
- Each Child is Taught to Their Learning Style
That means that children who learn better with hands on lessons may do more with math manipulatives and less with flash cards or worksheets, for example. One benefit of this is that each child has an easier time learning when taught to their strengths and learning styles.
- Each Students Has an Individualized Learning Plan
This would be very similar to an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Each child will be worked with according to her individual needs. Her strengths and her weaknesses will both be worked on, but in a way which makes it easier for her to learn.
- Teacher Creativity
Teachers put in a lot of hours both in and out of the classroom. Some of them really like the concept of differentiated instruction because it opens up different ways they can be creative in the classroom and help each student in creative ways.
- No Child Left Behind
Since differentiated instruction means each child is being taught in a way which he learns easier, there is less incidence of a child being left behind everyone else.
One of the best things about differentiated instruction is that it is flexible. It is not rigid and does not demand any particular thing, except for what will work best with the individual.
Tomlinson, Carol A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability Classrooms. Alexandria, Va: Assoc. for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
APECSEC.org. (2015, Feb 27). Pros and Cons of Differentiated Instruction. Retrieved on Feb 1, 2017 from: http://apecsec.org/pros-and-cons-of-differentiated-instruction/
Huang, Hsiu-Mei. (2002). Toward constructivism for adult learners in online learning environments. Retrieved on Feb 1, 2017 from: https://brainmass.com/file/1433703/Article.pdf
Horn, Chasity. (2016). Adult Learning Principles. Retrieved on Feb 1, 2017 from: http://slideplayer.com/slide/5887692/