The curriculum is structured so pupils’ differentiated needs can be met. Whole class teaching is combined with individualised and differentiated learning. Imaginative engagement with the lesson material allows all learners, regardless of strengths, weaknesses and learning styles, to work at different levels within their class group. Teaching methods should be flexible enough to give the best vehicle to education for all learning profiles. By first identifying different students’ needs, understanding how to best engage them, and employing a mixture of methods of differentiation, pupils of all abilities will have the best possible opportunity to learn.
Differentiation is implemented by various methods in all subjects:
- Flexible pace learning
- Collaborative learning
- Progressive tasks
- Verbal support
- Variable outcomes
- Ongoing assessment
These can be seen by:
- Using a multi-sensory approach; with visual, aural and kinaesthetic components.
- Use of the Steiner three-fold strategies of imitation, copying; illustrative work and storytelling; thoughtful comparison and analysis.
- Using a child-centred approach i.e. responding to each child as an individual.
- Allowing freedom of response to a lesson, so that pupils can produce very different work to reflect what they have learnt.
- Using a range of tasks from simple to complex, to allow for different abilities.
- Using open-ended questions, so there is no wrong answer.
- Sometimes explaining first and demonstrating after, or demonstrating first and explaining afterwards – allows for different learning preferences.
- Using different structured worksheets, so that some pupils can be set lower or higher targets as necessary.
- Using text on the blackboard in different colours for different groups of pupils to undertake appropriate tasks.
- Using mixed ability groups for tasks
- Using recall both at the end of the lesson and the beginning of the next to anchor information.
- Using different tasks; for example, writing, listening, speaking, drawing, observation, dictation, reading, questioning. The content is differentially approachable.
- Each differentiation method is systematic, simple, inclusive and inductive. Each child is helped to contribute in his/her own way to the creation of the whole picture.
Following Steiner principles, BSS may consider carrying out a ‘Child Study’, a review of a child who needs special consideration, because of learning/ behavioural difficulties, special qualities, etc., or characterises a particular age or stage of development. This takes place in Teacher’s and Staff meetings to build a shared picture of the child which can help our understanding of the child.