Every student at our school is an individual—and each one learns at different rates and in different ways. These individual differences may influence how students respond to instruction and how they demonstrate what they know, understand and can do. For this reason we seek to differentiate the teaching and learning for our students.
The Bible tells us that as human beings we are all created in the image of God. Each of us has different gifts and abilities that we are to use in service of God and others. Our goal as a school, in partnership with parents, is to develop and nurture our students, recognising their different strengths and weaknesses, for life long service to God.
What is differentiation?
Differentiation is a bit of a buzz word in education these days—but you might be wondering what it actually is!
Differentiation is a targeted process used by our teaching staff that involves forward planning, programming and instruction. It includes the use of teaching, learning and assessment strategies that are fair and flexible, provide an appropriate level of challenge, and engage students in learning in meaningful ways. Differentiated programming recognises an inter-relationship between teaching, learning and assessment that informs future teaching and learning.
7 things which effective differentiation in teaching achieves
Effective differentiation in our school environment helps both our students and the teachers who care for them. It:
- provides teaching, learning and assessment for learning experiences that cater for the diversity of learners so that all students can learn effectively
- provides alternative methods and choices for students to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills
- considers a variety of resources and stimulus materials, including IT, to enhance student options and pathways through learning
- includes a range of activities and resources appropriate for students with different learning needs and levels of achievement
- promotes flexible learning experiences and encourages students to work at their own pace to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills
- monitors student learning over time, using evidence of student achievement to guide future teaching and learning opportunities
- considers how individualised feedback to students can help identify student strengths and areas for improvement.
Our Learning Support and Enrichment staff work closely with classroom teachers. We offer extension and enrichment activities within the classroom, in focus groups and through external events and competitions. Through our Learning Support, we assist students in regular classes who experience difficulties in areas of learning and behaviour. Students also benefit from involvement in a wide variety of extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities, including debating, public speaking, sports, performing arts and other areas of interest.
Our commitment to differentiated learning is just one of the reasons that a wide variety of students can thrive at Illawarra Christian School. For more information about support and opportunities, have a look at our information on Learning Support in K-6, Learning Support in 7-12 and Enrichment.