Differentiate or disengage?

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Differentiate or disengage? Presentation given by Lisa Dowse at AFMLTA conference Sydney 2009

Text of Differentiate or disengage?

  • 1. Differentiating Language Tasks in the LOTE ClassroomAFMLA Conference July 12, 2009, Sydney Lisa Dowse, DEECD SMR Program Planning & Development Officer-LOTE

2. Why Differentiation? Differentiate or Disengage: Research from Melbourne Universitycapable students who are not challenged in language classrooms can become disengaged and may discontinue language learning consideration for prior learning and the need to cater for students individual learning levels is something all language teachers would acknowledge as important to assist students to achieve their best (PoLT) In any one class there can be students with varying experience, e.g. Pathway 1 students, students from bilingual programs, students with some family background in the LOTE 2 3. Blockers time to plan and prepare for differentiation the constraints of text books the lack of resources featuring differentiated tasks 3 4. Types of Differentiation taken from Differentiation taking the initiative, Pathfinder 18 CiLT, 1993 Anne Convery and Do Coyle SupportTextOutcomeDifferentiatedLearningbyTask Ability Interest 4 5. By Support time on taskmaterialstaskslanguage assistantpeer tutoring from older / more experienced studentsteacher acting as supporter, assessor, facilitator, co-learner5 6. Time on taskMore finishing-off time for some learners revision at the end of a unit for some learners with extension activities for others 6 7. Materials banks of extension activitieschecklists to assist students who are working independentlysheets with some translation assistancereinforcement / revision activitiesword chartsa completed model as a guide7 8. By Task Same text, but tasks of graded difficulty, e.g. Blooms taxonomy e.g. reading comprehension: less-able learners not required to understand every word, only gist :more-able learners more searching questions Listening comprehension:less-able learners identify minimal information:more able learners open- ended tasks (examples from progression points assessment tasks)8 9. By Textspoken or written materials at different levels of difficulty Advantages: all cover the same ground / topic creating class cohesion e.g. :mainstream learners text book weather forecast :more-able learners an authentic recording of a weather forecast:less-able learners an article from a coursebook :more-able learners an article from an authentic newspaper or magazine.*To ensure all learners have access at some time to authentic resources, collect more simple authentic texts suited to less-able learners, e.g. cartoon captions, advertisement slogans, etc.9 10. Ways to modify a text for different ability levels A mainstream textWhen planning a unit of work, choose the main text which will act as the base for language learning. Choose a text which is aimed at the expected VELS level for the class. Then create 2 other texts; one as an extension level and one as a modified level. This can be done by varying the levels of scaffolding. 10 11. Scaffolding A Modified Text Picture clues Cognates Punctuation Repetition Reduce variety of structures Supply much context / background to the passage11 12. Scaffolding expandedPicture clues add more pictorial clues, even within the text. (See examples). With enough exposure, these students should be able to decode the text later without the pictorial clues. punctuation can aid comprehension: highlight or bold the question mark.Repetition Choose the main structure you want to introduce, delete others and repeat this structure with slight variations whenever possible. (See examples).Context Include the context at the start, either by role-plays, visuals or introducing the setting in English, so the students are linked in and can predict what the new language is likely to be about.12 13. Avoiding students feeling discouraged by working on less challenging textsIf there is a concern that students will feel deflated by being set an easier passage, this can be disguised by making the passage a similar length to more difficult texts but with more repetitions. (Students often equate length with difficulty). You can further offset students concerns by: e.g. varying groupings: in some units of work, students can be grouped according to different criteria; interest in a topic, own choice, etc. by offering responsible tasks to students who are working on modified work, such as presenting a role-play of their text to a younger class.13 14. An Extension Textdont include many pictorial clues or cognates include filler and expander sentences e.g. for letter writing, in the introduction have the writer say a little about his / her background, fill in more gaps about the purpose for writing or add some sentences for politeness. include extra phrases in the body of the text, e.g. In my opinion, Last Wednesday. add adjectives and adverbs to the basic structures 14 15. An Extension Text continuedchange some nouns to synonymsvary structuresallow the students to use dictionariesuse some vocabulary from past unitsencourage students to fill new words/ meanings into personal dictionaries15 16. By abilityLearners are grouped by ability for teaching and learning purposes within a class across a year groupAbility grouping (not static and changes according to the dynamics of the situation): well suited to some tasks: e.g. introducing a more complex grammar point: corresponds to Early Years Literacy methodology, which has the following lesson planning structure-Whole Class Activities-Small Group (Dynamic Ability grouping) -Whole Class Activities (Sharing back, etc.)*There is some overlap here with differentiation by text as differentiated texts would be used by the appropriate ability group.16 17. By interest Learners are given a degree of choice to work on something which interests them personally-equipment-skill-topic or subject matterTo ensure students make choices which continue their progress, you might want to:make suggestions about suitable choices without mandating the choiceoffer a selection of activities and stipulate a minimum number to be completed within a given time, allowing them more time to work at their own pace on those of their own choice Multiple Intelligence approaches would work well here. 17 18. By outcomeAll learners are working on the same task, but produce widely different results e.g. a differentiated worksheet with some students completing 1 or 2 tasks ticking boxes, filling gaps, others working through these activities quickly then working on open-ended tasks at the end productive tasks such as writing and speaking fit well into this category, e.g. supplying simple factual information through to descriptive and imaginative responses *demonstrate value for all learners work by displaying all the examples18 19. Consider Prior Learning Both prior learning and progress so far will inform yourplanning of: dynamic ability groupschoice of activities for interest-based activitiesdegree and type of supportdifferentiated outcomeshow you differentiate a text for the different ability levels 19 20. Organisational considerations Prior to beginning to differentiate the learning, usetools which gather information about studentsinterests and prior learningKWLStudent profile (an old faithful as a language task,but useful in finding out student interests as well)If creating banks of extension activitieslaminate to avoid re-doingplace them on the schools intranet for students toaccess20 21. Core Work & Branching Work Branching Work Reinforcement Core WorkExtension21 22. Questioning Techniques: Begin small; practise trialling different questioning techniques Less-able learners: ask questions which require minimum original verbal response: a nod or head shake a Yes or No ask the less-able student a similar question to one you have just asked a more-capable students, so they can see the model, e.g. I play soccer. I play cricket. include the answer as one of two choices in the question ,e.g. Do you like juice or soft drink? use picture clues, so students can point.More capable learners can be asked more open-ended questions. 22 23. Sensitivityuse question types randomly, so there is no obvious move from easy to more demanding questionsbe generous and fair in use of praise and encouragementhandle mistakes and wrong answers sensitively to create a climate in which learners can, and will want to, operate according to their differing abilities 23 24. Some examples Destination Departure Time PlatformAdditional InformationhyperlinkwikispacesI.T. hiding the information behind text boxes 24 25. RecordingOne teacher devised a symbol which she placed beside items on her lesson plan to indicate which activities featured differentiation;D 25 26. Lesson Structure: some possibilitiesIntroduction Modified Teacher groupSupport MainstreamTeacher Group Support ExtensionTeacher GroupSupportSharing with whole group 26 27. AssessmentCore work: would be VELS at the expected level Extension work would be based around next progression points / standards Modified work would depend on students own achievement levels If students have not been working on the same work, the same testing tool would not be appropriate. As different students perform best in different areas, vary the types of assessment from unit to unit, e.g. posters, surveys, tests, anecdotal notes, teacher observation, role-plays.27 28. Portfolios & Personal LearningArrange for students to discuss their progress with you, so that they can work towards greater autonomy over their learning (Personal Learning). Have them keep a portfolio of their work, presenting their work and discussing with you what they believe are their strengths and weaknesses and areas they could focus on in future units of work and set learning goals: they write up an action plan for how they plan to achieve these goals. Tools such as the Thermometer might help them.28 29. Where to from hereIn SMR, we a