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Alex Ko

response to Armando Di-Finizio: How can a teacher be expected to produce an all singing and dancing lesson to address the needs of all students in every lesson within the current school structure? How many of us can honestly say that they are able to differentiate for every student in every session? And for the few who do manage this, how many are sure they are getting the level of differentiation right? Are we providing too much scaffolding, to the extent that we inhibit growth and development?

alex's response: i believe sometimes we do provide too much scaffolding to students who aren't interested in learning. so much, in fact, that we lose some of the higher achieving students due to their boredom. i believe that future teachers should make an attempt to address the less motivated students, keeping in mind the fact that the upper level students should be attended to as well. in order to correct this, i believe teachers should utilize a flexible schedule; a list of things to get accomplished within a reasonable amount of time. that way, everyone learns what they were supposed to, and a little extra time can be allotted to the demotivated students.

Max Green

“I think we've looked at differentiation in the wrong way. If this had been a PBL session I had observed, the teacher would have focused firstly on the expectations of the students rather than the needs. In other words, if we focus on what we expect students to realistically aim for and attain and start at the highest levels, we then prepare resources and pointers towards resources (including scaffolding for the motivated low achievers), which allow these students to fly independently. This creates space and time to focus on the demotivated.”

Dear Armando-

My question after reading this blog entry is: is it our job as teachers to make sure that every single student in our classroom is having his or her needs met? I feel as if there will always be some unmotivated students is each classroom, whose sole purpose is to waste our time as teachers and the time of their fellow students. I also believe that no matter how well planned a lesson can be, there’s always going to be a divide somewhere between the students who are “getting it” and those who are not. In the film “The Emperor’s Club” Kevin Kline’s character tries to motivate his most unmotivated student, puts in a great amount of effort, and in the end, it is all in vain. This obviously is an extreme example, and some students can be motivated, but I ask again, is it our job to motivate the unmotivated, or is it our job to make sure that the majority of our students are receiving the quality education they deserve?

-max-

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