Reach More, Teach More

Differentiated Instruction in the Higher Ed Classroom

There are upwards of 87,000 drink combinations available at Starbucks.  People’s needs and preferences vary—Starbucks makes an effort to address these variations via their drink offerings.  Starbucks Q2 revenues for FY 14 were $3.9 billion.

We know that people have different needs and preferences and yet research by Burke and Ray (2008) suggests that college instructors overwhelmingly rely on one delivery method for instruction–the lecture.

Differentiated instruction is an approach of delivering instruction (as well as learning activities and assessments) based on the diversity students bring to the class in order to maximize learning (Subban, 2006, & Tomlinson, 1999).

Livingston presents a continuum of instruction methodology  categorized by educational objective from transmission of knowledge (through discussion, lecture and recitation) to transaction (through case method, cooperative learning, peer-to-peer feedback, problem-based learning, speaking exercises, ungraded in-class activities and writing exercises) to transformation (through dialogue, games, inquiry-based learning, role playing, service learning with reflection and simulations).

Both Leitweis and Chamberlin have compiled research studies which show a broad range of benefits when differentiated instruction is used in higher education institutions.  The studies find student benefits of differentiated instruction include higher levels of academic achievement, increased scores on standardized tests, and improved attitudes towards learning.

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Works Cited

Burke, L.  & Ray R. , (2008). in Lightweis, S.K. College Success: A Fresh Look at Differentiated Instruction and Other Student-Centered Strategies.  College Quarterly.  Summer 2013, Vol. 15 Number 3.  http://www.collegequarterly.ca/2013-vol16-num03-summer/lightweis.html

Espresso Beverages.  Handcrafted Lattes. Cappuccinos, Macchiatos and more.  Starbucks Coffee Company.  http://www.starbucks.co.uk/menu/beverage-list/espresso-beverages

Lightweis, S.K. College Success: A Fresh Look at Differentiated Instruction and Other Student-Centered Strategies.  College Quarterly.  Summer 2013, Vol. 15 Number 3.  http://www.collegequarterly.ca/2013-vol16-num03-summer/lightweis.html

Livingston, D.  Differentiated Instruction and Assessment in the College Classroom.  A Paper presented at the 12th Conference on College and University Teaching, Kennesaw, GA, February 11, 2006.

Starbucks Investor Relations.  Financial Release. http://investor.starbucks.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=99518&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1922140&highlight=

Subban, P. (2006). in Chamberlin, M. T.  The Potential of Prospective Teachers Experiencing Differentiated Instruction in a Mathematics Classroom. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education–IΣJMΣ Vol. 6., No. 3. http://www.iejme.com/032011/d2.pdf

Tomlinson, C. A. (1999) in Chamberlin, M. T.  The Potential of Prospective Teachers Experiencing Differentiated Instruction in a Mathematics Classroom. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education–IΣJMΣ Vol. 6., No. 3. http://www.iejme.com/032011/d2.pdf

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Posted in Educators, Institutions of Higher Education, Students

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