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Bridging Learning for Gifted Students

With the current trends in today’s classrooms, educators are now finding new ways and means to address the diversity and increase productivity and outputs from students. In the classroom setup, teachers must continue to recognize the potential of students and create better ways to facilitate and improve outputs. By properly applying differentiating programming, not only shall the educator address the increased needs of gifted students, at the same time it enhances the level of performance by the class and facilitates increased growth which is vital for everyone’s holistic learning and development.

Introduction In the current educational system, various programs and mechanisms have been in place to address the increasing needs of student needs. In addition, with the ever increasing diversification of the classroom, educators are continually faced with the challenge of creating dynamic and fruitful learning experiences not only to normal students but gifted individuals as well. Due to this, curriculum differentiation is one alternative and practice that educators consider in balancing and bridging the hurdles brought about by such issues.

Defining curriculum differentiation Addressing the definition of the term, curriculum differentiation refers to the practice among educators with an effort to increase and further develop the varied abilities of students. It then argues that it is “the process of modifying or adapting the curriculum according to the different ability levels of the students in one class” (UNESCO, 2004, p. 14). However such process is never easily done. It involves the mixture and changing of various methods which in turn can help enhance the level of facilitation and learning.

“Teachers can adapt or differentiate the curriculum by changing: the content, methods for teaching and learning content and the methods of assessment” (UNESCO, 2004, p. 14). Relative importance With the current setup and mixture of students in the classroom, the need for the practice of curriculum differentiation increases especially in the presence of gifted students. One important task that such initiative is concerned about revolves around securing the welfare and providing sufficient opportunities for gifted students to learn and develop.

(NSW Department of Education and Training, 2008) In addition, the initiative also seeks to bridge the gap between the majority of the students in the classroom and to those who have been characterized to be gifted one way or another. By understanding both parties’ relative needs, teachers can better facilitate the goals and objectives of the program. Facilitating the initiative As it has been mentioned, the practice of curriculum differentiation is relatively challenging for educators due to the variety of factors involved. Due to this, planning what methods and changes that should be done must be taken into consideration.

(NSW Department of Education and Training, 2008) Moreover, teachers must also find means to gauge the level of knowledge that each student has. It is through this that several determinations must be made by the instructor. “There are different ways that students’ prior knowledge can be determined, for example, brainstorming or producing a concept map or a series of questions on a test” (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2008). Only then can the initiative push through. Valuing Content One important part of such initiative is creating the proper, sufficient and available information that can be taught to students.

Content serves as the main component towards the facilitation of curriculum differentiation. Seeing this, the selection of educators of the things that should be taught to students is vital in the overall development of the program. It is in this aspect that teachers allow “students to demonstrate mastery of material they already know and to progress at their own pace through the new material” (Tomlinson, 2000). Modes of Presentation Conventional blackboard discussion nowadays can only leave students bored and uninterested to learn. Seeing such setback, applying numerous ways to present information to students can lead to better outcomes.

Several studies and scholars in the field of education have contributed to the literature by providing various teaching strategies that can enhance the development and growth by children. By doing such thing, the teacher is “providing different avenues to acquire content, to processing, or making sense of ideas and to develop products” (Tomlinson, 2000). Gauging Practice and Performance Upon the application of curriculum differentiation, educators must also continuously enable students to participate and engage in various activities that will enhance their performance in the classroom.

Looking at such, these activities involve the process of continued practices so as they can enhance their output modes. “They include modes such as writing, speaking, drawing, and making” (UNESCO, 2004, p. 16) In addition, the teacher must be open to various feedbacks and responses from his/her students. This can be done by “allowing students to choose with the teacher’s guidance, ways to learn, and how to demonstrate what they have learned” (Tomlinson, 2000). Assessment: a determinant for success For educators, one way to measure and determine the capability of his/her students to acquire information and learn is by creating assessments.

This involves various practices aimed at exhausting their understanding. “The methods of assessment include the observation of students as they use various methods to practice and perform assessment of “products” the students develop to showcase their understanding” (UNESCO, 2004, p. 16) One example of such important practice is by “providing multiple assignments within each unit, tailored for students with differing levels of achievement” (Tomlinson, 2000). By facilitating these components the educator equally addresses the programs brought about by curriculum differentiation.

Analysis With all of these mentioned, the idea of curriculum differentiation demands one important skill and aspect from educators – flexibility. Teacher must actively create and be dynamic in creating and facilitating on various needs by children. (Tomlinson, 2000). The practice demands huge levels of understanding and analysis of the current situation. It is vital for the teacher to enhance the child’s knowledge skills and understanding for them to discover individually their potential. (NSW Department of Education and Training) Conclusion

With all of these mentioned, it can be argued that curriculum differentiation is one program that can enhance the relationship among students and gifted children by building a classroom that is susceptible to change and development. By properly incorporating the changes within the program, the educator sees a transformation and growth of students in the classroom. In the end, the process serves as a stepping stone towards the success and developments of educators and students and an important component towards the improvement of classrooms.

References

NSW Department of Education and Training (2008) Differentiating the curriculum. Retrieved July 30, 2008 from, http://www. curriculumsupport. education. nsw. gov. au/policies/gats/programs/differentiate/index. htm Tomlinson, C. A. & Alan, S. D. (2000) Leadership for differentiating schools and classrooms. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. UNESCO (2004) Changing Teaching Practices: using curriculum differentiation to respond to students’ diversity. Retrieved July 30, 2008 from http://unesdoc. unesco. org/images/0013/001365/136583e. pdf

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