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What is "differentiation" and how can it be achieved?

moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: What is "differentiation" and how can it be achieved?
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IT would be nicer to address a person rather than a meaningless (to me) alias, but you have touched on something that I have also argued. Many, if not most, teachers still consider themselves as the front line troops in perpetuating the accumulated knowledge and received wisdom of the ages. Schools, like universities are no longer the sole repositories of knowledge, and have shown themselves incapable of passing on received wisdoms. This has led to a number of issues and debates about the effectiveness of teachers, schools and public education in general, at the same time as perpetuating the myths of STEM subjects as being important and PISA testing being necessary. 

Ever since the massive expansion in our knowledge base during the 20th Century, the limitations of our education systems have become increasingly obvious. yet, like any elephant in a room, it is either ignored or completely misused to beat teachers up with, particularly by the bullies who would be called our political leaders. If we really care to track our progress, we would see that the modern classroom is not that different to Socrates' ancient gymnasium. There have been changes, few positive, many negatives, sure, but the essential ingredients are the same. 

The most negative changes have occurred, I suggest, as a deliberate misinterpretation of people like Piaget and Vygotsky. Knowledgeable people have used constructivist theories to interfere with the development of children, rather than enhance it. Children need knowledge presented in a way that is accessible for them, not controlled and doled out grudgingly in schools that are run in exactly the same way as factories. Accessibility should never be limited and a child's interest should always be fanned, but how to do that, our current systems cannot achieve.         

Ken Robinson suggests we should apply the "Alien Test" to our education systems. If an alien landed on Earth and examined our education system, it would deduce that the most successful people in our society would be University lecturers. They have not left the system, or have returned to it to become academics.  

It is this kind of background that "differentiation" is offered as a way of "enhancing" the education experience. Word games, that all these are. Learned articles about trash. The best education experiences I have seen have been stepping back and allowing students to get on with it, just feeding them the tools they need to run with things. Letting them go where their imagination and interest takes them is a much better alternative, I suggest. Easily achieved in some subjects, like humanities, social sciences and science, impossible in maths. (Which leads me to suspect the wisdom of teaching maths like we do, as a separate, independent subject. It might be more helpful to drop maths as a discreet subject but include it as a part of every other subject.)  

Agghhh! C'en est assez....

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