The short answer to this question is no. For several decades now, research has been quite emphatic that grades and scores can interfere with a student’s willingness to keep learning. Read more
A PBL Story
At an urban school with above-average STEM scores, faculty fought against the principal’s effort to raise expectations and do “even more.” When she had first urged her deeper learning vision with a call for project-based learning, many teachers balked. “Last year we worked hard to get our scores up. Don’t ask us to change what works. You can say that PBL will help even more, but who knows?” Read more
Systems Thinking and Curriculum Differentiation
We recently visited an amazing South American tapas restaurant and were greeted with an extraordinary assortment of delicious and diverse foods. When presented with each subsequent platter, we could have taken one of two attitudes: eagerly welcome the array of these delicacies and appreciate their unique presentation and flavor or hesitate and refrain from indulging. To us, the more distinct the dish, the more we wanted to experience it. As educators, we feel the same about the dynamic and diverse individual needs we find in today’s classrooms. Read more
Based on Implementing Project-Based Learning
When Hurricane Harvey flooded neighborhoods and destroyed property in Houston, Texas, teachers didn’t take long to turn the natural disaster into meaningful learning. In schools across the Humble Independent School District, students engaged in a wide range of projects that focused on protecting and restoring the Lake Houston Watershed—using drones to survey riverbanks, inventing devices to filter drinking water, and participating in hands-on conservation efforts.
These students have no reason to ask the tired question, “When will we ever need to know this?” Read more
Differentiation is neither revolutionary nor something extra. It is simply teaching mindfully and with the intent to support the success of each human being for whom we accept professional responsibility.
—David A. Sousa and Carol Ann Tomlinson (Differentiation and the Brain, 2018, p. 10)
Successful educators have been differentiating instruction for centuries. Great teachers design learning experiences that respond to their students’ needs/readiness, interests, and learning preferences. Read more