1 1 Differentiation Once a term heard only in formal education settings, differentiation is pop- ping up more frequently in conversations about teaching with archival sources however, the exact meaning of the term and how we implement it is not immediately obvious to informal educators who more often than not lack formal training in this area. For seasoned educators, differentiation might stimulate a fear that more work is required, lead to confusion about what the work requires, and/or be mistaken for scaffolding (which is a tool for differentiation rather than the practice as a whole). In this chapter, we aim to demystify differentiation by explaining how it emerged as a critical part of the teaching process, underscore how archives education provides ideal tools for differentiating instruction, and share best practices on how to do so. First, we should define differentiation. We understand differentiation to be a process that involves assessing where students are and creating instruction that meets their unique set of needs. Differentiation is not a single method of teaching, but rather a way of actively thinking about and responding to these unique needs while creating instructional practices. Furthermore, differenti- ation is not reserved for students of certain abilities rather, it is used for all students, including those who require more support and those who need less guidance. It is important to note that although there is no universally accepted termi- nology for speaking about learning levels, we chose the terms “students who need more support” and “students who need less guidance” to communicate differentiation options for our lessons. Adopting person-first language priori- tizes students as people and allows us to better articulate students’ needs for more support or less guidance in different learning contexts, rather than viewing them within a one-size-fits-all category of ability. Each student is a unique individual who experiences learning differently depending upon the situation.
Previous Page Next Page