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Differentiation strategy is defined as the set of integrated actions, which are designed to produce goods and services in such a manner that they are perceived to be different and important by the customers (Kotler, 2003). It basically focuses on the non standardized products which can satisfy customers need in unique ways. Special education students differ from others in ability, learning style, age and personality.
Six differentiation strategies that are used to target the Special Education students are as follows:
Accessing the curriculum: This means changing the content and format of material. Adaptations with the Students having mild cognitive disabilities should be such that it serves to bridge skill development, in order to address various student reading levels, teachers must adapt lesson plans in such a way that it maintains the grade level content.
Authentic learning: It is also known as experiential learning, this teaching method allows students to discover, discuss, and interpret the concepts which relates to the real world situation. Student of all ages and abilities can easily use authentic learning. It's the responsibility of the teacher to identify problem which the students want to address and try to create activities through which students can develop the solution (Ellis & Larkin, 1998).
Award Winning Teaching Strategies: Here, a wide array of exceptionality areas is represented by the teacher. It includes students with learning disabilities, disorder related to hyperactivity, attention deficit, impairments related to hearing, deafness, blindness and vision, mental retardation and autism. This teaching method highlights technology solutions, service learning, hands-on activities, reading instruction and teaching related to social studies (Ellis & Larkin, 1998).
Differentiated Instruction:In this according to thestudent differences, teaching approach is adopted. This includes contents, in this concepts are broad based, and core content remains same for all students. The next is process, here the student are engaged to make the sense of content. Last but not the least is product and the learning environment, under this students apply what they have learned through the projects and learning environment should be such that the students can learn quietly (Hogan & Pressley, 1997).
Direct Instruction or DI: This is a highly structured strategy that disintegrates skills into specific components and teaches them in a sequence which is controlled. This process involves:
Lesson plans that are Scripted, Rapid-paced interaction with students, immediate correction of mistakes, grouping based on the homogenous skills, Frequent and quick assessment (Hogan & Pressley, 1997).
Peer Assisted based Learning Strategies: This learning strategy improves reading and math skills. Pairing is done between low and high performing students; at regular intervals these pairs are changed.
This strategy provides students with new learning and understandings of difficult tasks, they are provided with more assistance. As students shows mastery in their task, the assistance provided by the teachers gradually decreases. Thus, as the students are capable of assuming more responsibilities for their learning, the teacher support decreases.
Kotler, P. (2003). Marketing Management (22nd Edition). New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India Private Limited.
Ellis, E.S. & Larkin, M.J. (1998). Strategic instruction for adolescents with learning disabilities. In B.Y.L. Wong (Eds.), Learning about learning disabilities (2nd ed., pp. 585-656). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Hogan, K. & Pressley, M. (1997). Scaffolding student learning: Instructional approaches and issues (1st Edition). Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.