School News

Why Differentiated Education Matters

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Dec 07, 2022

Imagine this; Your child is quickly grasping new information at school, eager to learn new things, and performing well in their studies. And you’re a happy parent seeing your child grow and thrive in their education. 

This exciting dream can be made a reality if your child learns the right way! Failure to do so can make the child dislike learning and eventually have difficulty learning anything new. 

It’s critical to remember every child is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching them. Each child learns differently – some are better at soaking up new information through observation, while others may need a more hands-on approach. 

In other words, children come with different backgrounds and skill levels, so you can’t just teach one thing in one way and expect every child to learn as effectively as others. Therefore, the universal teaching approach is not practical. Instead, the best way to help your child be successful at school is by finding out what type of learner they are!

That’s where differentiated instructions come into play, as the learning is tailored to each child’s capabilities.

Differentiated instruction is crucial when it comes to learning. 

Differentiated instruction is a teaching technique teachers use to get to know their students well enough to identify how each student learns best. Since each student has different ways of learning, the teacher determines how best to get each student from Point A to Point B. And none does this more efficiently than the Oasis International School (OIS) teachers. 

Differentiated Instruction at OIS

Nestled on a lush 12-acre campus in Bandar Rimbayu, Selangor, OIS is an American curriculum-based international school catering to students from Kindergarten through 12th grade, preparing them for success in university and beyond with its dynamic programs in academics and arts. 

Here, children study in an environment that enables them to thrive from an early age. For example, OIS advocates having a smaller class size as it greatly aids the success of differentiation. This way, teachers can get to know their students personally and comprehensively understand what they know. This allows them to tailor instructions based on each student’s needs and ensure they have a productive learning experience. 

“We design instruction for the whole class and small groups to meet the needs of the unique learners in the class. When students can work at a level that feels just right but challenges them, they gain confidence and can steadily grow," says Rebecca Unruh, OIS Elementary Principal

In addition, OIS understands how important it is for children to learn right from a young age to be in touch with their education. As such, OIS has taken the necessary steps to ensure all its students will grow and reach their fullest potential.  

“We have many small group instructions and personalized learning for each student. In addition, we have a variety of assessment strategies that helps us to identify each student's needs. For example, we do checkpoints all along the way, which helps us catch students who may be struggling early on. Once we identify them, we tailor the instruction to meet their needs,” says Rebecca Unruh, OIS Elementary Principal.

By doing this, OIS has implemented a few strategies to ensure none of its students are left behind in their learning. 

“We conduct various assessments such as projects, presentations, group work, and individual work to catch students that are left behind, and a variety of activities in learning which allows every type of learner to learn in the way that works best for them," says Ben Hale, OIS Head of School

So, if the teachers see a student struggling, they intervene and provide an extra review. Conversely, if a student is doing well, the teachers provide additional topics for that student so they can continue to be challenged academically.

OIS strategies and blended learning frameworks are so well-drilled and thorough that they even impressed the parents. One of the parents praised OIS saying, “OIS has a whole stream of evaluations throughout the whole duration of the school. So many processes are involved to ensure the student is learning what they are supposed to be learning.”

Why Differentiated Instruction Matters 

One should tread carefully regarding children’s learning as it can either make or break a child’s perception of education. Differentiated instruction is a popular strategy as it’s student-centered and has proven to improve student engagement because it meets them at their zone of proximal development. 

This is because when you teach within someone’s zone of proximal development, you’ll have a more robust level of engagement that results in more effective learning. Besides, when students are given options to learn new concepts in ways they are comfortable with, it helps them to actively participate and, most importantly, enables them to understand better. This is evident at OIS, where the differentiation approach has consistently helped its students grow and thrive. 

“Our students enjoy learning, and our parents constantly tell us how our teacher’s knowledge of their children’s unique personalities and needs has aided in their learning. For example, we had a 3rd grader who could do university-level science. So, instead of having him only do what the rest of the class was doing, we gave him university-level science material that he loved! He found it challenging and continues to grow in his learning," says Mr. Ben Hale, OIS Head of School

While differentiation instruction is effective, it’s not simple to carry out. It takes a long time and requires large amounts of teacher effort. 

“Our teachers work on building strong routines and using provided resources that support them in designing and delivering differentiated learning experiences. We also invest a lot of time in training our teachers to provide effective differentiation. In addition, our teachers actively participate in weekly professional development and quarterly all-day professional development," says Ms. Rebecca Unruh, OIS Elementary Principal

All these efforts, coupled with the dedicated time OIS teachers put into thinking, crafting, and delivering differentiated instruction, are evident when you step into their classrooms; you’ll see station work, personalized goals, group work, etc., designed to ensure that each student’s needs are met. 

Kickstart Your Child’s Learning The Right Way

Your child must experience a quality education from the very beginning. If not, they may face academic challenges down the road. 

With OIS, your child can develop love towards learning, learn best to their abilities and reach their full potential. Learn more about this school’s extensive lineup of dynamic offerings here