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Becoming a Great Inclusive Educator


Edited By Scot Danforth

Inclusive education continues to grow in popularity and acceptance in the United States. However, most teachers – general and special educators – are poorly prepared to be successful in inclusive classrooms and schools. Undoubtedly, the challenge to professionals involves the acquisition of new knowledge and skills. But inclusion requires far more. It calls upon educators to trouble everything they think they know about disability, to question their deepest ethical commitments, to take up the work of the Disability Rights Movement in the public schools, and to leap headlong into the deepest waters of the rich craft tradition of inclusive teaching. This book offers educators the guidance and resources to become great inclusive educators by engaging in a powerful process of personal and professional transformation.
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Chapter 9: Differentiated Instruction


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Differentiated Instruction

Guiding Question

• How can you differentiate instruction to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners?

When I teach about differentiated instruction in my university course on inclusion, I often begin with a scenario that serves as an analogy to classroom teaching in a public school. Imagine that you sign up at your local fitness center for a class devoted to physical strength and conditioning. The advertised description of the course says that you will be working on increasing strength and stamina in all of the major muscle groups. When you arrive, you find that the class has thirty students, men and women of a diversity of sizes and shapes, ranging in age from early twenties to mideighties.

The instructor begins the first class session by posting an enormous chart on the wall. As he speaks, he points to the graphic with a long wooden pointer, “Being truly fit means achieving high standards. The National Committee on Fitness (NCF) has set standards for the muscular fitness of all Americans. In each of thirty-seven muscle groups, as you can see on this chart, ← 145 | 146 → the NCF has scientifically determined the optimum amount of muscular strength for an American adult. At the conclusion of this course, you will take the NCF comprehensive bodily fitness examination. This exercise program will successfully prepare you to pass all thirty-seven national standards on the NCF...

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