AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Differentiating Instruction

There will be differences in how much responsibility young children can take and how much older students can take. Projects for younger students may be shorter in duration and less complicated. Students should be presented with a short list of options that still allow them to choose what they want to do but draws on the knowledge the instructor has about the students, the available resources and the community. Older students may be able to generate their own lists of projects from which to choose, although the instructor should always be ready with some suggestions. However, the instructor should exercise judgment in paring the list down—still leaving choice, but taking into account factors such as safety and resources. While younger students’ activities may be more classroom-centered, older youth can take more responsibility and their work can be more complex. Older youth often choose to investigate controversial issues; be aware of school and community policy in such areas.