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How to Use Differentiated Instruction to Increase Retention

learning stylesTeachers use differentiated instruction to increase retention of a subject’s content often referred to as a teacher using differentiated instruction.

Everyone responds differently to auditory, kinesthetic, and visual stimuli due to various learning styles. That is why having varied tasks in your lessons is such an important tool for effective classroom teaching.

The best lessons are geared towards not only students’ interests but also to their preferred learning modality: auditory, kinesthetic, or visual. Providing a broad range of activities will grab and hold your students’ attention because students react well to variety.

Look outside the world of textbooks and worksheets to bring the curriculum to life and achieve variety in your lessons.

By implementing props, role playing, manipulatives, guest speakers, field trips, and real-world examples, you will be able to better appeal to the different learning styles.

Ideas to appeal to all learning styles…

•           Use props to grab students’ attention at the start of a lesson.

•           Use an interesting starter as an attention grabber.

•           Bring in outside speakers to keep topics interesting.

•           Plan the lesson’s activities around their interests.

•           Use field trips when possible.

•           Employ activities that appeal to Multiple Intelligences.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started. Some of these ideas can be effective for more than one learning style and many can be applied to different subject matters. Many of these ideas will also open doors to other potentially related activities as well.

It is important to remember that we all don’t learn in the same ways. If all your lessons follow the same format and don’t differ in terms of types of activities then you could be leaving out a large portion of your students from having meaningful learning experiences.

If you usually present information visually, you are leaving out all the students who learn auditorily and kinesthetically.  If they find your lessons difficult to learn or boring, they will quickly become frustrated or bored and their behavior will reflect this.

It will take more time and effort when planning your lessons, but having a variety of different activities in your lessons will keep you from neglecting a significant proportion of your students from the learning process.

It is unrealistic to aim at providing activities every lesson for each student’s learning preferences, but it is possible to do this often. By placing topics into various activities that are geared towards certain learning styles from time to time, you will find you make more progress with the difficult and disinterested students than if you hadn’t tried at all.

For more instructional tips, check out this resource containing teaching tips and techniques.