Adaptive Teaching is Alive!
In my previous post I noted that exploring adaptive teaching can lead schools into advancements with their curriculum design, quality of teaching, and, crucially, the joining of the two. Here, I present 2 basic features of curriculum design that spring out of adaptive teaching, and then 3 broad modes for approaching adapting teaching, and finally 3 classic implementation errors.
Curriculum Design: 2 Basic Features
There are two basic requirements of a curriculum designed for adaptive teaching (i.e. one that empowers the teacher to be constantly responding to learners in a purposeful way).
Differentiation is Dead!
I was an NQT in 1993. I can still recall the mixture of emotion in the last week of the summer holidays, preparing to launch into my teaching career proper. The usual format was to spend the day excitedly cutting out giant letters for display and writing names on books/pegs/trays etc. only to be followed by a night of waking up in a cold sweat, having dreamt – yet again – that I’d lost control of the class. Except, one night I slept really well; I was so happy because, I’d had the brilliant idea to call my higher ability group ‘Smarties’! Of course this meant calling my middle ability group ‘Skittles’ and my low ability group ‘M&Ms’. By definition, I had already told two of my groups that I didn’t consider them ‘smart’. I shudder to think of the long term damage being a member of ‘The M&Ms Group’ had on those poor children (now aged 34); but that was the way of it at that time. Every primary teacher had fixed ability groups, notwithstanding the occasional battle for individual promotion/relegation from group to group.