Understanding Tiered Instruction

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Check Out the New Blog If, in a classroom, identical instruction are being given for all learners, even if all of them are identified as gifted, there is a solid chance that some of them are bored, and others are overwhelmed.

Tiered instruction is simply the use of various levels of activities which build on prior knowledge and ensure continued growth. While this may seem complicated or even a little scary it is really pretty manageable and most teachers are already doing some of this in their classrooms.

Now how is this to be accomplished? Tiered instruction includes both whole group activities and small group work. It works best when two to five different levels of needs and learning readiness are established in a room. There is a need for ongoing assessment and flexible grouping within tiered instruction too. This allows for students to move from one level tier to another as needed.

Following are steps for making tiered instruction work in the classroom:

  1. Determine essential concepts and learning standards.
  2. Analyze pre-assessment and assessment tools.
  3. Consider the lesson’s priorities – What will be the products?
  4. Challenge all students, and demonstrate key concepts with an initial activity.
  5. Vary instruction according to students’ levels.
  6. Provide complex activities to challenge students who are more capable.
  7. Track each student according to participation in a variety of activities.

How do you give instructions that cater to all types of learners in your classroom?

From Professional Learning Board’s online continuing education course for teachers: Differentiation for Gifted Learners in the Classroom

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2 Responses to “Understanding Tiered Instruction”
  1. Fran says:

    It is asking a great deal of a teacher to constantly keep individual differences (in a class of 20-30 studetnts) and needs in mind. I am often surprised that our suggestions to teachers don’t include encouraging/teaching our students to take an equal part in this endeavor by having them recognize their own strengths and challenges. The more metacognitive our students become the better able they are to suggest ways to customize instruction to meet their needs and challengess.

  2. Colleen Brink says:

    One of the biggest growing challenges to this type of classroom environment for learning is behavior issues and parenting. I have taught in two districts where kids are not being taught respect, manners, and appropriate group behavior. It was a, “It’s all about me” atmosphere. Not all, but too many children were disruptive to the learning environment for others. Administration tolerated this behavior and tied teacher hands so as not to rock the boat with parents. The tiered learning model is ideal, but teachers need the tools and support to RAISE expectations of students in order for this to be effective. I grew so tired of babysitting and parenting students without support that I resigned. I now have the ability to work with those that want to learn in my tutoring business. It’s a pleasure!

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