Differentiation is the classroom is an open opportunity for those children who have not had open opportunities to perform. If you use differentiation as a relative tool to serve undeserved students, first of all it has to be multi-faceted and has to include content and product. This means that you need to have important and meaningful information and concepts that advanced minds can store, and the product needs to be relevant. It should start by identifying young minds at a very early stage and age, and if we provide that high level opportunities at that time, that’s when high level IQs emerge. Professional development for teachers is also essential.
Dr. Kingore also advises educators to “Understand the diversity of the learner and observe how gifted behaviour shows up at a high level”. Differentiation is the heart of the system and the goal is to increase our insights of what we are looking for and what we are understanding. Perspective is a classic marker of the complexity of thought of a gifted learner. Procedures are beneficial when they are equitable, relevant and they positively start changing what we are doing in the classroom and beyond. So what exactly is differentiation? It is to develop more ways to change what happens in the classroom child by child, give opportunities to them to experience rich learning in such a way that some children will show readiness for that next level of complexity.
Change is another key indicator – not where they start but where they go. Look for asynchronous development in different fields (maths, music composition, etc.) because everything won’t start at a high level at the same time. Eventually the gifted child will progress to the next level over time and can bloom if they are shown the right direction.
The expert: Bertie Kingore, PhD, International Consultant and Author, P A Publishing, Austin, Texas
The content of this article was derived from a lecture at the NAGC 2015 convention.