Friday, July 16

Validation through #elemchat

The topic on last night’s #elemchat on Twitter was: Differentiated Instruction: models, strategies, techniques and tools to deliver 'just right' learning.  Quite a mouthful!  Quite an experience!

If you haven’t had a chance to participate or even “lurk” on Twitter during a “chat,” it is an invigorating experience.  Information (the tweets) happens fast and furiously.  The best way to get the most out of the experience is to utilize a tool such as Tweetdeck or Tweetgrid.  These tools allow you to set up a “column” where you only see the #elemchat tweets.  Furthermore, you can easily review the entire chat to read any tweets you missed.  It happens that fast.

Last night’s discussion was inspiring.  If you missed it, you can read the transcript.  There was so much information, thoughts, and ideas that you came away breathless, yet filled with adrenalin.  Could you imagine if participating and observing Twitter chats were mandatory?  That might shake things up a bit!

Along with new ideas and new ways to look at differentiating instruction, I came away with something just as important.  Validation! 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this secret.  After nodding and agreeing to follow prescriptions that were mandated, I would close my classroom door and differentiate.  If anyone were to visit my room, it would appear as if I was very busy working with students using the required materials.  I became very adept at “setting the stage.”  As time passed, and differentiated instruction became more popular, I spoke up more.  I begged, pleaded, modeled, and brought forth all of my found research and proof to convince others!  No luck. 

Unfortunately, many teachers are leery (afraid?) of change.  They seem to find security in the “I followed the prescription, so it can’t be my fault if the students don’t succeed” defense.   They are comfortable teaching in the manner in which they were taught.

Last night, while I had always suspected there were kindred spirits out there, I found a plethora of educators committed to differentiated instruction. 

I came away from #elemchat last night feeling as if I found a soft spot to land; a home.  The passion that these excellent educators bring to their classrooms was evident through their tweets.  Their willingness to share and support one another – mostly strangers, was given freely with no expectation.  Everyone learned and gained. 

Validation means to support the truth. 

Thanks, #elemchat!


tcash said...

You are such an eloquent, inspiring writer, after I read your blog post, I had to close the laptop down and take a moment to let the inspiration overwhelm me. In the little time we've known each other, you have never ceased to amaze me. You captured the moment exquisitely, putting words into feelings I most definitely share. The #elemchat community is so very fortunate to have you, and you are a cherished part of my PLN. You've inspired me to write and I, in turn, dedicate my blog post to you. Thank you for inspiring me and for making such a difference.

Sarah said...

I've been out of town on vacation -- sounds like I missed a great chat!

And it boggles my mind that there is still so much resistance to the idea of differentiated instruction. It's the most effective and common sense way we can teach!!