As president of the Board of Education for the JS Morton High School District 201, Jeff Pesek has implemented a number of pedagogical training and classroom management initiatives. As creator of the Professional Development Academy, Jeff Pesek has made it possible for district teachers to train in differentiated instruction.
At its core, differentiated instruction means giving every student the best possible chance of success. Each student begins the learning process with his or her own background, mind-set, and abilities. Differentiated instruction allows teachers to provide a variety of options and techniques for learning, enabling each student to access the curriculum in a way that works for him or her.
Differentiating instruction does not require the teacher to create separate lesson plans or curricula for all students, but it does involve significant learning environment preparation. The teacher must determine students’ interests and learning styles to present relevant materials. Teachers can then examine the current curriculum to assess which elements can be broadened to include different methods of delivery.
These delivery methods students include materials, themed projects, and inquiry-based activities that target struggling, advanced, and median learners, though they do not take the shape of separate assignments for outliers. Instead, a differentiated lesson has a variety of activities happening at a given time. Students may work alone or in groups. They may choose their activity or accept an assignment to a particular task, all of which the teacher presents as varied rather than leveled options.