Differentiating Instruction Across Different Nations
July 3, 2017
When you walk into Ditta and Monica’s co-taught English classroom in Lalitpur, Nepal, there’s a lot going on. Ditta, a K-2 teacher from Nepal, is playing a flashcard game with a small group of students. Monica, a visiting teacher from the U.S., is creating booklets with another group. Three more groups of students are independently working on tasks including worksheets and illustrations. It might seem like these groups of students are all learning different things, but each activity is a different way for students to practice their prepositions of place (i.e. “in”, “on”, “under”).
Ditta and Monica have established a classroom environment that appeals to the diverse learning preferences of their students.
This method of differentiating instruction, known as “station” teaching, is very common in U.S. classrooms, but was new to some of the Nepali teachers. Monica introduced this method during the 2017 TIEs summer program, and she and Ditta co-planned what each individual station activity would be. Ditta coordinates grades Kindergarten through 2nd, and she is excited to share this method with other teachers on her team. Ditta and Monica will be presenting this method to the entire staff in an upcoming professional development workshop.
But Ditta isn’t the only one learning new things through the TIEs program – Monica has gained some insight as well. English is the second language of these Nepali students, and Monica sees the emphasis that the Nepali teachers place on learning new vocabulary. “In the US, we often assume that kids have the vocabulary,” Monica says. “This experience has made me more cognizant of the importance of front-loading vocabulary.” Monica is toying with the idea of a vocabulary station when she returns to her regular school in the U.S., where approximately 20 percent of the students are English language learners.
Station-teaching is just one of the many cross-cultural collaborations going on in TIEs’ 2017 summer program. See more of our exciting projects by subscribing to our blog and following us on Facebook and Instagram!