Sunday, March 08, 2009

Differentiated instruction challenges educators

BARBARA ANDREWS, a literary consultant from Texas, works during a January session with, clockwise from left, third-graders Tauren Brown, 9, Isabel Quiros, 8, and Nik Faton, 8, at O'Connell Elementary School in East Hartford. The school is part of a "differentiated instruction" program, in which students of varied reading abilities are each given specialized teaching but in the same classroom with students at other reading levels. (STEPHEN DUNN / HARTFORD COURANT / January 9, 2009)

Tailoring lessons to individual students allows more students with special needs to be placed in mainstream classrooms, but the method requires more training, planning time and top classroom-management skills, educators say. "It's a very demanding, very difficult form of teaching," said John Gallacher, superintendent of a Connecticut district. The Hartford Courant (Conn.)

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