Differentiation

  1. Differentiation – The teacher acquires and uses specific knowledge about students’ cultural, individual intellectual and social development and uses that knowledge to adjust their practice by employing strategies that advance student learning. It seems to me that one of the challenges of teaching mathematics, especially higher levels such as Algebra, is that students do not realize how they use it currently and struggle to see how they will use it in the future. It is up to the teacher to accentuate the curriculum with less abstract examples that students can relate to. By making an effort to better understand the cultural and household experiences of your students you can tap into funds of knowledge they possess (Moll, 1992). The table, “A Sample of Household Funds of Knowledge” shows a variety of areas where both basic and advanced math are used (Moll, 1992). While this research involved working-class, Mexican communities in the Tucson, AZ area, the results can be applied in any geographic area with any ethnic makeup. When students can see examples where they are already using some of these abstract mathematical concepts they are no longer intimidated by the new ideas. For the teacher, this means making a greater effort to engage with the students, their families and the community on a personal level.
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