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Blog

Differentiation at Ecole Bilingue

Jeffrey Miles
At EB, the teaching staff recognizes the individuality of each student, and is dedicated to helping each and every one of them reach their full potential.
All of our teachers are committed to the idea of teaching the whole child and ensuring equity exists within their classrooms; each student is met where they are in their understanding. Through the use of a variety of differentiation techniques, teachers are able to tailor their instruction to meet each student's individual needs. Whether teachers differentiate content, process, products, or the learning environment itself, the use of ongoing assessment, leveled learning, flexible grouping, and student voice/choice makes differentiation a vital component within the EB classrooms.

Teachers at EB differentiate based on student readiness, interest, or learning profile. A schoolwide focus for the 21-22 academic year has been centered on class culture and community building, and differentiation provides a way to foster the relationships necessary to build a positive learning environment. We see differentiation not as an approach but as a basic tenet of good instruction, in which teachers develop relationships with his/her/their students and present materials and assignments in ways that respond to the student’s interests and needs.

On a foundational level, differentiation consists of the efforts teachers make each day to respond to the variance present among learners in their classroom. Whenever a teacher confers 1:1 individually with a student, gathers small groups to lead them through guided reading and writing activities, varies their teaching in order to create the best learning experience possible, that teacher is differentiating instruction. Our Balanced Literacy approach to the teaching of reading and writing allows the teachers to differentiate their instruction around all components of the curriculum, from phonics in the younger grades right through the drafting and editing process being tackled in the upper grades. To ensure our students are prepared to be active and engaged citizens, a digital literacy component is often used as another facet of the differentiation happening daily in the classrooms. Integrating platforms such as Raz-Kids, which reinforces the teaching and learning happening each day allowing the teachers to create individualized leveled reading lists for students, or Zearn, which uses analytics to ensure that students are working within their zone of proximal development when learning new math concepts by assigning individual learning goals and assignments, the usage of educational technology platforms provides yet another means for students to access the material.

Differentiating instruction to maximize student engagement and increase learning requires that students be active participants in the process. At Ecole Bilingue we believe in providing students with avenues through which they can express themselves by using their voice and choice. Flexibility within the classroom—from the seating of students to allowing for a variety of products students can use to express their thinking and understanding—gives them the opportunity to use their voices and make choices many times throughout the school day. The differentiated classrooms here at EB personalize the schooling experience for our students and ensure that they feel safe, secure and are able to learn and grow. At EB we see differentiation for what it truly is: highly effective teaching rooted in a positive classroom culture, which is something each and every student deserves.
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All Are Welcome! (Anti-Discriminatory Policy)

Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley does not exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject any individual to discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. This policy applies to all programs, services, and facilities, including applications, admissions, and employment.