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Differentiated Instruction: Insights from Dr. Mary Giles

Welcome back to the EduMagic Podcast, where we delve into the world of education with expert guests. In this episode, Dr. Sam Fecich sits down with Dr. Mary Giles, an experienced educator with a wealth of knowledge on differentiated instruction and universal design for learning. Dr. Giles shares her journey from elementary teacher to academic coach and assistant principal, emphasizing her passion for impacting students and teachers alike.

Here are some key takeaways from their insightful conversation:

  1. Introduction to Differentiated Instruction: Dr. Giles defines differentiated instruction as tailoring instruction to ensure the success of all learners, focusing on content, product, and classroom environment.

  2. Understanding Universal Design for Learning: Universal design for learning encompasses the entire curriculum and process, emphasizing the use of diverse resources and methods to meet the needs of all students.

  3. Integration of Differentiated Instruction and Universal Design: While different in approach, these two concepts complement each other, aiming to ensure student learning regardless of ability or disability.

  4. The Importance of Knowing Students: Dr. Giles emphasizes the significance of getting to know students individually, using observation, conversation, and data analysis to tailor instruction effectively.

  5. Embracing Productive Struggle: Allowing students to struggle productively fosters deeper learning and self-correction, leading to better comprehension and mastery of concepts.

  6. Practical Strategies for Differentiation: Dr. Giles shares various examples, including differentiated reading and writing tasks, math activities using manipulatives, and creative approaches like rap songs to reinforce learning.

  7. Creating a Joyful Learning Environment: Integrating joy into lessons through engaging activities and positive reinforcement enhances student motivation and retention of learning.

  8. The Power of Student Engagement: Dr. Giles encourages teachers to involve students in the learning process, allowing them to take ownership and become active participants in their education.

  9. Supporting Diverse Learners: By incorporating real-world experiences and diverse resources, teachers can bridge the gap in vocabulary and ensure all students have the tools to succeed.

  10. Resources for Further Learning: Dr. Giles recommends exploring research-based practices and educational websites like Reading Rockets and the Learning Disabilities Association for additional support and ideas.

Differentiated instruction is more than just a teaching method; it is a philosophy that values diversity and empowers students to reach their full potential. By embracing these principles, educators can create inclusive learning environments where every student can thrive.

Dr. Mary Giles episode cover art
Dr. Mary Giles

Check out the recommended resources mentioned in the episode. These resources will help you explore differentiated instruction and universal design for learning in more depth.

Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the EdguMagic Podcast. Stay tuned for more inspiring conversations with education experts and innovators. Remember, every student matters, and together, we can make a difference in their lives.

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