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Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 25, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Education: Differentiation and customization of curriculum isn’t new

Differentiation is not new to teaching [“We can do better for students with special needs,” Education Lab, Dec. 22]. In high school, I remember receiving permission to take an assignment in a new direction. I remember working with my social-studies teacher, allowing me to contract a course so that I could fit more into my daily schedule. That was more than 30 years ago. Those teachers didn’t need the buzzword to know the right thing to do, and neither do we.

But if you think differentiation should be easy for teachers, think about this: This Christmas, how many of you sent out 30 Christmas cards, each one with a hand-written, individualized note? Imagine the heart and time that would go into each. That’s what differentiation is, and it’s what we as teachers attempt to do every single day.

Teachers don’t need to be told to differentiate. We need support. We need smaller class sizes. We need an army of after-school tutors and an after-school bus system to deliver the students safely home. We need a PE curriculum mandatory for every student every day to help students focus in class. We don’t need shiny new equipment or expensive software. We don’t need a new curriculum or a new grading system or — heaven help us — any more buzzwords to tell us what we already know.

We need support. We already know what to do.

Karen Hugh, Bellevue

Comments | More in Education | Topics: class sizes, Differentiation, education

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