Every professional teacher knows that each student is different. Because each student learns differently, differentiated instruction is a major component of 21st-century education. Differentiated instruction involves offering multiple assessments to measure knowledge of the same content, such as offering different ways for hands-on learners and visual learners to demonstrate their knowledge. As you interview for jobs, hiring committees may want to know how you would offer different approaches for different kinds of learners, and may want a demonstration. With preparation, you can be ready for this question.
Research examples of differentiated instruction before the interview. You may sit in on your colleagues' classes to see how they use this method, or research this method online as long as you get a solid idea of how to use differentiated instruction for the grade levels you teach. This is an essential step if you are a new teacher with little experience in using this classroom method.
Answer the question by giving hypothetical answers to how you would run the class if you're new to teaching. Depending on the specifics of the questions the interviewers ask, you may need to think on your feet and improvise. However, the research and observation you have done will allow you to modify the approach to one that suits your teaching style and the interview questions.
Incorporate the differentiated approach in your classroom if you're an experienced teacher to prepare for the interview. Tell interviewers how you use the approach in your classroom, explaining what works and how the students respond. Use examples of what you have done in the classroom.
Prepare a demonstration of how you use the approach for the interview. Show the committee the practices you have incorporated into your classroom instruction if you're a veteran teacher or demonstrate a hypothetical situation if you're a novice.
Integrate visual examples into the interview. Even if you don't have the opportunity for a teaching demonstration, you can still impress a hiring committee with a few examples of your differentiated teaching assignments. You can write on a chalkboard or give the committee handouts of differentiated instruction assignments you give to students. In addition to showcasing your skills, you can also interact with the committee. You have the opportunity to reach the visual, auditory and tactile learners on the hiring committee by telling them what you can do, showing them what you can do, and giving them materials that demonstrate your teaching skill. This assures them you know not all students learn the same way, which is the primary philosophy behind differentiated instruction.
- If you teach children of elementary age or younger, integrate differentiated instruction into all of the subjects you teach, as this may come up in your interview.
Dr. Chris Snellgrove is a writing specialist, and a veteran of everything from a book-length dissertation to a newspaper editor's desk. He has produced work for academic, business, creative, and non-profit endeavors.