Educator Reflection Tips

Educator Reflection Tip #65: How will you begin instruction next school year—Backtracking, Differentiation, or Benchmarking?

How will you begin instruction next school year—-Backtracking, Differentiation, or Benchmarking? Which approach will you take?

When we return to school, many students will have been out of school for almost six months. Some students will have continued learning throughout this period. Others due to lack of technology, access to Internet, and/or family or health situations will have had little to no instruction. If you are like many educators, you are trying to think through the best approach to instruction.

Backtracking= Going back and beginning instruction where students left off last school year or reteaching the previous year’s standards

Differentiation=taking a personalized approach to instruction by meeting students where they are and tailoring the content, process, or product to fit each student’s academic needs.

Benchmarking=Assessing students in each content area to gather data on the skills students have mastered or to determine the prerequisite skills students have

Dr. Chris S. Jones has proposed the following the approach which I call the 3-R approach. This approach is to Reset, Reassess, and Recalibrate. As educators it will be important for us to reset our mindset towards instruction. This school year will be like no other that we have ever had. We will have to reassess our methods regarding instruction and recalibrate how we approach teaching and learning. What will you keep, add, tweak, or delete form your current practice. We must be willing to reset, reassess, or recalibrate. This is the only way that we are going to be able to combat the COVID slide, summer learning loss, and help our students to achieve academic success.

Consider using the personalized approach by differentiating the path, place, modality, and pace of lessons, ensuring student choice, promoting student agency, instituting supports for self-paced learning, and using our resources (time, content, space, and grouping) in a flexible manner. This will help us to reach our overall goals of equity, opportunity, and student success.

Be sure to keep in mind that the just saying the word “testing” could cause some anxiety and/or have a traumatic effect on some students depending on the experiences over the past few months of the pandemic. For more information on this topic, refer to Educator Reflection Tip # 60.

If you don’t reassess and recalibrate anything, consider using these phrases with students instead of the word, “test”

  • Say that you are checking for understanding
  • Tell students you are assessing what they know;
  • Let students know that you will look at their work to determine if they need additional assistance

Lastly, promote a culture where students are expected to learn from their mistakes by modeling to the students your process for reflection when you are not as successful on a task as you would like to be.


Photo Credit: Free images from Pixabay

How will you begin instruction next school year: Backtracking, Differentiation, or Benchmarking?

As always, I have included follow-up resources if you are interested in learning more about this topic. If you are interested in reading my other Education Reflection Tips, visit my blog, See you next Friday!!!!

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