Adaptability is a powerful skill for teachers to have. Though it may not be instinctual for everyone, it can be learned and refined. Teachers who are able to differentiate their teaching styles according to their students in order to make the class material accessible can be more equipped to handle any classroom scenario. With enough experience, emotional intelligence, and a little creativity, adaptable teachers can make lessons more effective and students can be more responsive. Here are how some VIPKid teachers adapt and differentiate their instruction and approaches in their sessions.
Based on their level, I either speak less and ask more questions, or speak more and just expect them to repeat back and answer very basic questions. I begin with asking warm-up questions to gauge their English abilities, and go from there. -Teacher Hannah
My background is teaching adults with disabilities. I’m used to having classes with learner’s who vary greatly in their skills. One may be non verbal and deaf (needing sign language) and another may be fluent in three languages, while the average is somewhere in the middle.
One of the challenges I am overcoming is learning how to understand where new students are right away and adapt. As a new teacher, all or many of my students are new so this is interesting but I am catching on quickly, I think. It has been nice to see that there is a lot of consistency within a level (more than I am used to in one class/level).
I love teaching levels 2-5 and will be certifying for level 1 soon. The variety is wonderful! -Teacher Felicia
Adaptation requires getting to know the child’s personality a little more. If I know a student likes sports I might use a reward system that includes all different sports. -Teacher Mindy
If it seems the student isn’t super interested then I try to switch it up a little or drop it completely. I have a regular who almost never wants to do the reward I have set out for her.. be flexible – it’s ok! -Teacher Megan
I make sure that I feel out, how much they know. Keep extending for students, who are smart and fast, and slow down for the ones that need extra help. But still keep the clock in mind… try not to skip anything, as the material is important, and parents do expect for their students to receive a complete lesson. -Teacher Almut
Every student is different, and each will show strengths and weaknesses throughout class. It’s important to constantly informally assess the student. When they’re showing strength in a skill, add additional challenges. If they’re struggling with a skill, you can chunk the material. It is also a good idea to revisit what was difficult for the student throughout class so they get more practice. It can be as simple as having them read a flash card for a sight word every two slides. -Teacher Ilona
For me, it is all about their learning level. I encourage independence in class. Some students need more help. Some are visual learners, I use more props; some are auditory learners, so I sing more with those students; some are tactile/ hands on learners, so they write and spell often in class; also, some are special learners, so they usually et many props as well. -Teacher Jennifer
The most important way to differentiate instruct is by asking quality questions. Every student is on a different level, so you have to find the right question to ask them to give them confidence to engage in conversation but also be challenged. -Teacher Baylee
Some students need more of a focus on grammar, others pronunciation, still others just need to build confidence. I try to pick out what the student needs to work on and focus the lesson on their best fit to get the most out of the time. -Teacher Jenifer
I always read the student information before class along with the teacher feedback. This gives me an idea of where the student is with learning. Also, I usually begin high with instruction and tame it down if I see the student does not understand. Some students like more TPR and props while others prefer more dialogue. -Teacher Brittany
With a new student, I take the first 2-3 slides to see their skill level. How is their pronunciation, how confident are the reading and speaking? And I go from there… if I noted that they drop s’s or add ‘-uh’ to words, I address that through the lesson, encouraging repetition. If content/vocabulary is really difficult for a student, I scaffold and find a skill on each slide that they WILL be successful at, and if time allows, try to push them a bit more. Every student is different! -Teacher Amy
If I have chipper wild ones I always try to meet their energy level. We play music, dance, and have a little party session. If I have shy quiet students I try to gently break them out of their shell by playing games, asking personal questions, or showing them silly props. I find it important not to be overwhelming a timid student and not overpowered by a rambunctious one. -Teacher Hannah
I listen to my students and watch their expressions to find out how they learn best. Some enjoy a quiet classroom with no-nonsense. Others enjoy a lighter style with laughing and fun rewards. When I find out what makes my students comfortable, and I know this helps the learning process, I adapt my classroom to the students comfort level. -Teacher Connie
A good teacher differentiates almost naturally. Teaching is an art. While teaching, the teacher is doing so much- evaluating the student, the lesson, the instruction- and is constantly adapting those three things to best reach and aid the student. I may shorten sentences into smaller chunks, use TPR to explain, or act it out. I may read part or have the student read it all. I may ask a question or answer the question wrong myself to draw the student out and engage them- there are so many ways. -Teacher Amy
Today I taught the same lesson twice. It was fascinating to see at the 8 minute mark where I was with one compared to the other. My first student was serious and I was able to increase his vocabulary by making a list of -ai words. Now I know that he can not only read “rain” but train, brain, tail as well. My second student was capable of doing that as well, but her fun spirit kept us from exploring those words as much -Teacher Betsy