It’s no secret that all children are unique and have different needs when it comes to education. Working with a wide variety of children is one of the best parts of being a teacher. Making sure that distinctive educational needs are met can be one of the trickiest, but it’s not impossible with individualized instruction.
First, what is individualized instruction?
Individualized instruction happens when teachers use specific strategies to meet the different needs of learners in their classrooms. Resources, assignments, and assessments are tailored for students with the ultimate goal of success in mind. This approach guides with flexibility for delivering instruction and assessment of academic content.
Special education is an example of individualized instruction. Individualized Education Plans (or Programs) (IEPs) are written to provide accommodations to meet the needs of special education students. However, this isn’t the only way to implement individualized instruction in the classroom.
Examples of individualized instruction
Individualized learning takes place whenever teachers emphasize the personal needs of each student in their lesson plans and teaching methods. Characteristics of individualized instruction include specific and realistic goals, student ownership of the process, and parent involvement. Expect to complete reviews and revisions of the plan often. The pacing and other accommodations may need to be adjusted.
Student interests change, providing new avenues for individualized instruction. If a student is suddenly fascinated with deep sea creatures, bring that into reading assignments. When students quote football statistics, use that for math instruction. If it’s easier for students to write using a tablet or computer, find ways to allow
technology for those students.
How to individualize instruction for your students
How to individualize instruction for students might seem like an overwhelming task for classroom teachers. The fact of the matter is that teachers are already doing it!
Teachers always meet the needs of their students.
Take a look at some of the ways.
Get to know students' strengths, concerns, and interests.
Offer problem-based learning.
Provide reciprocal teaching opportunities.
Utilize peer tutoring.
Consider the amount of time and/or questions for assignments.
Advantages & disadvantages of individualized learning
As with anything, there are pros and cons to individualized learning. Disadvantages of individualized instruction include teacher exhaustion from the work it takes to meet the needs of so many students in one classroom. It can also be difficult to measure growth because comparisons aren’t truly apples to apples.
The advantages of individualized instruction outweigh the disadvantages. Student strengths and concerns are addressed with specific support. Pacing and workload match ability. Students have more ownership in their learning. Engagement and motivation are high when students feel connected to their progress and success.
Using technology to help with individualized instruction and learning
When students get the chance to work with engaging, entertaining lessons, they are motivated to do the work.
ExploreLearning has research-driven solutions from kindergarten through graduation for individualized instruction in STEM learning. Check out the interactive and intuitive resources that make STEM real and tangible while giving students a sense of accomplishment and inspiring them to use what they’ve learned in new ways.
Find out why our math and science solutions are a perfect fit for individualized instruction with a 30-day trial
Incite curiosity and invite interactions in STEM for students 3-12.