Photo Credit: Rifka Schonfeld

A Challenge Worth Tackling

No one claims that differentiating instruction is easy. “There’s no question that it’s a big challenge,” Weaver says, “but there’s no bigger challenge than trying to insert kids in a one-size-fits-all classroom and then having to deal with the spillover of emotional and behavioral reactions. If kids are not in a place where they can learn, they let us know loud and clear.”

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Teachers are inspired to persevere with differentiated instruction when they see the results. Students are more engaged and make more rapid progress. Bright students are no longer bored, and struggling students are finding learning more accessible-and hence their confidence and sense of accomplishment is rising.

As one veteran teacher who initially put up enormous resistance said, “This differentiation is exhausting, at times frustrating, and extremely time-consuming-but I would never go back to the old way.”

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An acclaimed educator and social skills ​specialist​, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@gmail.com.