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why learners make these associations and be able to put effective strategies into place to help learners modify their schemata with new information. This links back to having a solid understanding of learners and their experiences and ensuring that you build your lesson from a starting point they will understand.

Differentiation Differentiation is an essential part of teaching, important to all subject areas, however, in language and literacy learning there is often an increased level of support needed. Many learners will be studying at one level in their vocational course, but may have completely different needs in their English lessons. Effective differentiation can be a difficult skill to master, particularly when you are new to teaching. My understanding of differentiation has developed through five stages:

Stage One: What is differentiation? Stage Two: I understand differentiation, but I don't know how to do this in my lesson. Stage Three: I feel comfortable planning for differentiation. Stage Four: I can implement the differentiation I put in my lesson plan. Stage Five: I understand the learners and their individual needs. I can usually plan for differentiation and provide any additional support and guidance within my lesson.

I have found that the key to effective differentiation is to ensure that 'every student can leave the room feeling that they have been challenged and that they have achieved something.' (Rose, 1997) It is undoubtedly rewarding to see learners achieve even a small personal goal, especially when it is the result of carefully considering their needs and providing individualised support.

Reflection Being a reflective practitioner is a fundamental part of developing as a teacher. Brookfield 'suggests that we employ four “critical lenses” through which to view and reflect upon our practice.' (Brookfield, 1995) I find this to be an effective method of reflection as it encourages teachers to consider things from a range of perspectives.

The four critical lenses suggest that we 'look at a situation from our own viewpoint, from our colleagues' viewpoint, from our learners' viewpoint and from theoretical literature.' (Hillier, 2012, p.11) The ability to reflect as a teacher is encouraged throughout training as a teacher by writing self-evaluations and completing tasks such as video observations. Studying theory enables you to gain a wider perspective into the reasons behind the decisions you make as a teacher. Additionally, your learners can provide a good mirror from which to reflect. They will usually be honest about their experiences and this can help you to provide a better learning experience for them. However, the most useful lens has to be my colleagues. The people who listen when you had a disastrous lesson and point out where things weren't that bad, and the ones who offer advice when you really need it have been invaluable in my experience. Reflection doesn't have to be a solo experience and a little guidance from a colleague always makes a big difference.

References Atwood, M., (2004). Oryx and Crake. London: Virago Press

Brookfield, S., (1995) via: Models of reflection [online] Available from <> [Accessed 9th April 2015]

Hillier, Y., (2012). Reflective Teaching in Further and Adult Education. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. Rose, J., (1997) 'Mixed Ability in an Inclusive Classroom' English Teaching Professional 3, April 1997


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