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Adaptive Instruction for Teacher Education: Inclusive Approaches, Resources and Technology
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An Analogy


Compare Teaching a Class of Diverse Learners to being a conductor in an orchestra

Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Von Tiedemann, Cylla. "Toronto Symphony Orchestra with Peter Oundijan, Conductor." Online image.
7 Jan. 2009. <http:/www.tso.ca>.

Think of your classroom, filled with diverse learners, with diverse learning needs, styles, interests and abilities like an orchestra!

Everyone plays a different instrument, although some play the same instrument.

The conductor needs to find out who plays which instrument.

The music director or conductor selects the piece to play.

Musicians are auditioned and it will be determined who can play well, or who knows this piece of  music.

The conductor will interpret the music and how it is to be played.


The conductor will go through various rehearsals to determine progress as well as who needs to practice the piece individually or in a group. In addition, the orchestra also practices as whole.

The conductor will select individuals who will play lead pieces or solos.

 Finally they all play the piece together.

Students have diverse learning styles, educational needs, a variety of different backgrounds, etc., that are brought to the classroom.

The teachers needs to first find out about the students and develop a student profile.

The teacher selects the topic of the curriculum  and expectations to be covered.

Pre-assessment is used to determine what the students know and can do.

The teacher will select how the subject is covered using a variety of teaching strategies.

The teacher uses formative assessment to determine both student progress and to get feedback on his or her on teaching as well.

Vary teaching, e.g. use tiered lessons, so that all students can achieve their highest potential.

This is perhaps where things are different in that not all students will be able to reach the same level at the same time, but all students will be learning.

Freedman, Evelyn (2007/08). Special Education for Regular Teachers. Toronto: Evelyn Freedman Publications Inc., T/A Exceptional Resources.