The learning experiences provided by the teacher are what determine the achievement of particular lesson objectives and the long term goals of a particular curriculum unit. As such therefore there is dire need of constant modifications of these learning experiences so as to make the learning process more meaningful and also to cater for individual learners differences (Switlick, 1997).
Modifications in curriculum has got four categories namely, accommodation, adaptation, parallel curriculum, and overlapping curriculum. Each of these four categories has got their specific features, with accommodation providing for a change in how learners receive information while adaptation provides for a “slight modification” of the conceptual difficulty of the curriculum. Parallel curriculum puts into consideration both accelerated and reduced curriculum delivery depending on the student’s abilities whereas overlapping curriculum provides for students with severe disabilities (Dr. King Seers, 2001).
In light of the above information on modification categories a teacher may professionally provide fully for the varied academic needs of the learners. For instance my mathematics class has got high, medium and low ability learners and therefore it is important that their varied individual capabilities are catered for by modifying the learning experiences. The teaching of division of mixed fractions is an example of a curriculum unit my learners have to undergo.
My main concern is to modify the learning experiences so as to narrow the gap between the three categories of my learners, and therefore out of the four categories of modification, adaptation is the most appropriate because it allows for the slight change of concept difficulty of the curriculum. Using the video program as my guide in the process of planning, execution, and the assessment of the learners the following areas will be catered for – lessons content, long term goals of the unit, and the specific lesson objectives. The lessons objectives are; the learners should be able to correctly divide mixed fractions, the long term goals of this unit are; the learners should fully exhibit refined computation skills in handling fractions. As stated above my class comprises of high, medium, and low ability students so I will use varied (modify) the learning experiences as the lesson progresses. Lastly I will conduct a sound assessment exercise to determine the impact of the modification on the learners.
The medium and the low level students are my main concern in the modification plan as their academic needs are more when compared to their higher ability colleagues. I will therefore embark on performing a sound and a proper introduction which will begin from familiar to complex, in the lesson development I will use interest arousing methods that will vary as per individual learners needs. However when it comes to application part I will slightly change (modify) the concepts, whereby the low ability learners will do sums on mixed fractions with common denominators while the medium and the high ability learners will attempt those with different denominators. The number of the given sums shall be the same but the level of complexity will differ and the low ability learners will equally gain as compared to their medium and high ability colleagues. This given test will also serve to gauge whether the learners have grasped the content, and also it will serve to provide for further modifications of learning experiences. Lastly I will offer a sound conclusion by challenging the students into practically identifying the core generalizations of the lessons content, this will be possible through a well guided questioning and answering short session (video program three-Dr. King Seers).
This category of modification fits my diverse abilities of my learners as it tries to put them on a level footing in the achievement of their long term curriculum goals. It is also appropriate to the specific lesson objectives and the lesson content as it gives room for varying teaching methods and still delivers positive results (http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_curriculumod.htm).
Categories of modification, available at;
i) Video program, by Dr. King Seers, accessed on 29 September 2008.
Curriculum modifications, available at;
ii) Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2004). Designing curriculum, instruction, and assessment for students with special needs. Baltimore: Author, accessed on 21 September 2008.
More about curriculum modifications, available at
iii) http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_curriculumod.htm, accessed on 21 September 2008