“When students feel like their teacher cares about them, they are generally more inclined to participate in their learning and also to take responsibility for their learning. When this happens, the learning experience is more robust than a traditional one-size fits all approach,” says Sarah Rissler, ELA instructor, who is this month’s featured Professional Development Fellow.

In this interview, she talks about her expertise in differentiated instruction, which she describes as “a philosophy of teaching that takes into account students’ interest and levels of learning.”  As Sarah stated, most literature on differentiated instruction targets K-12 schools, but there are some resources for higher education as found at http://itecideas.pbworks.com/w/page/60999586/Differentiated%20Instruction%20at%20the%20College%20Level  Another helpful and more recently published resource that summarizes the differentiated learning is at http://www.edudemic.com/delivering-differentiated-instruction/

Infographic of what is and what is not differentiation


About 3 minutes and 10 seconds into the interview, Sarah then discusses what impresses her about Kirkwood faculty, what excites her about teaching students here, and advice for those interested in becoming a Professional Development Fellow.  You can read the full transcript here.

Picture of Sarah Rissler


Sarah Rissler is in her fifth year as an adjunct instructor at Kirkwood.  She has taught Spanish and currently teaches English Language Acquisition to students from many different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.  She is in her third year as a Professional Development Fellow with her focus on supporting faculty through teaching courses on differentiation and flipped learning.

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