Two types of differentiation
Before you start, think about the relevant (learning) goals, why and when you want to differentiate. In Education for Newcomers, two types of learning goals deserve priority:
· Linguistic learning goals
· Learning goals that facilitate integration in the society and citizenship.
In order to achieve these goals, you can apply two types of differentiation: divergent and convergent differentiation.
Provides different learning goals for the pupils of one class. Some of them make the “basic level” assignments, others can already make more difficult tasks. Every pupils goes his own way. At the end of a divergent differentiated course, the level between student can vary a lot.
Convergent differentiation is differentiation in function of the same (learning) goals for all the pupils. You have a very clear idea of where you want to get the whole group at the end of the course. The way that pupils follow towards this end point will be different, but they will reach the same level, but you adapt the learning trajectory to the needs of every pupil. Some of them will need it more, others will learn aloud while another group prefers to work in silence.
Convergent differentiation is preferable in the first phase of education of newcomers. You want them to reach the level needed to be able to follow in regular courses.