Differentiation is constantly assessing students and designing instruction accordingly. You teach students with different learning modes and a variety of instruction and complexity. It’s a student-centered classroom, in which you respond to where kids are and provide choices and flexibility.
There are many ways to differentiate:
- By Readiness: Who is ready to move on to the next level, while others practice the previous level? When you differentiate by readiness, students work on the skills for which they are developmentally prepared.
- By Interest: What passions can kids use as a lens to learn about other skills and information? You might differentiate by interest when teaching a topic like persuasive writing- a sports fan can talk about his/her favorite player while novel enthusiast can talk about his/her favorite genres to read.
- By Process: Differentiating by process involves taking learning styles, readiness, and interest into consideration.
- By Product: What is the best way for students to demonstrate mastery of a given skill? Not everyone has to do the same thing.
Skill differentiation is a recent practice in the teaching world. However, it aims to engage students and maximize their learning and progress. It also helps elevate kids’ self-esteem. When a kid is treated differently focusing on his or her strengths and weaknesses, allows the kid to feel more valued. Thus, increasing his success at whatever he or she is doing.
At Hangtime, our coaches/teachers understand the importance of skill differentiation and how it benefits our players. Like a classroom, differentiating kids in practice allows kids to feel comfortable and thrive in their own way. This is why Hangtime Basketball Academy uses Skill Differentiation.
Hangtime Basketball Academy administers skill differentiation based on age groups:
- young stars (Ages 4-9); keep it as simple, as fun, and as basic as possible. Keeping the idea that we are teaching the basics of basketball, but with a more engaging and entertaining session.
- Up & Comers (Ages 10-13); we dive into taking the basics a step further and engaging them in game like situations. For example, using more complex skills and movement.
- Future Pros (Ages 14-17); we enhance the complex skills, and we upgrade them into advanced workouts which involve: Strength & Conditioning, Read & React Drills, and Mental Toughness exercises.
Hangtime Basketball takes skill differentiation a step further by breaking down each age category into three sub-levels, beginners, intermediate & advanced.
- Beginners; focuses on the fundamentals of the game such as basic ball handling moves, shooting form and layups.
- Intermediate; Introduced offensive and defensive team principles as well as intermediate skill moves such as shooting separation moves.
- Advanced; Pushed to their limits physically and mentally. These players have a solid base in basketball and are the face of the academy. Therefore, they are introduced to advanced team tactics and are constantly playing in leagues and tournaments.
The idea of skill differentiation at Hangtime Basketball Academy is something that all coaches take pride in. They understand its benefits to the kid’s overall progress. With the help of the parents & coaches, we strive to make sure that our programs are detailed and suitable for our players, mentally and physically.