It is really hard to let some students fall behind, but I don’t really see much of a solution right now that’s not going to slow other students down. Like I could make everyone follow along with an activity at a set pace and I think this would be helpful to some students, but then it means that I am not available for individual attention at all. The flip side being what I am doing now which is mostly giving individual attention to students who are working though the activity at a reasonable pace, but other students are really taking their time, not focusing as much as they could, and not learning as much as a result. It’s a tough call and I’d like to get some feedback from other teachers on specific lessons. I think I may use the “tuning” protocol described here.
In other classes (Algebra especially) I’ve been much more in favor of slowing everyone down in order to bring a few students up. However, there are a few differences that have changed my philosophy in this class. First, everyone is starting from pretty much the same place in a way that they don’t usually in math. Only a few students have any real CS background coming into the class, so while they are all different students obviously, they are starting from the same place coding-wise. Also, this class is an elective with mostly seniors in it. And so far I feel like the material is very hard to understand if you don’t have any desire to learn it, so I am trying to stop myself from forcing it on anyone. But like I said, it’s really hard.