Differentiating Instruction

Differentiating Instruction:
The Journey
"In the end, all learners need your
energy, your heart and your mind.
They have that in common
because they are young humans.
How they need you however,
differs. Unless we understand and
respond to those differences, we
fail many learners."
Tomlinson, C.A. (2001). How to differentiate
instruction in mixed ability classrooms (2nd
Ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
The biggest mistake of past
centuries in teaching has been to
treat all children as if they were
variants of the same individual
and thus to feel justified in
teaching them all the same
subjects in the same way.
Howard Gardner
Differentiated Instruction Means
Recognizing Differences
• There are no two students who learn at the
same pace.
• There are no two students who solve problems
in exactly the same way.
• There are no two students who have the
same interests.
• There are no two students who have learned
the same skills.
“Differentiated instruction is a teaching
philosophy based on the premise that
teachers should adapt instruction to student
differences. Rather than marching students
through the curriculum lockstep, teachers
should modify their instruction to meet
students’ varying readiness levels, learning
preferences, and interests. Therefore, the
teacher proactively plans a variety of ways to
‘get at’ and express learning.”
Carol Ann Tomlinson
Why Differentiate Instruction?
When a teacher tries to teach something
to the entire class at the same time,
chances are, one-third of the students
already know it; one-third will get it and
the remaining third won’t. So two-thirds
of the children are wasting their time.
Lillian Katz
Differentiation is a Way of Thinking
About Teaching and Learning
Is a teacher’s response to learner’s needs
Guided by general principles of differentiation
Respectful tasks
Flexible grouping
Continual assessment
Teachers Can Differentiate Through:
According to Students’
Learning Profile
Belief Statements from Education for All
1. All students can succeed.
2. Universal design and differentiated
instruction are effective and
interconnected means of meeting the
learning or productivity needs of any
group of students.
3. Successful instructional practices are
founded on evidence-based research,
tempered by experience.
Belief Statements from Education for All
4. Classroom teachers are the key
educators for a student’s literacy and
numeracy development.
5. Each child has his or her own unique
patterns of learning.
6. Classroom teachers need the support of
the larger community to create a
learning environment that supports all
7. Fairness is not sameness.
Universal Design for
• shapes teaching to provide all students
with access to the curriculum
(Turnbull et al., 2002)
• assumes every student is unique, and will
therefore benefit from a flexible curriculum
that provides appropriate pathways for
instruction, as well as fair and accurate
Universal Design for Learning…
• encourages teachers to develop a class
profile and then plan, from the beginning,
to meet the needs of all students and not
only those with special needs
• helps eliminate ‘after the fact’
• depends on flexibility and inclusion to
provide real learning experiences for all
students, regardless of their performance
Knowing the learners and consciously
and strategically planning to address
their styles, intelligences, and learning
preferences will increase the chances
of engaging them and offering a variety
of ways to learn.”
(Gregory and Chapman, 2002, p.35)
Remember…… to think
the lens you look
through when using any
materials, programs or
instructional strategies.
How will you use what
you learn about today to
differentiate for YOUR
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