Principles and Goals of Differentiation

"When teachers effectively differentiate instuction, there is a continuous flow in the processes of teaching, learning, and assessment. These components operate not as steps that we follow, but rather as a continuous cycle. each process informing the next."
(Diane Heacox, Making Differentiation a Habit, 2009)

Principles of Differentiated Instruction

(adapted from The Differentiated Classroom by Carol Ann Tomlinson)

Beginning with a quality curriculum, teachers plan for differentiated instruction by

attending to student differences
*Think learning profile, interests, and readiness
integrating assessment and instruction
*Think evidence of learning progress
modifying content, process, and products
*Think multiple pathways to attain and demonstrate mastery
providing respectful work for all students
*Think adequate challenge for each child
collaborating with students for learning
independence and meaningful choice
balancing group and individual norms
*Think flexible, purposeful grouping
focusing on the essentials
*Think what students will Know, Understand, and Be Able to Do (KUD)

Goals of Differentiated Instruction

  • understand, appreciate, and build upon student differences.
  • strive to engage all learners by attempting to match their needs with the content you teach.
  • utilize ongoing assessments to help you better match student needs with your instruction. Use them before, during, and following instruction.
  • differentiate content, process, and product in response to student readiness, interests, and learning profile.
  • incorporate critical and creative thinking opportunities into your instruction
  • ensure that all students engage in respectful tasks
  • provide a balance between teacher-assigned and student-selected tasks
  • group students flexibly according to readiness, interest, learning style, or personal choice.
  • offer supports, additional motivation, and time when needed
  • build your instruction around what is essential for learners to be able to recall, understand, and be able to do in your given content area

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