I came across this term for the first time, several years ago during an inspection; the suggestion to include differentiation in my lessons left me feeling overwhelmed with lots of questions and few answers: does it mean that I have to prepare several different tasks for each stage of the lesson? How do I monitor students’ progress if they are doing different things? What about my preparation time? So, what is it? The main aim of differentiation is to create an environment in which all learners reach their full potential: this means students increase their mastery of content and skills. This happens when teachers build trust, ensure learning tasks fit learners, strengthen students’ voice, and develop awareness.
Differentiation is more of a mind set than a technique but please don’t be put off!
Differentiation can be super simplified in 2 stages:
The changing role of the teacher:
To make differentiation a reality, schools need to organise effective professional development programmes and support their teachers during the transitional phase. Differentiation has a massive impact on students’ learning, their academic achievements, and personal development. Developing confident and self aware individuals makes a huge difference to our future.
About the author:
Lara Panzini is a qualified Primary School Teacher, holds a Diploma in Teaching Languages to Adults, and has been a Teacher Trainer for several years, including Teacher Training Courses for Cambridge University. She worked in several contexts, including in-company language training, study abroad programmes, professional development for language teachers, curriculum design and online teaching. Her main passion is to enable people to solve problems!
This article was based on the following readings:
An Analysis of Elementary School Teachers’ Knowledge and Use
of Differentiated Instruction. Alixa Rodriguez, Olivet Nazarene University.
Classroom strategies and tools for Differentiating Instruction in the ESL Classroom. Anne Dahlman, Patricia Hoffman, Susan Brauhn.
Differentiated Instruction Adjusting to the Needs of All Learners. Maryann Corley, American Institutes for Research.
Differentiation: Lessons. Jennifer Carolan and Abigail Guinn.
IMPROVING STUDENT MOTIVATION IN MIXED ABILITY CLASSROOMS USING DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION. Jamie Danzi, B.A., Kelly Reul, B.S., Rana Smith, B.A.
Perceptions about Implementation of Differentiated Instruction. Lora Robinson, Ed.D., Nancy Maldonado, Ph.D., Jerita Whaley, Ed.D., Walden University
The Goals of Differentiation – Differentiated instruction helps students not only master content, but also form their own identities as learners. Carol Ann Tomlinson
The Influence of Differentiated Instruction on Academic Achievement of Students in Mixed Ability Classrooms. Mazen Muhieddine Kotob, Malak Ali Abadi