Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated Instruction

Not all students are alike. Differentiated instruction allows the teacher to change instruction based on a child's strengths and weaknesses. Classroom teaching is a mix of whole-class, group and individual instruction.

Why is differentiated instruction important?

Differentiated instruction is based on these beliefs:

  • A one-size fits all curriculum will not meet the needs of all students.
  • Students differ in their experiences, background, ability and learning styles.

The model of differentiated instruction requires teachers to be flexible in their approach to teaching. Teachers adjust the curriculum and presentation of information to the learners within their classroom, instead of expecting them to adjust the information presented. Classroom teaching is a mix of whole-class, group and individual instruction. The intent of differentiating instruction is to maximize each student's growth and individual success by meeting each student where he or she is, and assisting in the learning process.

How do I implement differentiated instruction?

Initial and on-going assessment of student readiness and growth are essential.

Meaningful pre-assessment naturally leads to the identification of what skills need to be addressed. Assessments may be formal or informal, including interviews, observations and standardized assessments. Using pre and on-going assessments informs teachers to better provide a variety of approaches to presenting material to students. This ongoing assessment allows the teacher to determine what and how skills should be taught in the classroom.

Depending on the lesson and how it is delivered, how you manage your classroom may change. Student expectations must be clear and concise during these learning opportunities.

Learn More!

Video: Tier 1 Differentiation

Dr. Carol McDonald Connor explains how teachers can group students according to learning needs during regular instruction, what school administrators can do to support teachers' use of differentiated instruction in the classroom setting, and small group management.

Reading 101 is a collaboration with the Center for Effective Reading Instruction and The International Dyslexia Association.

"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio