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Planning for stumbling blocks

Learners easily recognise activities and exercises that they can and cannot do; what they need help with is attempting those they see as difficult.

In the video on the previous step Sara uses a tool called ‘PACE’ and Kate uses a quadrant to structure differentiation in their lessons. Both of these differentiation tools provide different points of access or journeys through the learning.

Through using differentiation processes like these regularly in the classroom, the teacher can both direct students to the best learning route for them and also help learners recognise where their ‘stumbling blocks’ are.

The idea is that students eventually come to recognise for themselves which activity to start on, or what support they need or whether they need two rather than one of the activities to be confident in their learning.


Think of a lesson that you are teaching in the next week or so and use either the PACE or quadrant differentiation tools to plan the lesson.

  • How will you introduce the differentiation tool and instruct students what to do?
  • How will you organise your students so that they do the activity most suited to where they currently are in their learning of that topic?
  • How might you draw together the different activities students will have done in a plenary session?

Put your ideas in the discussion for feedback in advance of the lesson and then let us know, again via the discussion on this page, how the lesson went (by later replying to yourself!).

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This article is from the free online course:

Differentiation for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre