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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsDifferentiating for learning takes time and effort to set up. Teachers need to use good diagnostic tools to recognize what students needs are and then to plan on the best way to help students move forward with their learning. It's more than simply teaching the middle of the ability range in your class and then providing other extension questions or helpsheets for those students at the extremes. It's more than providing two or three worksheets, where the work is actually the same, but some students get clues or select answers, while others write answers in sentences. Differentiation is about responding to students' needs and then monitoring their progress as their learning moves forward.

An educator's view

Chris shares her views on what differentiation is and isn’t and how it links to learning and being responsive to students’ needs.

Carol Ann Tomlinson has created some infographics on What Is (and Is Not) Differentiated Instruction?:

Differentiation Is

Differentiation Is NOT

  • Use the ideas in this step and your teaching experience so far to write a working definition of differentiation.
  • Then share this definition via the comments on this step.
  • Review some of the definitions of other learners on the course and comment on any that particularly catch your eye. You may find that this will lead you to change your own definition.

The original PDF file is available via the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) web site. We are grateful to ACSD for permission to reproduce and use these infographics from The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, 2nd Edition, by Carol Ann Tomlinson. Optionally this book may be purchased via the ASCD Online Store - it is not required course material.

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This video is from the free online course:

Differentiating for Learning in STEM Teaching

National STEM Learning Centre