Differentiation: What is it?

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Differentiation: What is it?

Today in education different abilities are being acknowledged on a regular basis. So a common description being used for the “perfect” classroom which accounts for the variety of instruction and activities is a differentiated classroom. This phrase is thrown around and many teachers may not understand how a differentiated classroom works. “In a differentiated classroom, the teacher assumes that learners have differing needs.

Therefore the teacher proactively plans a variety of ways to ‘get at’ and express learning” (Tomlinson, 2001, p. 3). Planning for a variety of teaching strategies does not mean giving more work to the smart children. Instead the teacher must assess who understands the material, who is struggling, who needs to be challenged and decide what or how to teach the students from there (Tomlinson, 2001). Differentiation should occur naturally and involve individual, class and group work to allow for the differences in all students and all subjects of study (Tomlinson, 2001). Probably the most important aspect of differentiation is the idea of challenging all learners at their level instead of giving extra work to those students whom learn the concepts quickly.

Differentiation in Classrooms

A struggle for many teachers could be the idea of implementing differentiation in their classrooms. Making twenty-four lesson plans for the twenty-four children in a class is not practical or appropriate. Children should all be learning the same basic ideas in differentiated lessons but how much as well as how a child learns is what will vary (Tomlinson, 2001). Tomlinson describes three major ways in which the content that children are learning can be differentiated: readiness, inte...

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...cle describes how teachers normal integrate differentiation into a classroom.

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This article describes Howard Gardner’s developed his ideas about multiple intelligences.

Theroux, P., (2004, June 20). Differentiated instruction. Retrieved April 20, 2005, from

This article is written by a teacher and describes ways in which differentiated instruction can be implemented.

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The website provided definitions for words from a thersaurus.

Special Needs Students. (2005). Retrieved April 27, 2005 from EBSCO/ERIC

The website provided definitions for words from a thesaurus.
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