What is Differentiated Instruction?
Differentiated instruction "is the practice of modifying and adapting instruction, materials, content, student projects and products, and assessment to meet the learning needs of individual students" (Tucker, C., 2011).
It is a teaching philosophy based on the premise that teachers should adapt instruction to student differences. Rather than marching students through the curriculum in lockstep, teachers should modify their instruction to meet students' varying readiness levels, learning preferences, and interests (Willis, S. and Mann, L., 2000).
Experts say that differentiated instruction is not a new concept. Back in the days of the one-room schoolhouse, when students ages 6–16 learned together, differentiated instruction "was how they did school," notes Carol Ann Tomlinson, an associate professor at the University of Virginia and author of the 1999 ASCD book The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners (Willis, S. and Mann, L., 2000).
...What it isn't
• Assigning more work at the same level to high-achieving students.
• Requiring students to teach material they have mastered to others who have not mastered it.
• Giving all students the same work most of the time.
• Grouping students into cooperative learning groups that do not provide for individual accountability or do not focus on work that is new to all students.
• Focusing on student weaknesses and ignoring student strengths.
• Using only the differences in student responses to the same class assignment to provide differentiation
Copyright of Dr. Susan Allan