When we effectively differentiate instruction, it is tailored to meet the diverse needs of our students. Students arrive in school with varying background knowledge, language skills, interests, and readiness to learn. In order to meet their individual needs, teachers adjust lesson content, the product or process, or the learning environment. According to Carol Ann Tomlinson, differentiated instruction is the process of “ensuring that what a student learns, how he/she learns it, and how the student demonstrates what he/she has learned is a match for that student’s readiness level, interests, and preferred mode of learning”. Essentially, students are provided different avenues to reach the same learning goal.
Resources for Differentiating Instruction
Tomlinson, Carol A. How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability Classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001.
Rutherford, Paula. Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners. Alexandria, VA: Just Ask Publications & Professional Development, 2010.