Call it what you want. Differentiation is simply about matching tasks/learning to learners needs. It is about making lessons accessible? Along with making all students able to understand the task and learn the topic.
The fact of the matter is, whatever you call it, ‘it’ always comes down to being a good teacher. Being somebody who ensures all students in their lessons can achieve by being stretched and challenged. By being pushed by their learning being made difficult (but achievable) they can then make mistakes. Feedback from you will help them learn from those mistakes during dedicated independent reflection time. (D.I.R.T).
You will only ever be able to do all of this if you KNOW your students and KNOW your class. Their strengths and their areas for development. It takes time, but it can be achieved.
Here are some suggestions:
Adapt lessons/tasks/learning/homework by: (In no particular order!)
Level/Grade– Match the specific task to the criteria in the level/grade
Response– re-model/adapt to answers given orally and written down
Grouping– pairing/grouping- with scaffolding on how/ seating plans
Activity/Task type– Different tasks/tools
Sequencing– providing a checklist/structure
Teacher Led/Student Led– giving opportunities for students to lead
Feedback/Marking– providing D.I.R.T and using the data effectively, looking at work and thinking about gaps in knowledge.
Questioning– Open/Closed questions- H.O.T skills
Scaffolding– Providing sentence starters- always provide choices
Choice/Readiness– Students picking which tasks match their needs
Method– Adapting the way students reach end goal- Thinking/Route
Process– Ensuring the task matches the best skill set of the learner
Outcome– By responding to answers/written work- marking/feedback
Seating plan– Thinking carefully where all your students are seated/why?
Peer/group support– Help desks? Progress Stars? Plenary Prefects?
Oral scaffolding– Giving students stepped instructions/leaving info out?
Use of TA– How do you direct learning/providing extension tasks?
Technology– Any websites/programs/APPS?
Physical resources- viewfinder/Writing slope
Watch this informative video clip on
This Padlet wall below contains tips from teachers about how they differentiate…
Top tips- (adapted) from @ChrisMoyse
Here are some very insightful posts via Tweachers- well worth a read!