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Handy Visual: Differentiation Is Vs Differentiation Is Not

July 21, 2014
Here is an interesting visual on the concept of differentiation in education which I came across on a tweet by Karen Friedman. This visual is created by ASCD and outlines some key differences between what differentiation is and what it is not. Have a look and share with us what you think of it.

Differentiation is :

  • An idea as old as effective teaching
  • Lessons designed around patterns of student need
  • Use of whole-group, small-group and individual tasks based on content and student needs
  • Necessary for success with standards for a board range of learners
  • Valuing and planning for diversity in heterogenous settings
  • Purposeful of flexible grouping
  • A student-focused way of thinking about teaching and learning
  • Teaching up
  • At the core of quality teaching
  • Designed to address learning and affective needs that all students have
Differentiation is not:
  • Tracking grouping students into class by ability
  • Incompatible with standards
  • Bluebirds, buzzards and wombats ( ability grouping within a classroom)\Dumbing down teaching for some students
  • Something extra on top of good teaching
  • A set of instructional strategies
  • Mostly for students identified as gifted
  • Mostly for students with identified learning challenges
  • IEPs for all
  • Individualized instruction
  • A synonym for group work




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