10 ways to differentiate learning

  1. Let go a little

Give your students (at least some) ownership of their learning. You don’t always have to make all the decisions. Allow choice and encourage students to think about how they learn best

2. Change your expectations

Not everyone fits the traditional mould of school, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn. You might need to change what you do and what you expect of different children

3. Change the sequence

Learners don’t need total mastery of all the skills before they can apply them. Provide meaningful, authentic learning opportunities for everyone.

4. Use technology creatively

Try to sue some of the technologies that childen are familiar with and expert in. These provide naturally differentiated opportunities for learners with varied levels of ability, different interests and special talents.

5. Care about what matters to them

Encourage learners to follow their interests. Make their learning relevant. Connect as far as possible with their interests and hobbies. Help them to extend their interest and discover what they might be.

6. Assess for learning

It’s not about a test at the end. Record student thinking and track development over time. Create meaningful assessment tasks that allow transfer of learning to other contexts. Think of every piece of work and every interaction, as telling us where a learner is at and where they need to go.

7. Embrace inquiry as a stance

Create a culture of thinking, questioning, wondering and exploring. Start your questions with ‘What do you think?’ so that all responses are acceptable. Find ways to provoke learners’ curiosity and a desire to find out for themselves.

8. Don’t be the only teacher

Students can learn from their peers, other teachers, parents, their on-line contacts, the world. Help them build their own personal learning network with and from whom they can learn.

9. Focus on learning, not work

Make sure you and your students know the reason for every learning experience. Don’t give ‘busy work’. Don’t start by planning activities, start with the ‘why‘ and then develop learning experiences which will support independent learning.

10. Encourage goal setting and reflection

Help students to define goals for their learning. Provide opportunities for ongoing self-evaluation and reflection. Provide constructive, specific feedback. Student blogs are great tools for reflecting on learning and responding to their peers.


(Adapted from http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/10-ways-to-differentiate-learning/)

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