Differentiated instruction is an approach to teaching that advocates active planning for student differences in classrooms but DI is not a set of instruction strategies, all children doing the same thing all the time, all children doing different things all the time, or students in the classroom doing the same activities at their own pace. There are multiple gears that function together to make differentiation work: environment of your classroom, instruction or how you teach, curriculum, and assessment of your students' work and their ability to assess their own work.
The underlying premise of differentiation is to ensure that all students are working at the appropriative level of challenge. Teachers can differentiate at least four different classroom elements based on student readiness, interest, or learning profile.
Overall, differentiation is responsive teaching rather than one-size-fits-all teaching. It’s so important that you’re responsive to your ever-changing and diverse student population.
When a teacher creates an environment that’s responsive and respectful to students, greater learning outcomes occur. When students are given a choice, know routines, and are in control of their learning, the spark of learning grows and creativity is fostered!
For more on differentiated instruction and how to identify which students need something differentiated, check out the course Differentiated Instruction in the Instruction and Learning course category or request a demo below! We offer a variety of courses designed for educators who support students from early childhood through transition services.