1. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
Not all students are alike. Based on this knowledge, differentiated instruction applies an approach
to teaching and learning so that students have multiple options for taking in information and
making sense of ideas. The model of differentiated instruction requires teachers to be flexible in
their approach to teaching and adjusting the curriculum and presentation of information to
learners rather than expecting students to modify themselves for the curriculum. Classroom
teaching is a blend of whole-class, group and individual instruction. Differentiated Instruction is a
teaching theory based on the premise that instructional approaches should vary and be adapted in
relation to individual and diverse students in classrooms. To differentiate instruction is to
recognize students varying background knowledge, readiness, language, preferences in learning,
interests, and to react responsively. Differentiated instruction is a process to approach teaching
and learning for students of differing abilities in the same class. The intent of differentiating
instruction is to maximize each student’s growth and individual success by meeting each student
where he or she is, and assisting in the learning process.
Differentiating Instruction: Meeting Students Where They Are
No two students enter a classroom with identical abilities, experiences, and
needs. Learning style, language proficiency, background knowledge, readiness
to learn, and other factors can vary widely within a single class group.
Regardless of their individual differences, however, students are expected to master the same
concepts, principles, and skills. Helping all students succeed in their learning is an enormous
challenge that requires innovative thinking.
What is differentiated instruction?
Differentiated instruction is an instructional theory that allows teachers to face
this challenge by taking diverse student factors into account when planning
and delivering instruction. Based on this theory, teachers can structure
learning environments that address the variety of learning styles, interests,
and abilities found within a classroom.
On a simple level, differentiated instruction is teaching with student variance in mind. It means
starting where the kids are rather than adopting a standardized approach to teaching that seems
to presume that all learners of a given age or grade are essentially alike. Thus differentiated
instruction is “responsive” teaching rather than “one-size-fits-all” teaching.
A fuller definition of differentiated instruction is that a teacher proactively plans varied
approaches to what students need to learn, how they will learn it, and/or how they can express
what they have learned in order to increase the likelihood that each student will learn as much as
he or she can as efficiently as possible. (Tomlinson, 2003, p. 151)
Differentiating instruction means creating multiple paths so that students of different abilities,
interest or learning needs experience equally appropriate ways to absorb, use, develop and
present concepts as a part of the daily learning process. It allows students to take greater
2. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
responsibility and ownership for their own learning, and provides opportunities for peer teaching
and cooperative learning.
Differentiating is not new, the concept has been around for at least 2 decades for gifted and
talented students. However, it is now recognized to be an important tool for engaging students and
addressing the individual needs of all students. Differentiating instruction is also an essential tool
for integrating technology into classroom activities. The most difficult and least effective way to
integrate technology is to consistently take all students in to the computer lab to work on the same
activities at the same time, and this may well be true for many other subjects. This is not to say
that some activities are not appropriate for all students at some times. In the interest of
expediency, it is sometimes most appropriate to conduct some whole group instruction. What is
important is to recognize that this is just one of many strategies and it is most effective when used
at the appropriate time for common needs such as the introduction to a new learning unit.
There are generally several students in any classroom who are working below or above grade
level and these levels of readiness will vary between different subjects in school. It is important to
offer students learning tasks that are appropriate to their learning needs rather than just to the
grade and subject being taught. This means providing 3 or 4 different options for students in any
given class (not 35 different options). Readiness (ability), learning styles and interest vary between
students and even within an individual over time. In a differentiated classroom all students have
equally engaging learning tasks.
In preparation for differentiating, the teacher diagnoses the difference in readiness, interests and
learning style of all students in the class, using a variety of performance indicators.For the
teacher who is beginning to differentiate learning in the classroom, differentiation may begin by
varying the content, processes or product for each group in the class. As the teacher becomes
more proficient using these techniques, differentiation can occur at all 3 stages of the process for
some students. This is especially appropriate for the more able students. The essential curricula
concepts may be the same for all students but the complexity of the content, learning activities
and/or products will vary so that all students are challenged and no students are frustrated.
Students with specific needs/weaknesses should be presented with learning activities that offer
opportunities for developing needed skills as well as opportunities to display individual strengths.
More advanced students may work on activities with inherently higher level thinking requirements
and greater complexity.
3. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
The chart below shows general strategies that can be
applied in most classrooms.
Strategies for Differentiating Instruction
Based on •Utilize pre-tests to assess where individual students need to begin study
Content of a given topic or unit.
•Encourage thinking at various levels of Bloom's taxonomy.
•Use a variety of instructional delivery methods to address different
•Break assignments into smaller, more manageable parts that include
structured directions for each part.
•Choose broad instructional concepts and skills that lend themselves to
understanding at various levels of complexity.
Based on •Provide access to a variety of materials which target different learning
Process preferences and reading abilities.
•Develop activities that target auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners.
•Establish stations for inquiry-based, independent learning activities.
•Create activities that vary in level of complexity and degree of abstract
•Use flexible grouping to group and regroup students based on factors
including content, ability, and assessment results.
Based on •Use a variety of assessment strategies, including performance-based
Product and open-ended assessment.
•Balance teacher-assigned and student-selected projects.
•Offer students a choice of projects that reflect a variety of learning
styles and interests.
•Make assessment an ongoing, interactive process.
4. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
Readiness / Ability
Teachers can use a variety of assessments to determine a student's ability or readiness.
Also, to learn new concepts students may be generally working below or above grade
level or they may simply be missing necessary prerequisite skills. However, readiness
is constantly changing and as readiness changes it is important that students be
permitted to move between different groups (see flexible grouping). Activities for
each group are often differentiated by complexity. Students whose understanding is
below grade level will work at tasks inherently less complex than those attempted by
more advanced students. Those students whose reading level is below grade level will
benefit by reading with a buddy or listening to stories/instructions using a tape
recorder so that they receive information verbally. Varying the level of questioning
(and consequent thinking skills) and compacting the curriculum are useful strategies
for accommodating differences in ability or readiness.
During large group discussion activities, teachers direct the higher level questions to
the students who can handle them and adjust questions accordingly for student with
greater needs. All students are answering important questions that require them to
think but the questions are targeted towards the student’s ability or readiness level.
An easy tool for accomplishing this is to put posters on the classroom walls with key
words that identify the varying levels of thinking. For example, put 6 posters on the
walls (based on Bloom's taxonomy) one for Knowledge, Comprehension,
Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. These were useful cues for me when
conducting class discussions and useful for my students when they were required to
develop their own research questions. Different students may be referred to different
posters at certain times depending on ability, readiness or assignment requirements.
With written quizzes the teacher may assign specific questions for each group of
students. They all answer the same number of questions but the complexity required
varies from group to group. However, the option to go beyond minimal requirements
can be available for any or all students who demonstrate that they require an
additional challenge for their level.
5. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
Compacting the curriculum means assessing a students knowledge, skills and attitudes
and providing alternative activities for the student who has already mastered
curriculum content. This can be achieved by pre-testing basic concepts or using
performance assessment methods. Students who demonstrate that they do not require
instruction move on to tiered problem solving activities while others receive
Tiered activities are a series of related tasks of varying complexity. All of these
activities relate to essential understanding and key skills that students need to
acquire. Teachers assign the activities as alternative ways of reaching the same goals
taking into account individual student needs.
Accelerating or decelerating the pace that students move through curriculum is
another method of differentiating instruction. Students demonstrating a high level of
competence can work through the curriculum at a faster pace. Students experiencing
difficulties may need adjusted activities that allow for a slower pace in order to
As student performance will vary it is important to permit movement between
groups. Student’s readiness varies depending on personal talents and interests, so we
must remain open to the concept that a student may be below grade level in one
subject at the same time as being above grade level in another subject.
Flexible grouping allows students to be appropriately challenged and avoids labeling
a student's readiness as static. Students should not be be kept in a static group for any
particular subjects as their learning will probably accelerate from time to time.
Even highly talented students can benefit from flexible grouping. Often they benefit
from work with intellectual peers, while occasionally in another group they can
experience being a leader. In either case peer-teaching is a valuable strategy for
Occasionally a student may have personal needs that require one-on-one instruction
that go beyond the needs of his or her peers. After receiving this extra instruction the
student could be designated as the "resident expert" for that concept or skill and can
get valuable practice by being given the opportunity to re-teach the concept to peers.
In these circumstances both students benefit.
6. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
Another filter for assigning students to tasks is by learning style, such as adjusting
preferred environment (quiet, lower lighting, formal/casual seating etc.) or learning
modality: auditory (learns best by hearing information) visual (learns best through
seeing information in charts or pictures) or kinesthetic preferences (learns best by
using concrete examples, or may need to move around while learning) or through
personal interests. Since student motivation is also a unique element in learning,
understanding individual learning styles and interests will permit teachers to apply
appropriate strategies for developing intrinsic motivational techniques.
What is Multiple Intelligence? (Word doc.5)
What are the types of Multiple Intelligence?
What is Multiple Intelligence?
Conceived by Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences are seven different ways to
demonstrate intellectual ability.
What are the types of Multiple Intelligence?
ability to perceive the visual. These learners tend to think in pictures and need to
create vivid mental images to retain information. They enjoy looking at maps, charts,
pictures, videos, and movies.
7. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
Their skills include:
puzzle building, reading, writing, understanding charts and graphs, a good sense of
direction, sketching, painting, creating visual metaphors and analogies (perhaps
through the visual arts), manipulating images, constructing, fixing, designing practical
objects, interpreting visual images.
ability to use words and language. These learners have highly developed auditory
skills and are generally elegant speakers. They think in words rather than pictures.
Their skills include:
listening, speaking, writing, story telling, explaining, teaching, using humor,
understanding the syntax and meaning of words, remembering information,
convincing someone of their point of view, analyzing language usage.
ability to use reason, logic and numbers. These learners think conceptually in logical
and numerical patterns making connections between pieces of information. Always
curious about the world around them, these learner ask lots of questions and like to do
Their skills include:
problem solving, classifying and categorizing information, working with abstract
concepts to figure out the relationship of each to the other, handling long chains of
reason to make local progressions, doing controlled experiments, questioning and
wondering about natural events, performing complex mathematical calculations,
working with geometric shapes
ability to control body movements and handle objects skillfully. These learners
express themselves through movement. They have a good sense of balance and eye-
hand co-ordination. (e.g. ball play, balancing beams). Through interacting with the
space around them, they are able to remember and process information.
Their skills include:
8. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
dancing, physical co-ordination, sports, hands on experimentation, using body
language, crafts, acting, miming, using their hands to create or build, expressing
emotions through the body
ability to produce and appreciate music. These musically inclined learners think in
sounds, rhythms and patterns. They immediately respond to music either appreciating
or criticizing what they hear. Many of these learners are extremely sensitive to
environmental sounds (e.g. crickets, bells, dripping taps).
Their skills include:
singing, whistling, playing musical instruments, recognizing tonal patterns,
composing music, remembering melodies, understanding the structure and rhythm of
ability to relate and understand others. These learners try to see things from other
people's point of view in order to understand how they think and feel. They often have
an uncanny ability to sense feelings, intentions and motivations. They are great
organizers, although they sometimes resort to manipulation. Generally they try to
maintain peace in group settings and encourage co-operation.They use both verbal
(e.g. speaking) and non-verbal language (e.g. eye contact, body language) to open
communication channels with others.
Their skills include:
seeing things from other perspectives (dual-perspective), listening, using empathy,
understanding other people's moods and feelings, counseling, co-operating with
groups, noticing people's moods, motivations and intentions, communicating both
verbally and non-verbally, building trust, peaceful conflict resolution, establishing
positive relations with other people.
ability to self-reflect and be aware of one's inner state of being. These learners try to
understand their inner feelings, dreams, relationships with others, and strengths and
Their Skills include:
9. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
Recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, reflecting and analyzing
themselves, awareness of their inner feelings, desires and dreams, evaluating their
thinking patterns, reasoning with themselves, understanding their role in relationship
Multiple Intelligences Inventory
Copyright 1999 Walter McKenzie,
Note: This is not a test - it is a snapshot in time of an individual's perceived MI preferences.
Part I Complete each section by placing a “1” next to each statement you feel accurately describes you. If you do not identify
with a statement, leave the space provided blank. Then total the column in each section.
_____ I enjoy categorizing things by common traits
_____ Ecological issues are important to me
_____ Classification helps me make sense of new data
_____ I enjoy working in a garden
_____ I believe preserving our National Parks is important
_____ Putting things in hierarchies makes sense to me
_____ Animals are important in my life
_____ My home has a recycling system in place
_____ I enjoy studying biology, botany and/or zoology
_____ I pick up on subtle differences in meaning
_____ TOTAL for Section 1
_____ I easily pick up on patterns
_____ I focus in on noise and sounds
_____ Moving to a beat is easy for me
_____ I enjoy making music
_____ I respond to the cadence of poetry
_____ I remember things by putting them in a rhyme
_____ Concentration is difficult for me if there is background noise
10. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
_____ Listening to sounds in nature can be very relaxing
_____ Musicals are more engagingto me than dramatic plays
_____ Remembering song lyrics is easy for me
_____ TOTAL for Section 2
_____ I am known for being neat and orderly
_____ Step-by-step directions are a big help
_____ Problem solving comes easily to me
_____ I get easily frustrated with disorganized people
_____ I can complete calculations quickly in my head
_____ Logic puzzles are fun
_____ I can't begin an assignment until I have all my "ducks in a row"
_____ Structure is a good thing
_____ I enjoy troubleshooting something that isn't working properly
_____ Things have to make sense to me or I am dissatisfied
_____ TOTAL for Section 3
_____ It is important to see my role in the “big picture” of things
_____ I enjoy discussing questions about life
_____ Religion is important to me
_____ I enjoy viewing art work
_____ Relaxation and meditation exercises are rewarding to me
_____ I like traveling to visit inspiring places
_____ I enjoy reading philosophers
_____ Learning new things is easier when I see their real world application
_____ I wonder if there are other forms of intelligent life in the universe
_____ It is important for me to feel connected to people, ideas and beliefs
_____ TOTAL for Section 4
_____ I learn best interacting with others
_____ I enjoy informal chat and serious discussion
_____ The more the merrier
_____ I often serve as a leader among peers and colleagues
_____ I value relationships more than ideas or accomplishments
_____ Study groups are very productive for me
_____ I am a “team player”
_____ Friends are important to me
_____ I belong to more than three clubs or organizations
_____ I dislike working alone
_____ TOTAL for Section 5
_____ I learn by doing
_____ I enjoy making things with my hands
11. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
_____ Sports are a part of my life
_____ I use gestures and non-verbal cues when I communicate
_____ Demonstrating is better than explaining
_____ I love to dance
_____ I like working with tools
_____ Inactivity can make me more tired than being very busy
_____ Hands-on activities are fun
_____ I live an active lifestyle
_____ TOTAL for Section 6
_____ Foreign languages interest me
_____ I enjoy reading books, magazines and web sites
_____ I keep a journal
_____ Word puzzles like crosswords or jumbles are enjoyable
_____ Taking notes helps me remember and understand
_____ I faithfully contact friends through letters and/or e-mail
_____ It is easy for me to explain my ideas to others
_____ I write for pleasure
_____ Puns, anagrams and spoonerisms are fun
_____ I enjoy public speaking and participating in debates
_____ TOTAL for Section 7
_____ My attitude effects how I learn
_____ I like to be involved in causes that help others
_____ I am keenly aware of my moral beliefs
_____ I learn best when I have an emotional attachment to the subject
_____ Fairness is important to me
_____ Social justice issues interest me
_____ Working alone can be just as productive as working in a group
_____ I need to know why I should do something before I agree to do it
_____ When I believe in something I give more effort towards it
_____ I am willing to protest or sign a petition to right a wrong
_____ TOTAL for Section 8
_____ Rearranging a room and redecorating are fun for me
_____ I enjoy creating my own works of art
_____ I remember better using graphic organizers
_____ I enjoy all kinds of entertainment media
_____ Charts, graphs and tables help me interpret data
_____ A music video can make me more interested in a song
_____ I can recall things as mental pictures
_____ I am good at reading maps and blueprints
_____ Three dimensional puzzles are fun
_____ I can visualize ideas in my mind
_____ TOTAL for Section 9
12. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
Now carry forward your total from each section and multiply by 10 below:
13. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)
14. Differentiating Instruction by Inspector Mr. Mohamed Salah ABIDI Regional Summer School 2008/2009 (docs)