Today’s classrooms are becoming more diverse in that teachers now have students of all different abilities and learning patterns. Many classrooms contain students representing multiple cultures, and have students with a wide range of exceptionalities and accommodations. Therefore, as educators, it is our responsibility to find ways to help each individual student be successful in our classrooms. One way to do this is by differentiating our instruction.
According to Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson, an advocate of differentiated instruction and the creating of heterogeneous classrooms, differentiated instruction define ‘a teacher proactively plan 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’ (The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of all Learners, 2003, p. 151).
But where do we start? Here at the Center for Educational Improvement, we are determined to create materials that are useful to the teachers we are training. With that in mind, we created a Differentiating Instruction Checklist so teachers may better understand how their students are learning.