Students Matter: 3 Steps for Effective Differentiated Instruction | Edutopia

By John McCarthy

Differentiated instruction (DI) is a vast system in which it is difficult for many teachers to find a foothold for supporting students in a meaningful way. Teachers want and expect everyone to succeed, yet the means to that end can be foggy at best. How can we ensure that planned learning experiences have a significant and positive impact on student learning? We can answer this question with three important guidelines that will transform student learning experiences through meaningful differentiation.

Evaluation, Buy-In, and Strategic Diversity

Know Your Students’ Strengths

Effective differentiation starts with knowing the students’ academic strengths, interests, and perspectives. Formative assessments, thinking styles inventories (1), and surveys help to construct lessons and scaffolds that strategically meet needs. Often we gather data about the content and skill areas where a student struggles. However, this data lacks a well-rounded view of the student.

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