Please-climb-that-tree1Despite the efforts of the Individual Needs Department at my school, I still usually see Differentiation as a difficult to incorporate add-on.

I’ve been looking into the work of Carol Tomlinson and she has the following refreshing perspective on Differentiation;

Differentiation is not a set of  strategies, it’s a way of thinking about  teaching and learning Strategies are tools to accomplish the goals of differentiation. They are no more differentiation than a hammer and a saw are the house they help to build. a

Here is a good summary of approaches to teaching and learning which will enable all learners to succeed:

  • Some of the time, teach analytically, helping students learn to analyse, evaluate, compare and contrast, critique and judge
  • Some of the time, teach practically, helping students learn to apply, use, utilise, contextualise, implement, and put into practice.
  • Some of the time, teach creatively, helping student learn to create, invent, imagine, discover, explore and suppose.
  • Much of the time, enable all students to capitalize on their strengths.
  • Most of the time, enable all students to correct or compensate for their weaknesses.
  • Make sure your assessments match your teaching, calling upon analytical, creative and practical as well as memory skills.
  • Value the diverse patterns of abilities in all students.b

Finally, a great visual representation of her model here:

dimodel (1) differentiated-instruction-in-the-math-classroom-25-728


  1. http://www.caroltomlinson.com/2010SpringASCD/Rex_SAstrategies.pdf  (back)
  2. http://www.caroltomlinson.com/2010SpringASCD/Rex_SAstrategies.pdf  (back)