Differentiation’s slippery slope

Filling the pail


I have recently discovered that some people on Twitter don’t want to engage in my arguments but instead simply wish to repeat points over my head as they play to the gallery. One of these points is particularly interesting because it is a subtle manipulation of my views on differentiation; a bait and switch.

In my recent post on the evidence for differentiation, I noted that ‘differentiation’ is an amorphous term. I also suggested that I use certain forms of it in my own teaching. I criticised specific kinds of differentiation typified by Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the Differentiated Instruction techniques of Carol Ann Tomlinson, both of which have been promoted by academics in Australia. As Tomlinson explains, in her approach:

“Teachers can differentiate at least four classroom elements based on student readiness, interest, or learning profile: (1) content—what the student needs to learn or how the student will get access…

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