Differentiated Teaching and Learning

Found in: SCEA News | Published on: 01 September 2016

Better Education Conference Workshop Led by Kylie Bice (Growing Up Greatness)

Summary by Liana Luyt

To differentiate teaching in the classroom in order to accommodate all students has always been a topic much discussed among educators. It is widely known that differentiation needs to take place, but how to do it is not always very clear. In Kylie's workshop she emphasised the importance of this as it gives every student the opportunity to master learning and progress through material at their own pace. Tailor made tasks based on the students' instructional needs will challenge them at a level where they can grow towards high expectations.

Kylie mentioned that there are different ways to differentiate: you can differentiate the learning environment, the product (what is produced to demonstrate learning), the process (how learning is acquired) and the content (what is learned). She discussed the use of the Blooms and SOLO taxonomies to set tasks and frame questions for different abilities, but emphasised that pre-assessment before a unit of work is essential in determining the tiered tasks that are needed to differentiate within that unit.

Differentiation is not just something that happens naturally in a classroom. It is a highly structured process that needs to be planned at the pedagogical level of the school. This involves ongoing discussions between teachers and school leaders on the best ways to implement it.

Differentiation will always be an important part of any learning environment because it will improve learning outcomes for all our students.

This workshop was a very valuable learning experience. Kylie Bice discussed the importance of differentiation in the classroom and gave practical advice on how to implement it. I was inspired after listening to Kylie. She challenged my thinking on this subject and on how to improve it in the classroom.