The Key to Differentiated Learning

Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with, discussing and dissecting the ideas and process behind Differentiated Learning with many of my colleagues at our schools professional development day. As colleagues, experts and learners we talked about many of the themes and issues that surround differentiated learning.

The four major areas and concepts that we looked at were:

Planning for Differentiation

Academic Differentiation

Differentiating for Social Readiness

Assistive Technology

Without going into specific details and describing the outcomes of our conversations. I will tell you that there was one resounding theme and concept. This concept, it is not new and most successful educators and administrators already practice it. The best part is that it doesn’t take extra planning, special programming, expensive technology, changes in curriculum or extensive meetings or reports. So what is this amazing idea and concept:


There are warehouses, servers and shelves upon shelves of information and research I could share with you or direct you to, but I will have to agree and completely stand behind this  idea. Knowing your students is the most effective way to provide the best learning environment and learning experience for the students that we teach.

What do you do to really get to know your students?


One thought on “The Key to Differentiated Learning

  1. My good friend, Kathy, calls this being a ‘keen observer of student learning’. It is very simple – and the only way to really understand how best to reach each student. What I love is when the new tools that the research highlights for us are applied in the classroom – and they make a big difference. That’s the exciting part. I will never forget working with a little boy with ASD – and watching his reaction to a visual – the light just went on for him, and he understood what I was trying to communicate to him. I wouldn’t have believed that tool could be so powerful – if someone hadn’t helped me to see it in action. And at the bottom of all that, too – keen observer of student learning. The tool becomes prescriptive and infinitely more valuable. . . if applied at the right time, in the right situation. . .

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