Differentiating teaching and learning requires knowledge of each student’s background and experiences, interests, readiness and learning needs. Teachers use this knowledge to plan and implement curriculum, teaching strategies, learning experiences and assessments that provide multiple pathways for learning for every student. This ensures all students have equitable access to curriculum and are able to demonstrate success.
Knowing your students is the key to differentiating teaching and learning – what they know and can do, what they need to learn next and how best to teach them and monitor their progress.
The Australian Curriculum is shaped by the proposition that each student can learn and that every student’s needs are important. The flexibility offered by the Australian Curriculum enables teachers to plan rigorous, relevant and engaging learning and assessment experiences for all students. Teachers differentiate at all stages of the teaching, learning and assessment cycle to ensure that all students are able to access and engage in learning the identified Australian Curriculum content.
The aspects of differentiation represented in these vignettes include:
- ensuring the curriculum informs teaching, learning and assessment
- using qualitative and quantitative data to inform teaching and learning
- having clear, shared learning intentions (and success criteria)
- using flexible grouping in order to respond to curriculum intent and learning needs
- varying the speed and delivery of instruction in response to immediate and reflective feedback
- providing targeted learning experiences
- selecting and modifying resources according to students’ needs and learning goals
- personalising learning goals according to student needs/readiness
- ensuring all students are engaged in cognitively demanding tasks
- valuing feedback.