Differentiation: to do or not to do?

//Differentiation: to do or not to do?

Of all the impossible tasks expected of poor, over-worked teachers, differentiation is the most troublesome. Why? Because on the one hand, if you did it properly every lesson you’d be reduced to a dribbling wreck in less than a week. T’other hand though is that it’s really really important. Therein lies our dilemma: we know we should be doing (a lot) more of it but we just don’t have the time or energy to do it properly. Francis Gilbert says on the subject, “The whole thing is a duplicitous gimmick…In reality schools just do not have the resources, time or space in the curriculum to implement it.”

So, what’s to do? Well, aside from feeling debilitatingly guilty, a first step is to be clear on why we should be doing it. The plight of our most vulnerable students must be akin to me being confronted by differential calculus all day, every day. For years. And years. My response would almost certainly not be a productive, growth mindset one! The impact on self esteem for students given incomprehensible work to do cannot be underestimated: it’s not going to make anyone feel especially good about themselves. And it’s not much better for our most able learners; bored out of their brains and picking their noses while they wait for their ‘slower’ colleagues to catch up and being given a “challenge” worksheet as a punishment for finishing too quickly. Not good either.

So what exactly is differentiation then?

It might sound self evident, but it seems reasonable to point out that it is a process of acknowledging that every child is different and treating them accordingly. In terms of classroom application, the first thing that even a cursory study of the subject reveals is that there are various different ways one can do about differentiating. They are:

1. By assessment
2. By outcome
3. By support
4. By task

Now, interestingly, not all forms of differentiation were created equal and there are some surprisingly easy pitfalls to avoid. Let’s run through them one by one.

1. Differentiating by assessment is arguably just formative assessment by another name. This is a good thing. Various researchers have confirmed that formative assessment and feedback is one of the most beneficial things any teacher can be doing and Hattie places it right at the top of his Table of Effect Sizes. It will mean that you are able to work out exactly what level your students need to be differentiated to and ensures that you can praise the effort of the kids in your care to help foster that all important growth mindset. Conclusion: do it.

2. This usually involves some combination of the “All must… Most should… Some could…” learning objective. Teachers can sometimes fool themselves into thinking that it’s especially worth doing if they attach grades or levels to these statements when in actually they are in danger of fixing their students’ beliefs about their ability (or perceived lack thereof) and ensuring that they’re too frightened to try anything that looks hard cos that’d mean they’d fail. Again. The truth of the matter is that differentiating in this way is lazy and ineffective. It basically announces that you’re prepared to accept the shoddy work that “all” the students are capable of. It is, as Phil Beadle says, “a definition of low expectations”. Conclusion: don’t do it unless you’ve really thought it though and are trying something like learning continuums.

3. Come on, be serious: there’s 30 kids in your class. How on earth are you going to able to support all the students that need it in any meaningful way? You’re not. Maybe you’re fortunate enough to have a classroom assistant in your lesson and maybe it seems tempting to be able to saddle them with the neediest, most vulnerable child in the room while you get on with your lesson, but is this fair on anyone? The hapless TA will struggle gamely but will probably feel utterly frustrated with the misuse of their time and the “special needs” child will be further isolated from the rest of class as their self esteem plummets due to the fact they’re perceived as needing someone to hold their pen and explain the big words. Even worse, they may very well develop what Dweck calls “learned helplessness” due to their dependance on a particular individual. This is not a rant against TAs – they’re hugely under appreciated and for the most part do a wonderful job in very difficult circumstances for practically no money. A much more effective way to use your TA is to team teach with them whilst ensuring some form of peer support. There’s tons of evidence to show that assuming the role of teacher helps students to deepen their understanding of a subject. Even better it provides a safe way for kids to take risks without the fear of being ridiculed for ‘getting it wrong’. Best of all, it doesn’t require much effort on a day to day basis. As long as you’ve worked out your seating plan to ensure that students are paired up for sound educational reasons, all will be well. Conclusion: yes to peer support, no to teacher support.

4. Differentiation by task is the one we all hate and feel so guilty about. Yes, your lessons will be better if you do it, yes your students will learn more effectively, but my goodness, you’ll suffer for it. In order to properly differentiate by task, one has to design several distinct lessons which students can access at different levels. This might involve producing a variety of different resources appropriate for the different levels of ability represented in your class. Please note that differentiating by task should not ever mean word searches or other “busy work”. These sorts of activities do not ever result in learning however useful they might be for behaviour management. I would argue that the only manageable way to approach this type of differentiation is to plan well thought out, properly differentiated questions (try SOLO taxonomy rather than Bloom’s) can be really effective in ensuring all are suitably challenged. Conclusion: effective, differentiated questioning should be part of your practice on a daily basis but the faff and hassle involved in creating endlessly varied worksheets should be reserved for observed lessons.

In no way do I claim that my thoughts are exhaustive – please feel free to remind me about what I’ve forgotten and point out where you think I’ve gone astray. I do, however, hope this in some way helps folks to navigate though the thickets and gorse of what’s come to be a particularly thorny subject.

Apologies for the over-extended metaphor.

If you found that at all interesting, you may enjoy my book.

Related posts:

What’s the point of homework?
The joy of marking
Building challenge: differentiation what’s quick and works

2013-07-20T16:27:24+00:00September 7th, 2011|assessment|

38 Comments

  1. brian September 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    I think it not a good idea to quote Gilbert and Beadle in an article that deals with the science of good teaching practice and to resort to quoting these two individuals is a missed opportunity.

    I do think this post (havent read any others ) shoud win a prize for the most educational buzz phrases that have the least support in the literature in the fewest words, and Gilbet and Beadle to boot.

    I will just comment on one sentence..

    “There’s tons of evidence to show that assuming the role of teacher helps students to deepen their understanding of a subject.”

    A student needs to understand a concept first before he/she can support peers who do not understand. It is clearly possible that by peer work a student may develop a deepere undestanding (assuming we defined “deeper” understanding in the same way.

    I think this post typifies much of what is wrong with education in the UK, but if it works for you so be it.

    The idea that assessment is a method of differentiating teaching is for me a fascinating one.

    • learningspy September 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm - Reply

      Well Brian – I feel a bit taken aback! Also somewhat confused as to where I’ve gone wrong. I apologise if I somehow mistakenly claimed some sort of background or knowledge of the ‘science of good teaching practice’ as you put it and would be very grateful if you would clarify a couple of points.

      Firstly, what’s your beef with Gilbert & Beadle? Your argument, if that’s what it is, is purely ad hominem and contains a complete absence of any kind of reasoning or evidence. Seems a bit unfair.

      Secondly, what ‘buzz words’? I’ll read back and check but I’m not sure what you’re attacking.

      Thirdly and most worryingly, you attack my claim that there’s evidence that shows that it can deepen understanding to teach someone else what you’ve learnt. Are you unaware of Hattie’s work on the effect sizes of different different educational interventions. He shows that ‘peer tutoring’ has an effect size of 5.0, ‘reciprocal teaching’ has an effect size of 0.54 and ‘cooperative learning’ has an effect size of 0.59. If you’ve not studied Visible Learning then the Teachers Toolbox website summarises his findings. Only a fool would suggest that a student does not need “to understand a concept first before he/she can support peers who do not understand”. If I somehow gave the impression that I was such a fool then please reread the post.

      Fourthly, what is wrong with education in the UK? You don’t say.

      And finally, the idea that assessment is a method of differentiating is fascinating and I’d be happy to explain it further, but I rather suspect that your tone is sarcastic. Do please feel free to differ.

  2. brian September 10, 2011 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    ps….yours and Phil Beadle’s low expectations might be Vgotsky’s zone of proximal development.

    Simply giving a kid a high target does not promote a growth mindset, nor does it necessarily hep a kid to extend their understanding in fact often it can do the opposite.

    • learningspy September 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Goodness me Brian, I’m unable to speak for Phil, but the accusation of low expectations directed at me is a bit harsh and unsupported by any kind of critical reasoning. Are you arguing against Vgotsky or using him to support you claim? It’s unclear.

      However I’m relieved to find myself in complete agreement with you when you say that “Simply giving a kid a high target does not promote a growth mindset, nor does it necessarily help a kid to extend their understanding in fact often it can do the opposite.” Quite so. Are you under the impression that I have claimed otherwise?

      I’d very much like to know what your own view on differentiation is. You don’t offer any alternative ideas. I like to think I have an open mind and would be genuinely interested in well argued dissenting views.

      Thanks, David

  3. cherrylkd September 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Ooh I don’t like entering arguments but I also don’t believe that assessment is a form of differentiation. I go the other way and differentiate by targets and task setting. Also do not believe in differentiation by outcome. The outcome is usually the target, either met or not. For me this doesn’t equal differentiation. Differentiation is about taking the individual needs of a child and differentiating the work to ensure they can produce the best work they can possibly achieve. But we’re all different. Interesting thoughts though.

    • learningspy September 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cheryl

      The reason I consider formative assessment to be the best form of differentiation is because it allows for the individual attention and opportunities for individual feedback that is impossible within the classroom on a daily basis. My marking is precisely tailored (or differentiated?) to each individual’s needs. How else can we focus so closely on a child’s learning? This to me seems to be the essence of what differentiation is all about.

      Obviously if it was just about success or failure against a target then there wouldn’t be much in the way of differentiation going on, but that’s something I try and deal with in my post If you grade it, it’s not formative assessment.

      Does this make sense?

  4. Julia September 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    I think we have all got a bit mixed up with differentiation for assessment verses differentiation for learning.
    We definitely need to make sure all levels within classes are able to access learning but that may not provide an easy way to assess. Can’t see the point of doing anything for the sake of ticking boxes so there does need to be conversation with staff over what they are trying to achieve and how / why they need to evidence it.
    It must not be led by Ofsted criteria and other external pressures. It has to be about the children.

    • learningspy September 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      Absolutely right Julia – my school’s motto is “Students first” and this comes across (I hope) in everything we do. What do you mean by ‘differentiation for learning’? In my mind AfL and using assessment as a means of evidencing differentiation in the classroom are one and the same. I take giving formative feedback seriously because I know it’s the right thing to do and researchers from Hattie to Dylan William all confirm that it is the single most important thing any teacher can do. The fact that it might also be used to tick an Ofsted box is just a bonus.

      Thanks, David

  5. Julia September 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    I suppose in simple terms I’m thinking of the making sure each learner has a chance at understanding. I think ‘assessment’ is often considered to be the end of the process & some folks focus on that too much, worrying about targets & grades. It’s about not giving all the children the same work & hoping that they will all get it.
    Perhaps the vocabulary gets in the way! 😉

    • learningspy September 11, 2011 at 7:50 am - Reply

      Julia, agreed: where assessment is summative or ‘the end of the process’ there is little space for students to learn. We can’t escape this form of assessment in the form of SATs and GCSEs but we shouldn’t perpetrate it ourselves. I see “giving the children the same work and hoping they will all get it” as tantamount to abusive. Instead I would see the process as:
      1. Giving students a task with clear success criteria
      2. Mark against those criteria using dialogic questioning to prompt a learning conversation which enable students to learn through their mistakes (very powerful).
      3. Give the opportunity to redo the task and demonstrate progress.
      4. Repeat as necessary
      I really should have made more effort to clarify my terms in the original post but I hadn’t realised suggesting that differentiation by assessment would be so controversial.

  6. @teachitso September 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    I have serious concerns about the person posing as ‘brian’.

    There is nothing of value in the post, and it is testament to David that it is there at all. I would have simply deleted it.

    I have bothered to summarise why ‘brian’ should be soundly ignored here:

    http://www.teachit.so/files/brian.pdf

    No-one should waste any mre time on a response.

  7. brian September 11, 2011 at 12:53 am - Reply

    to teachitso

    you did the same to “more” as I did to “Vygotsky”. I understand Vygotsky very well thank you. to suggest that i do not understand Vygotsky is not ad hominem at all, simply incorrect.

    I understand the processes of group learning, collaborative learning and developing constructs via interaction.

    you also misquote me again, i used the tem “concept” not “subject” but lets not confuse you with the facts.

    how do 4 kids who all have the same misunderstanding of a concept support each other to deepen their understanding of said concept…prey tell.

    “Serious concerns”….. lol

    How does the idea that 15 years research might have given us the notion that peer tutoring might be 0.55 help us with little Ryan who needs to learn pythagorus with little Annie who thinks she understands it but doesnt really.

    I wasn’t meaning to get at you Learningspy, just putting my reservations into words. I have no real wish to explain all of my comments, I was just letting people know what I think in a few words.

    I have no beef whatsoever with you second statement that “it can deepen understanding to teach someone else what you’ve learnt.”

    This however is different to you first statement that said…”that assuming the role of teacher helps students to deepen their understanding of a subject”.

    The second seems to hold that the process holds universally and that it will generally be true. I would assert that peer support will not always deepen understanding and will in fact do so under certain conditions only.

    I would argue that this strategy should be usedvery carefully and in certain cicumstances. This i feel is an example of taking an idea that seems to work at times and suggestng that it will work always, a sort of SMT logic.

    If I got the wrong impression and you were not suggesting that peer support is better than teacher support in all cases then I misnderstood, but that is what the words seem to imply.

    • learningspy September 11, 2011 at 8:03 am - Reply

      Brian – would you have preferred me to have said “assuming the role of teacher can help students to deepen their understanding of a subject’? This would introduce a tentative element to the assertion which would make it harder to arrive at the conclusion that students don’t need teachers. I’m not sure what SMT logic is (a buzzword?) but it sounds like something I should avoid.

      Also, I’m still unclear about your views on Vygotsky. My understanding is that he posited that it is better to assess what students can do without help rather than whether they have remembered what we’ve just told them. Everything I have read on him (and it isn’t much) seems to confirm mt belief that giving children more independence and giving them opportunities to assume the role of the teacher is a good thing. Isn’t Vygotsky where the idea of scaffolding came from? I take it then that you’re against him?

      It’s a shame that you’re not keen to explain all of your comments Brian – I really would like to have a clearer understanding of where i’ve gone wrong.

      Thanks, David

  8. brian September 11, 2011 at 10:08 am - Reply

    LS
    I really have appreciated reading your post here contributing and maybe stirring up a few hornets nests.

    The issue to which you refer is really where you say…”Conclustion: yes to peer support, no to teacher support.” You seem to evidence this assertion by saying that “There’s tons of evidence to show that assuming the role of teacher helps students to deepen their understanding of a subject”.

    I am suggesting more that there is a good deal of evidence from across the globe that that in the appropriate circumstances peer teaching can be an astoundingly good classroom strategy. Many academics including Marzano suggest and proposed in “How people learn:Brain, mind, experince and school, 2000” is the idea that research findings are often generalised across all learning situations by educators, manager and administrators the world over.

    To suggest that peer support is better than teacher support full stop, is I believe wrong. Peer support can be very effective but if it is used incorrectly it is not only ineffective but could be counter productive. It is the sort of thing that appears on the checklist of many SMT for lesson observations. Used wisely peer support can be great.

    As far as Vygotsky goes, i think he talked about many things, mainly language development and learning. The ZPD stuff however is for me about understanding the individual pupil and knowing that with suppor they may be able to lear more with the aid of an “expert” than they will alone given the same time etc. This clearly has implications for peer support/teacer support and perhaps iluminates the situations in which peer support might be appropriate. I did not talk about it in this context however but in the context of “It basically announces that you’re prepared to accept the shoddy work that “all” the students are capable of. It is, as Phil Beadle says, “a definition of low expectations””

    My understanding is that most schools and Ofsted require you to have learning objectives that cater for a range of pupils, a range of ZPDs and a range of performances. Done properly one should have different learning outcomes for every pupil in the class, but we all know that this is not feasible. I think that all, must, and some is a good compromise. Communicating these to pupils is, according to research a positive thing although you, me and Dweck know that this may be counter productive for some in the medium/long term. I dont ersonally think we can throw the thing away for this purpose however. I think I almost agree that one should use the all, most and some to individualise the thing by appropriate learning transactions in the classroom and I think this is your “continuum”.

    When Beadle uses the strategy he may feel that he is being lazy and announcing his low expectations bu one should not tar all user with the same brush. I expect that all of my pupils will do their best and acieve to their poential but as I cannot teach them one to one I have to compromise on the grounds of productivity. I also know that my kids will be learning when they have left their hour in the class with me so that is how i plan things. I am concerned that teachers are accused of laziness and having low expectations when actually teachers may have a very accurate understanding of a pupils ZPD and are educating them accordingly.

    I believe that while both messrs Beadle and Gilbert are edutainers and while both provide wonderful insights into motivation, inclusion and edutainent I wonder whether they are equippped to provide inights into the cognitive, neuroscientific and social aspects of the ways in which young people learn. We seem increasingly (until David Camerons speech this week) to be living in a world of edutainment and dumbing down. We seem increasingly to be guided as teachers by a layer of SMT that talk VAK, Multiple intelligences and brain gym whie setting high targets for pupils to provide them with a growth mindset.

    For me, teaching is all about individuals and nothing to do with every child matters. Teaching is about learning transactions and teachers who can be eclectic with their use of tools and strategies. Even though there is evidence that teaching to a kid’s modality (VAK) will quite likely reduce the amount they learn, I am happy to use it if I think the transaction require it.

    As for Hattie, I think it a shame that someone should expend so much tie and effort in a quest to find something that is so worthless. Knowing that a particular strategy is a 55 based upon meta analysis over 15 years does not help me one bit when I try to teach a particualr concept to Alice on a rainy monday in december at a comprehansive in hackney. She may only be a 22 for his one…oops.

    If I have misrepresented Hattie then please tell me, I am always willing to admit when my understading is far from perfect. And after all I did study Hattie with a group of peers in a socially constructive environment so we may all “think we understand” to quote Augustine of Hippo who was i think we all agree the first real edutainer.

    Live long and prosper LS, I feel honourd to have discussed these things with you and have aken away some fod for thought.

    • learningspy September 11, 2011 at 10:46 am - Reply

      Brian – i feel much happier with this as statement of your beliefs and agree that possibly we are a lot closer than may first have been apparent.

      I feel I need to clarify a few points in response:
      – when I say, ”Conclusion: yes to peer support, no to teacher support” this is the culmination of a point which was exploring the fact that simply writing ‘differentiation by support’ on one’s lesson plan and hoping for the best is a fool’s game. It is impossible to effectively support every individual with a class unless your teacher/student ratio is tiny. Far better to arrange matters so that subsequent to some expert teacher guidance, learners support each other in the learning process. There is ‘ton of evidence’ that this is effective as discussed at length below. Obviously anything done badly can have a negative impact and granted, without due thought to one’s seating plan this is likely to go awry. So, you say ‘used wisely peer support can be great’ and I’m happy with this caveat.

      – You then deal with Ofsted’s requirement for differentiated learning objectives and, I think, allow that my post on learning continuums based on Jackie’s Beere’s book How To teach the Perfect Ofsted Lesson demonstrates a way forward with this. I would like to add that what Ofsted want or expect to see is possibly irrelevant. If you’re amazing, they’ll forgive you anything!

      – I’m slightly concerned to hear someone talk about neuroscience & VAK in the same breath. My understanding is that so called ‘learning styles’ has been thoroughly debunked as having any value – click here for more info.

      – And lastly, Hattie’s work shouldn’t cause us to disbelieve the evidence of our own eyes and if we know what works best with Alice then that’s the strategy we ought to pursue. But to dismiss his work as a waste of “time and effort” to discover something “worthless” is, I think, plain wrong. Knowing the strategies which have been proved to be most effective in the generality of cases should be of enormous interest to all educators. Using anecdotal evidence about kids in comprehensives in hackney is unhelpful. Hattie’s effect sizes are an invaluable guide to the strategies we should be seeking to implement and doing our own action research on.

      Once again, thanks for the length and seriousness of your response – I think we’re all the richer for informed debate, David

  9. brian September 11, 2011 at 10:35 am - Reply

    teachitso

    I have often been to your website which I feel does a great job of dealing with some of the myths of “eucational theory”. I will try to overcome my dislike for your pomposity and hope that you can shed some light for me and the other listeners.

    I too am an admirer of Marzano, not so much Hattie, but you will be aware of Marzano’s article titled “Setting the record straight on high yield strategies”. My reading of this article is that Marzano feels that the work of himself and his colleages is miused. He feels that using “high yield” strategies which are general, for a purpose that is specific and complex i.e. teaching a kid in a particular situation is perhaps less than ideal.

    Who cannot agree.

    You seem to recommend this approach calling it evidence based practice and drawing comparisons with medicine an suggesting this is something to which all teachers should aspire.

    How do you see the issue of applying generalised findings over millions of kid in 50,00 studies being useful in the single learning transaction in the classroom, or do you not see education in this way. Do you see education as more a goup sort of a thing.

    I am truly interested in the issues raised above as I feel they are key to effective teaching.

    You come across as an academic but I could be wrong and if I am I apologise for the slur on your good name.

    How do you square yourviews of Marzano’s work with his own that his work is being misrepresented when people quote him as evidence for high yield strategies which he says is not the case?

    How do you square Hattie and his general findings being used with individual kids?

  10. Mark Evans September 11, 2011 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Marzano’s paper on ‘Setting the record straight’:

    http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/curriculum/cali/setting_the_record_straight_on_hield_yield_strategies.pdf

    An idiot’s guide to Marzano:
    http://www.ehow.com/how_7674230_introduce-marzanos-highyield-strategies.html

    A warning on Marzano’s research:
    http://edinsanity.com/2009/06/02/marzano_part1/

    Marzano vs Hattie?
    Hattie. Marzano’s work is well worthy of thoughtful analysis by teacher-practitioners, but note that it has been charged in the past with a degree of commercial bias and sometimes misrepresentation.

    Do I still think we should critically assess research into effective pedagogy rather than simply rely on anecdote, tradition and the tooth fairy?
    Yes.

    Do I think all teachers should be guided to experiment with evidence-based methods?
    Yes.

    Should non-commercial research into the effectiveness of educational practice be more widely funded?
    Yes.

    Do I believe in the tooth fairy?
    No.

    Pompous?
    Yes.

    • learningspy September 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      Just for the record, I don’t find you pompous Mark – I’ve really benefitted from your insightful no nonsense approach to the wonderful world of educational fairy tales.

  11. Sarah Dunn September 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    Wow! I was hoping that this would spark debate and it has certainly done that!!!

    From my perspective it is about time teaching and learning REALLY focused on ‘the child’ and individual needs and not on getting square pegs to fit into round holes. Creative teaching and learning CAN do this for all children and still fulfil the requriements of the curriculum (mostly). Have a look at good early years practice… And Thank You Learning Spy for being brave enough to spark the discussion!

    • learningspy September 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      You’re very welcome Sarah. Is early years very different to what happens else where? Can you post a few links?
      Thanks, David

  12. Sarah Dunn September 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    This is a paper from the IOE about early years practice for those who are interested. My philosophy is that it is good teaching period and applies to all ages….

    • learningspy September 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm - Reply

      Thank you Sarah. Will have a good look through

  13. Mr Anderson September 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    i am afraid i do not know much about any of these academics people are quoting here. What i struggle with is what was stated early on in the original article and that is the TIME any sort of good differentiation takes. we discussed this topic in our dept meeting today. one RS teacher says he is trialing emailing TAs every sunday evening with his lessons and pointers for the week
    another teacher (hist and geog) talked us through the completely different set of resources he creates for every lesson for a particular Y9 student. Both these colleagues are not only superb teachers but dedicated professionals too.
    WWhat concerns me is how we can differnetiate successfully when we are short of time and energy

    • learningspy September 12, 2011 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      Yes – this was exactly what my original post was supposed to address. The fact is, we can’t do it properly. This is exacerbated by the fact that it’s really worth doing. Hence my suggestion to spend one’s time focussing on really good formative assessment – the quality feedback & learning conversations this can generate should more than compensate for not producing 7 worksheets per lesson.

  14. […] else (e.g., a teacher) worse off.” Yes, I thought, that’s right. That’s why differentiation is so hard. There’s little point asking a teacher to enact change which will have a […]

  15. […] David’s post is here: Learning Spy […]

  16. The Learning Spy - End of Term October 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    […] that arranging desks in groups is better than rows Challenging Bloom’s Taxonomy     Differentiation: to do or not to do?   Knowledge or skills?   Easy vs Hard – the belief that good things will come to those who are […]

  17. The Learning Spy - End of term October 24, 2011 at 1:02 am - Reply

    […] Spy – End of Term on What’s the point of assessment?The Learning Spy – End of Term on Differentiation: to do or not to do?The Learning Spy – End of Term on More DIY learningThe Learning Spy – End of Term on Zooming in and […]

  18. […] work on the same subject, but be expected to produce work of differing quality. But this sort of differentiation can (and does) lead to the kind of low expectations that Bolton warns […]

  19. Andreas June 21, 2012 at 1:29 am - Reply

    I’m going to read smt about Hattie because I see you like him and I like you so ….

    I’ve tried differentiated by task in my math small group of 8 children 3 to 5 grade. It is very hard and there are more issues than I’ve read here: 1. children cannot help each other if they want to, 2. It is very hard to foresee the different rates of work 3. Children often claim others task is more interesting 4. Very hard to plan the use of your resources. 5 Need the teacher to fly like a bee between flowers (that’s OK).

    I believe we need to enter the robotic age and fully individualize learning. The word “study” should be explained by parents to their children 🙂 Only the best teachers should survive and have their outstanding courses published and independently rated. Assessments should be yearly and standardized. All the other teachers should be assigned to special need (+-) small groups.

  20. […] some while back it doesn’t keep me up at nights nearly as much as it used to. But this is still one of my most visited posts so clearly other folks continue to be troubled. I want to set […]

  21. […] he’s such a superstar, here’s another dose of David!  2 posts on differentiation: https://learningspy.co.uk/2011/09/07/differentiation-to-do-or-not-to-do/ … and […]

  22. […] David’s post is here: Learning Spy […]

  23. […] Differentiation: to do or not to do Building challenge: Differentiation that’s quick and works […]

  24. […] Some…” differentiation by outcome. This is discussed much more eloquently in blogs by @daviddidau and @tomsherrington, to both of whom I’m very grateful for […]

  25. […] work on the same subject, but be expected to produce work of differing quality. But this sort of differentiation can (and does) lead to the kind of low expectations that Bolton warns […]

  26. […] some while back it doesn’t keep me up at nights nearly as much as it used to. But this is still one of my most visited posts so clearly other folks continue to be troubled. I want to set […]

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