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Inclusion, Mainstreaming and Differentiated Instruction: Differentiated Instruction

What is Differentiated Instruction?

A flexible approach to teaching in which the teacher plans and carries out varied approaches to content, process, and product in anticipation of and in response to student differences in readiness (ability), interests, and learning needs/styles with the goal of maximizing the possibilities of each learner. In a differentiated classroom all students have equally engaging learning tasks.

Differentiating instruction means creating multiple paths so that students of different abilities, interest or learning needs experience equally appropriate ways to absorb, use, develop and present concepts as a part of the daily learning process. It allows students to take greater responsibility and ownership for their own learning, and provides opportunities for peer teaching and cooperative learning.

In preparation for differentiating, the teacher diagnoses the difference in readiness, interests and learning style of all students in the class, using a variety of performance indicators.

Suggested Terms

Narrow/Specific Terms:

More Broad Terms:

Inclusive Education

Exceptional Children


(best not to use "" around words)

Students with disabilities

Individualized instruction

Special Education

Differentiated instruction Gifted children-- education   
Differentiated classrooms


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