So That All May Learn: Differentiating Instruction in the Primary Social Studies Classroom, pp. 7 of 7


In summary, differentiated instruction is about considering learner interest, readiness and learning profiles in planning our curriculum and varying the content, process or product to meet their learning needs. This plan includes providing for varied student access to knowledge, understanding and skills and providing different ways to process as well as demonstrate their learning. What we need to remember is that differentiated instruction is not about catering to every individual difference in the classroom but it is varying content, process or product to cater to different groups of students. It may seem a daunting task as it requires a lot of time to pre-assess students to discover their needs and interests and much work in planning appropriate activities and selecting relevant and meaningful resources but with practice and perseverance, it will become easier over time. As mentioned earlier, differentiated instruction is a philosophy and not a set of tools or strategies. If we truly believe that every child can learn and every child is different with unique intelligences and learning preferences, then we cannot continue to deliver “One size fits all” lessons.


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Heacox, D. (2002). Differentiating instruction in the regular classroom. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing.

Sternberg, R. J & Zhang, L.F. (2005), Styles of thinking as a basis of differentiated instruction. Theory into Practice, 44(3), 245-253.

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Tomlinson, C.A. (2001). How to Differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms (2nd ed). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Tomlinson, C.A. & Eidson, C.C. (2003a). Differentiation in practice. A resource guide for differentiating curriculum. Grades K-5. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Tomlinson, C.A. & Eidson, C.C. (2003b). Differentiation in practice. A resource guide for differentiating curriculum. Grades 5-9. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

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[i] For more information on how culture gender and socioeconomic and family factors influence learning, see Heacox, D. (2002), pp. 8-10.

[ii] For a useful discussion of learning and thinking styles, refer to Gregory, G. & C. Chapman (2007), Chapter 3 Knowing the Learner.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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