My Answers to the Ten Differentiation Questions

One of my colleagues asked some good questions about differentiation over on his blog, and I thought I would attempt to answer them. So, here goes…

The following are 10 questions about classroom differentiation.

  1. Do you differentiate by content, instructional method, assignment or some other way? The most common way I differentiate is by assignment or product. Giving the students choices by allowing them to present information in a way that is the most comfortable or engaging for them is the quickest and easiest way to get students actively involved in their education.
  2. For whose benefit do you differentiate?I differentiate for the benefit of the students as well as for myself. Differentiation allows students to learn at the level and in the way that is best for them while also allowing me to teach in an environment that is continually changing.  Differentiation often times also helps me by allowing students to “cover” more of the curriculum in a shorter amount of time because they take some of the instructional burden off of me.
  3. To what percentage do you differentiate you assignments? 100%, 50%, 10%?Hmmm… this number is totally arbitrary but in the past I would say I differentiated lessons about 40-50% of the time and it tended to be more on projects than on everyday assignments. Next year when I am back in the classroom,(yes, you heard me right… I am TEACHING half-time next year.  Woo hoo!) I plan on using the Adaptive Release feature in Blackboard to differentiate grammar and vocabulary assignments.
  4. What are the immediate student benefits of differentiation? Engagement, success, a voice in their own education, a peek into the educational process…
  5. What are the long term benefits for teachers? Decline in classroom management issues, students interested in their learning, inability to stagnate…
  6. Were you taught about differentiation before or after you became a teacher?After… I figured out after my first year teaching that I needed to allow students to have some choices and a voice about what they were learning, but I didn’t actually hear the term differentiation until about my fourth year teaching.
  7. Does differentiation take more of your time to implement than other instructional approaches?In the beginning yes, but like most things once you become accustom to creating differentiate lessons I think the time evens out… and the time is worth it.
  8. How do you keep from differentiating only to your own interests and styles? I am not sure I “get” the question… but I will venture an answer.  I think you give the students an opportunity to critique lessons and offer input into their design. You may have certain objectives to teach, but students can help you devise how they are taught/learned.
  9. Is there such a thing as too much differentiation? Sure.  Differentiation is great, but so is candy… too much can make you sick. 🙂 But seriously, there are some topics that may not require differentiation to engage the students.  There are some times when you might want to have an old-fashioned discussion or need everybody on the same page.  The trick is to mix it up and give the students input.
  10. Have you ever sat through a lecture on differentiation? Bonus: Did you find it ironic? Yes and yes… In fact, I have given a lecture on differentiation and thought… “Wow, what a bad example I am.”

After reflecting on differentiation and answering the above questions, I have decided to make this a meme of sorts… so, I am tagging… Otherside of the Desk, Left Lane Ends, Finalcurve, Miguel Guhlin, Wesley Fryer and Change Agency.  Hope to see your answers!

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Explore posts in the same categories: Differentiation, Education, Instructional Strategies, Meme

3 Comments on “My Answers to the Ten Differentiation Questions”


  1. Howdy! I refuse the tag! I ain’t smart enough to write a whole post on differentiation, esp when I don’t have students in my class. I mean, I could if I worked at it, but this is too close to REAL work.
    ;->

    With apologies to you in advance,
    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the Corner-MGuhlin.net
    http://mguhlin.net


  2. […] and requirements for my internship. So now it’s time to get busy… I’ve got a “differentiation” meme that I need to respond to and several other topics that have been cooking in the back of my […]


  3. […] Meme By Stephanie I was recently tagged by Angela Stevens (Musings from the Academy) to answer 10 questions about differentiation. Coincidentally, the day […]


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