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"Differentiated Instruction in

the EFL classroom.

Nelly Zafeiriadou, ELT School Advisor, Thrace

From Bloom's Taxonomy to
Goleman's Emotional

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What is it?

Differentiated learning
Differentiated instruction
Differentiated pedagogy
An educational philosophy and a
proactive approach to instruction."
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differentiated instruction
differentiated learning
involves providing
students with different
avenues to acquiring
content; to processing,
constructing, or making
sense of ideas; and to
developing teaching
materials so that all
students within a
classroom can learn
effectively, regardless of
differences in ability
(Tomlinson, 2001)
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Drawing on bibliography….
Differentiated instruction, according to Carol Ann
Tomlinson (2001), is the process of
“ensuring that what a student learns, how he/she learns
it, and how the student demonstrates what he/she has
learned is a match for that student‟s readiness level,
interests, and preferred mode of learning”.

Differentiation stems from learning differences
theories, how learners learn, learning preferences and
individual interests (Anderson, 2007). "Research
indicates that many of the emotional or social difficulties
gifted students experience disappear when their
educational climates are adapted to their level and pace
of learning.“

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An educational philosophy that advocates

"the right of each pupil to be taught in a
way specifically tailored to their individual
learning needs.“ (Tomlinson,2001)
And an instruction in which
students are placed at the center of
teaching and learning
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The model of differentiated instruction
requires teachers…
to tailor their instruction and adjust the curriculum to
students‟ needs rather than expecting students to modify
themselves to fit the curriculum.

Teachers who are committed to this approach believe
that who they teach shapes how they teach because
who the students are shapes how they learn.

Differentiated instruction requires the teacher to have
"sufficient appropriate knowledge of the pupils, PLUS the
ability to plan and deliver suitable lessons effectively, so
as to help all pupils individually to maximise their
learning, whatever their individual situation".
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Differentiation is not….
teaching at a slow pace so that everyone
can keep up, allowing pupils and groups
work through tasks at their own pace,
or, expecting some students to do better
than others and calling it 'differentiation by
it is not also 'Humiliating the slow learners
by drawing attention to their limitations‟
(Bigio, 2010)
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Differentiated instruction integrates…
constructivist learning theories, learning
styles, and brain development with
research on influencing factors of learner
readiness, interest and intelligence
preferences toward students‟ motivation,
engagement, and academic growth within
schools (Anderson, 2007).
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The theoretical and philosophical
embedded in differentiated instruction support
the three key elements of differentiated
instruction itself: readiness, interest, and
learning profile (Allan & Tomlinson, 2000).
Lev Vygotsky, proved that individuals learn best
in accordance with their readiness to do so
( ZPD)
The readiness of the individual should match
what a student learns, how they learn it and how
the student demonstrates what they learned
when using differentiated instruction.

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The theoretical and philosophical
intrinsic motivation, supports the second
key element of differentiated instruction,
student interest.
when interest is tapped, learning is more
likely to be rewarding and the student
becomes a more autonomous learner.
(Jerome Bruner, 1960),
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3/different student learning profiles

Gardner‟s theory of multiple intelligences, states
that people have different intelligences and learn
in many different ways. Gardner‟s theory
suggests that schools should offer individual-
centered education, having curriculum tailored to
a child‟s intelligence preference (Allan &
Tomlinson, 2000). Gardner supports the third
key element of differentiated instruction, which
accounts for different student learning profiles.
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HOW? - Pre-assessment
For some teachers, the first and most important step in
differentiated instruction is determining what students
already know so as not to cover material students have
mastered, or use methods that would be ineffective for
students. A pre-assessment can be a quiz, game,
discussion, or other activity that asks students to answer
some of the questions that would be used to evaluate
their performance at the end of an upcoming unit or
It may also be in the form of a learning inventory, such
as a Multiple Intelligences inventory (still regarded with
skepticism…) so the teacher will be able to determine
how students within the class prefer to learn.
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The content of lessons may be differentiated based on
what students already know. The most basic content of a
lesson should cover the standards of learning set by the
FL curriculum( ΑΠΣ/ΔΕΠΠΣ)

The teacher may differentiate the content by designing
activities for groups of students that cover different areas
of Bloom's Taxonomy.
When a teacher differentiates content they may
adapt what they want the students to learn or
how the students will gain access to the
knowledge, understanding and skills (Anderson,
2007). Educators are not varying student
objectives or lowering performance standards
for students.
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Bloom‟s taxonomy
There is more than one type
of learning
Benjamin Bloom& colleagues
(1956), identified three
domains of educational
Cognitive: mental skills
Affective: growth in feelings or
emotional areas (Krathwohl,
Bloom, Masia, 1973) -Attitude)
Psychomotor: manual or
physical skills (Simpson, 1972)
use of the motor-skill areas
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Bloom‟s taxonomy
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In teaching practice….
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The process of how the material in a lesson is learned
may be differentiated for students based on their
learning styles, taking into account what standards of
performance are required for the age level
Information may be presented in multiple ways
by the teacher, and may be based on any
available methods or materials. Many teachers
use areas of Multiple Intelligences to provide
learning opportunities.
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grouping practices
Commonalities in the assessment results lead to
grouping practices that are designed to meet the
students‟ needs. "How" a teacher plans to
deliver the instruction is based on assessment
results that show the needs, learning styles,
interests, and levels of prior knowledge.
The grouping practices must be flexible, as
groups will change with regard to the need that
will be addressed.
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An example of differentiating by process
, a teacher might break students into small
“ability” groups based on their readiness
another way to group the students could
be based on the students‟ learning styles.
another model of differentiation, Layered
Curriculum, simply offers student a choice
of assignments
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The product is essentially what the student
produces at the end of the lesson to
demonstrate the mastery of the content: tests,
evaluations, projects, reports, or other activities.

The product is an integral component of the
differentiated model, as the preparation of the
assessments will primarily determine both the
„what‟ and „how‟ instruction will be delivered
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When an educator differentiates by product….
or performance, they are affording students various ways
of demonstrating what they have learned from the lesson
or unit (Anderson, 2007; Nunley, 2006).ie. by using,
choice boards or open-ended lists of final product
options( group projects)
It is meant to allow students to show what they learned
based on their learning preferences, interests and
strengths (ie .writing an essay ), or in a method / project
the student prefers (composing an original song about
the content, or building a 3-dimensional object that
explains mastery of concepts in the lesson ).

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to sum up…

In differentiated instruction, teachers
respond to students‟ readiness,
instructional needs, interests and learning
preferences and provide opportunities for
students to work in varied instructional
A classroom that utilizes differentiated
instruction is a learner-responsive,
teacher-facilitated classroom.
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„no left behind‟ instruction
In a differentiated classroom lessons may
be on inquiry based, problem based and
project based instruction.

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Goleman's Emotional intelligence (El)
Goleman includes a set of emotional
competencies within each construct of EI.
Emotional competencies are not innate talents,
but rather learned capabilities that must be
worked on and can be developed to achieve
outstanding performance.
Goleman posits that individuals are born with a
general emotional intelligence that determines
their potential for learning emotional
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Goleman's Emotional Intelligence model
outlines four main constructs:

The model introduced by Daniel Goleman focuses on EI
as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive
leadership performance.
Self-awareness – the ability to read one's emotions and
recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide
Self-management – involves controlling one's emotions
and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
Social awareness – the ability to sense, understand, and
react to others' emotions while comprehending social
Relationship management – the ability to inspire,
influence, and develop others while managing conflict.
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Criticisms …
Goleman's model of EI has been criticized
in the research literature as mere
"pop psychology" (Mayer, Roberts, &
Barsade, 2008).

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Further reading

Allan, S. D., & Tomlinson, C. A. (2000). Leadership for
differentiating schools and classrooms. Alexandria, VA:
Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Anderson, K. M. (2007). Tips for teaching: Differentiating
instruction to include all students. Preventing School
Failure, 51(3), 49-54.
Ellis, E., Gable, R. A., Gregg, M., Rock, M. L. (2008).
REACH: A framework for differentiating classroom
instruction. Preventing School Failure, 52(2), 31-47
Levy, H. M. (2008). Meeting the needs of all students
through differentiated instruction: Helping every child
reach and exceed standards. The Clearing House, 81(4),
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Further reading

Rebora, A. (2008). Making a difference. Teacher
Magazine, 2(1), 26, 28-31.
Nunley, K. (2004). Layered Curriculum. 2nd ed. Amherst, NH
Nunley, K. (2006). Differentiating the High
School Classroom: Solution Strategies for 18
Common Obstacles. Corwin Press: Thousand
Oaks, CA.
Williams, M. and Burden, R. (1997). Psychology
for Language Teachers. Cambridge: CUP