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Differentiating the Curriculum

Case Study, Part B

Differentiation is an essential part of a good teachers classroom. It is a way of
thinking about learning and teaching, a philosophy of teaching (Tomlinson,
2000). Through this philosophy, an overall approach to teaching is applied
including; planning, teaching and managing a classroom, taking into account
different students individual needs (Jarvis, 2014). The individual needs may be
met through a variety of strategies such as: learning centres, use of graphic
organisers, scaffolded activities, tiered assessments, small group work,
independent projects and/or attendance to intelligence preferences (Tomlinson
& Moon, 2013). The strategies used will be dependent on the students need.
These needs can be identified through initial and ongoing assessment of students
work. From this information a teacher can identify where a students needs are
and he or she can proactively incorporate their needs into his or her future
lessons. Differentiation considers a students readiness to learn, their interests
and how they learn best (Tomlinson & Moon, 2013). Teachers are able to
differentiate by modifying: the learning goals - the content, the process of how
the students learn the content, the way in which the students communicate their
learning and the environment both physical and affective (Tomlinson & Moon,
2013). Differentiation is for all students (Tomlinson, Brimijoin & Narvaez, 2008)
not just pigeonholed, poor students or students with a learning disability.
Differentiated classrooms need to be flexible (Tomlinson, 2000).

Differentiation is in-line with the Australian Teaching Standards, in particular
Teaching Standard One - Know your students and how they learn, Standard Two
know the content and how to teach it, Standard Three Plan for and implement
effective teaching and learning, Standard Four - Create and maintain supportive
and safe learning environment and Teaching Standard Five - assess, provide
feedback and report on student learning (Australian Institute for Teaching and
School Leadership, 2014). Teachers are not only guided by the Australian
Teaching Standards. Teachers must abide by their legal obligations to deliver
high quality schooling, catering for students with diverse learning needs, free
from discrimination. These obligations come from international and Australian
federal treaties, conventions and acts such as UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child, 1989; UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ,2008;
Australian Federal Disability Discrimination Act ,1992; Australian Indigenous
Act, 2000; Melbourne Declaration, 2008 (Conway, 2014; Australian Human
Rights Commission, n.d.; Australian Government Attorney Generals Department,


Australian Human Rights Commission. (n.d.). Know your rights: Disability
discrimination. Retrieved from

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2014). Australian
Teaching Standards. Retrieved from
professional-standards-for- teachers/standards/list

Jarvis. J, M. (2014). Sipporting diverse gifted students. In M. Hyde, L., Carpenter.,
& R. Carpenter (Eds.). Diversity inclusion and engagement (2
South Melbourne, VIC,: Oxford University Press.

Tomlinson, C. (2000). Reconcilable differences? Standards-based teaching and
differentiation. Educational Leadership, 58(1), P6-11.

Tomlinson, C., Brimijoin, K., & Narvaez, L. (2008). The differentiated school:
Making revolutionary changes in teaching and learning. Alexandria,
Virginia: ASCD. Retrieved from eblib.

Tomlinson, C.A., & Imbeau, M. B. (2010). Leading and managing a differentiated
classroom. Alexandria, V.A.: ASCD. Retrieved from ebsco.