You are on page 1of 1

Differentiation & Inclusion Defined

In this new world of education, the importance of differentiation and inclusion is highly supported. Whilst these two
concepts are interlinked they can be defined individually. C. SHARRAD (2151527)
When discussing differentiation, the name Carol Ann Tomlinson is often associated. She is a prominent figure that
promotes differentiation in classrooms. Essentially differentiation is defined as tailoring instruction to meet the needs
of individual students (Tomlinson, 1999). Therefore: content, process, products, learning environment, use of ongoing School X’s philosophy and vision statement What worked well?
assessment and flexible grouping are all ways in which a teacher can differentiate in the classroom (Tomlinson, 2014a).
Although these may seem like strategies, differentiation is a way of thinking about teaching and learning rather than Philosophies and vision statements are what shape a school community. For school X their visions and statements During my placement the differentiation that worked well for me
strategising within the classroom (Tomlinson, 2010). Many may debate why it is important to differentiate within a ensure the school provides equality for all their students. Below is their vision statement: was the flexible grouping. A lot of my teaching was in a practical
classroom. In the Australian context, classrooms are diverse places, students may present with differing: family make- setting outside of a classroom. I was therefore in an environment
up, disability (identified or unidentified), age, maturity, race, interests, religion, personality, mental health, social skills Our Vision – A centre of excellence for education in the Southern Vales and space where I was able to flexibly group students. Every three
and prior knowledge. To ensure that all these students are provided with the same opportunities to achieve the same Our Values – Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Excellence weeks the type of sport students learnt was changed. Flexibly
learning goals and learning outcomes, classrooms need to differentiate to align with the three pillars: philosophy, grouping in these classes was less challenging. This is because
principles and practices to promote inclusion (Tomlinson, 2013).
Our Mission – Inspiring Success
different groups of students had different readiness levels with
(n.a., 2018) each of the different sports learnt. Groups were therefore made
Elaborating further on these statements, the schools mission is to develop responsible adults who respect diversity, based on these levels. Also creating respectful tasks within my
success, self worth, creativity and friendship (n.a., 2018). This is achieved through whole school understandings and maths class also worked well for me. I was able to utilise a maths
practices. Staff are required to: be flexible, adaptable and continue to develop their teaching and learning skills to website called Mathspace. On this site I created two different
world class standards, be supportive and collaborative and build working relationships based on mutual respect with tasks; task one was a collection of questions that all students
students, parents and other members of the school community. Staff are also required to; value each students as an completed. Task two was a challenge task, for students who
individual, provide a safe, caring and enjoyable working environment, where students want to be, provide required more of a challenge than what task one presented.
opportunities for students to demonstrate creativity by modelling enterprise and creativity in their own teaching and Students could therefore be comfortable before they progressed.
finally value and promote relationships between members of the school (n.a., 2018). The statements in bold are where By providing students with these flexible grouping options and
the school publicly identify how they differentiate and promote inclusion within their classes. types of tasks the classroom environment that I created allowed
students to be themselves and explore their learning in a safe
environment. With support from my teachers and prior learning
My observations and impressions of schools practice throughout my differentiation topic I was able to utilise these
Earlier differentiation was defined as tailoring learning to meet the needs of all students. By being flexible, adaptable, above approaches within my classes to differentiate effectively. I
supportive, collaborative, promoting mutual respect and valuing students as individuals they are able to achieve these also had students who were willing to embrace and be involved in
my learning ideas and concepts so this made the classes run What did not worked well?
new standards for teaching. Through the involvement in regular professional development sessions and with the
support of individuals such as: aboriginal education support officer (Harrison, 2011), special education officers, smoothly. Factors that made differentiating challenging whilst I was on
international student liaisons/support officers, STEM program, sporting and art academies, vocational education, placement include ensuring that I am providing all students with
training subjects on site and diversity groups all students are provided for at this school (n.a., 2018). Through the educationally challenging tasks. I was often concerned about
introduction of these roles or subject choices, both struggling and gifted students are provided with the opportunity to creating tasks that were too challenging that students would turn off
achieve success (Poed, 2015). As well as having these support roles within the classroom, teachers need to set up and not engage with their learning, so I believe that sometimes the
classes to ensure they are differentiated. Classes therefore align with the three pillars of differentiation (Figure 2) How can I improve my differentiation and inclusion tasks that I created were too standard and did not promote students
(Tomlinson, 2013). Through observations teachers positively regard diversity as normal and valuable. Diversity is what practices? higher order thinking and creative skills. In PE, creating tasks for the
makes classroom environments fun, interesting and engaging. Teachers, particularly in Year 8 focus heavily on students gifted students was a challenge. Progressing them quicker than the
I look forward to developing my differentiation techniques further over the rest of the class whilst doing so in a respectful manner was
developing a growth mindset. By students having a growth mindset they are more likely to demonstrate perseverance
coming years. I believe it is an important part of any teacher’s job to ensure challenging. I was able to break skills down, but building them up so
Figure 1 Differentiation (Tomlinson, 2010) and resilience in their education (Sousa & Tomlinson, 2011). Students need to demonstrate these characteristics when
they are providing all students with the opportunity to learn and grow at the all students were equally challenged was a factor I found difficult. In
teachers use assessment to inform teaching and learning. This can be through formative assessment, such as quizzes
Inclusion is a concept developed by Ainscow. It is defined as: presence, participation and achievement of all correct level. I can improve my practices by further undertaking personal
or exit cards, which are approaches, used at school X. By constantly using assessment teachers are in a better position collaboration with this, providing differentiated instruction was
students, progress (achievement and learning), a sense of belonging (especially for those students who may be at development in this area. Increasing my knowledge in this area will increase
to proactively plan to address readiness, interest and the learning profiles of their students (Tomlinson & Moon, 2013). difficult at times. Speaking with terminology that all students
risk of marginalisation, exclusion or underachievement) and identification and removal of barriers within the my potential to promote positive differentiation in my classrooms especially
Through this proactive planning teachers can create respectful tasks for their students to ensure they are constantly understood rather than a few was a skill that I developed over the
classroom (Ainscow, 2005). By following and implementing this criteria students will be involved in a classroom where when faced with students who are behaviourally challenging. By doing this I
engaged and motivated in their education. course of my 10 weeks.
readiness, interests and appropriate challenge for learning is incorporated. Thus student differences will be recognised am increasing the opportunity for all my students to be successful at the
and catered for (Ainscow, 2013). Inclusion is particularly important when considering students who may have an highest level.
identified or unidentified learning disability. The Disability Standards for Education (Department of Education and
Training, 2018) state that an education provider is required to make any decisions regarding admission; enrolment or My Future Goals
participation on the basis that reasonable adjustments will be made to ensure the student with a disability receives the
same treatment of a student with no disability. An education provider is required to take reasonable steps to ensure • Progressing my skills to teach up within a class (J. Jarvis, 2014).
the course and or program is designed to ensure all students, even those with a disability, are able to fully participate • Improve the quality of my respectful tasks so they promote creativity, higher order critical thinking, and make links between other learning
in the learning experiences of school, along with any relevant supplementary course or program, on the same basis as areas.
a student with no disability (Department of Education and Training, 2018). • Improve my learning tasks so they promote problem based learning.
• Improve my instruction so that it focuses on students' creation of meaning about content in an interactive and collaborative learning
School Diversity & Inclusion Profile • Improve my ability to increase the involvement of community members and parents or guardians in their child’s learning and education. Give
Student differences & their impacts these individuals a voice when making decision about their child’s learning.
My final placement allowed me to be involved in and work with one of South Australia’s largest public schooling
communities. The school is Reception to Year 12, which is at full capacity with 1707 students and a 123 person
teaching staff. The ratio of boys to girls is fairly even with 860 males and 851 females enrolled. Within this cohort of
Reference List
students there are 64 Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) students, 26 Guardian of the Minister (GOM) students, Ainscow, M. (2005). Developing inclusive education systems: what are the levers for change. Journal of Educational Change, 6, 109-124.
107 students with an identified disability and 199 English is an Additional Language or Dialect (EALD) students. Ainscow, M. (2013). Making sense of inclusive education. Trinity Education Papers, 2(2), 2-11.
Whilst these are identified student differences there are also students who suffer from medical complications (such as Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2010). The Shape of the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from
illness or mental health), students who are a part of the LGBTQ community and students with many differing family
makeups (n.a., 2018). These common student differences can impact on learning and the classroom environment in Department of Education and Training. (2018). Disability Standards for Education 2005. South Australia: Australian Government.
multiple ways. Some of these students may disengage from their schooling because of numerous reasons such as Doubet, K., & Hockett, J.A. (2015). Differentiating according to student readiness. In K. Doubet & J. A. Hockett (Eds.), Differentiation in middle and high
unstable family life or illness (J. Jarvis, 2010). When students disengage they are likely to present with disruptive school: strategies to engage all learners (pp. 173-206). Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.
behaviours. These behaviours affect both the individual but they can also affect the whole class. When individuals and Harrison, N. (2011). Aboriginal ways of learning. In N. Harrison (Ed.), Teaching and learning in Aboriginal Education (2nd ed., pp. 39-56). Melbourne,
a whole class become disengaged from their learning, a behaviour management situation arises for the teacher. When Vic.: OUP Australia and New Zealand.
a teacher is required to behaviour manage, teaching time is being taken away from them to allow and provide students Havik, Trude, Bru, Edvin, & Ertesvåg, Sigrun K. (2015). Assessing Reasons for School Non-attendance. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research,
Figure 2 Three Pillars of Effective Differentiation (Tomlinson, 2013)
with the opportunity to learn (Le Messerier, 2010). Thus the classroom environment has been affected. Students with 59(3), 316-336. doi: 10.1080/00313831.2014.904424
differences, such as mental health complications, may display characteristics such as chronic non-attendance of Personal Reflection Jarvis, J. (2010). Differentiation for the many, not the few. SERUpdate, 20(2), 3-6.
school. Havik, Bru, and Ertesvåg (2015) suggest that when a student is not present at school, they are unable to engage Jarvis, J. (2014). Supporting diverse gifted students. In M. Hyde, L. R. Carpenter & R. Conway (Eds.), Diversity, inclusion and engagement (2nd ed., pp.
with their students and be presented with the learning content they are required to be a part of. When non- What differentiated strategies did I try? 297-315). South Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press.
attendance is over an extended duration of time, ensuring the student keeps up with the rest of the class becomes a Jarvis, Jane M., Pill, Shane A., & Noble, Anna G. (2017). Differentiated Pedagogy to Address Learner Diversity in Secondary Physical Education. Journal of
challenge. This, can, directly correlate with decreased learning opportunities and decreased academic success for that During my final professional experience placement, many opportunities arose for me to implement differentiation into Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 88(8), 46-54. doi: 10.1080/07303084.2017.1356771
student. my classes. Some of the approaches that I implemented into my classes include: teaching and learning focused on a Le Messerier, M. (2010). Inspiration to improve concentration and task completion. In M. Le Messurier (Ed.), Teaching tough kids: simple and proved
growth mindset (Yeager & Dweck, 2012). For the 10-week duration in which I was teaching I was able to educate my strategies for student success (pp. 57-77). London: Routledge.
How differences are responded to Year 8 Homeroom class about the different mindsets and which one student’s should be adopting. I was able to define n.a. (2018). School X Preschool to Year 12.
Within school X there are multiple ways that student differences, like the ones mentioned above, are responded to. what a growth mindset is and how students can move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. This was an exciting Nelson, G.D. (2001). Choosing content that's worth knowing. Educational Leadership, 44(3), 12-16.
Within the wider school community there are many support systems in place to offer assistance to students who may class to be involved in as many students who thought they had a fixed mindset actually found out they had a growth Poed, S. (2015). The Australian educational landscape. In A. F. Ashman (Ed.), Education for inclusion and diversity (5th ed., pp. 35-63). Malaysia:
need extra help. This may be in the form of Student Support Officers (SSOs) or school Counsellors depending on the mindset. But it also helped me when planning my teaching as I focussed on promoting this in all my classes rather than Pearson.
differences in the students. These individuals support teachers and students both in and out of the classroom just with my homeroom (Yeager & Dweck, 2012). In my other classes the use of exit cards and formative assessments Rutherford, G. (2013). Relational role of teacher aides in supporting students and teachers. In S. Carrington & J. MacArthyr (Eds.), Teaching in inclusive
(Rutherford, 2013). More specifically, in the classroom, teachers respond to these differences by implementing helped me guide my students learning. I was able to make adaptions to my classes based on the information that I school communities (pp. 313-339). Milton, QLD.: John Wiley.
differentiation into their classroom. To ensure classes are effectively differentiated, a high quality curriculum needs to received and ensure my students were being provided with the best content to learn based on their readiness levels Sousa, D.A., & Tomlinson, C.A. (2011). Mindset, learning environment, and differentiation. In D. A. Sousa & C. A. Tomlinson (Eds.), Differentiation and
be constructed and delivered (Tomlinson, 2014b). High quality curriculum involves gaining an understanding of and interest (Tomlinson & Moon, 2013). I also was able to flexibly group and create respectful tasks for my students. the brain: how neuroscience supports the learner-friendly classroom (pp. 17-43). Bloomington, Ind.: Solution Tree Press.
student’s readiness levels, interests and learning profiles (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, By flexibly grouping and creating respectful tasks all my students were able to reach and achieve the same learning Tomlinson, C.A. (1999). Mapping a route toward differentiated instruction. Educational Leadership, 57(1), 12-16.
2010). Nelson (2001) states that content needs to be delivered in a meaningful way to these students, it can also be outcomes as their peers (J. M. Jarvis, Pill, & Noble, 2017). Therefore these students remained engaged for longer and Tomlinson, C.A. (2010). [Four Non-Negotiables of Defensible Differentiation].
organised so students can transfer their knowledge and skills between the different subjects, promote progression were more interested in coming to my classes as indicated within my teaching feedback responds from students. Tomlinson, C.A. (2013). [Defensible Differentiation: Why, What, and How].
towards expertise, eliminate misconceptions that students may come across and be clear about how and what (Doubet & Hockett, 2015). Finally, in all my lessons I utilised learning and lesson objectives. By utilising learning Tomlinson, C.A. (2014a). Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All LearnersThe Differentiated Classroom: Proquest Ebook Central.
students need to walk away with. By responding to these differences effectively, the aim of reengaging students has an objectives it was clear for my students what was expected of them and what they had to do to be successful within this Tomlinson, C.A. (2014b). Good curriculum as a basis for differentiation. In C. A. Tomlinson (Ed.), The differentiated classroom: responding to the needs
increased possibility as they are being put at the forefront of their learning. Teachers at school X are able to construct lesson. Particularly, in PE, lesson objectives informed the students of what I was assessing them for in that particular of all learners (2nd ed., pp. 60-79). Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.
high quality curriculum as they work in teams. By working in teams there is an increased opportunity to resource and lesson (Tomlinson & Moon, 2013). Unfortunately no opportunity arose for me to implement one or more of my Tomlinson, C.A., & Moon, T.A. (2013). Assessment and Student Success in a Differentiated Classroom: Proquest Ebook Central.
construct highly valuable learning experiences for the students. Also by working in teams teachers can make cross- assessments. I was able to utilise skills I learnt though to create similar tasks – especially within my PE classes, to Yeager, David Scott, & Dweck, Carol S. (2012). Mindsets That Promote Resilience: When Students Believe That Personal Characteristics Can Be
subject links for the students to connect their learning. differentiate to improve student engagement. Developed. Educational Psychologist, 47(4), 302-314. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2012.722805