The basic definition of Differentiated Instruction is to tailor instruction to meet the needs of each student. Since classrooms are filled with a wide array of knowledge, interests, and experiences, differentiation is crucial to ensure success for each student.
Differentiated Instruction requires teachers to be flexible in their approach to teaching and adjust the curriculum and presentation of information to learners rather than expecting students to modify themselves for the curriculum. Differentiation gives students multiple options for taking in information and making sense of ideas, and the use of ongoing assessment and flexible grouping keeps this instructional approach student-centered.
Teachers can differentiate at least four classroom elements based on student readiness, interest, or learning profile:
Content—what the student needs to learn or how the student will get access to the information;
Process—activities in which the student engages in order to make sense of or master the content;
Products—culminating projects that ask the student to rehearse, apply, and extend what he or she has learned in a unit; and
Learning Environment—the way the classroom works and feels.
Differentiated Instruction trainings count toward the annual 6-hour G/T update.