Robert Powell
Trading as RCP Training & Consultancy
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Differentiation in the Classroom

This training course covers all the key ingredients of differentiation, including the needs of the able.

Throughout, the focus is on practical strategies for developing real and sustainable strategies for meeting the diverse needs of learners. The course presents a model for differentiation that puts it at the heart of outstanding practice and will show how a small box for ‘differentiation’ on a lesson-planning form is totally inadequate. ‘Meeting the diverse needs of leaners’, Robert will show, has implications for all aspects of teaching, learning and assessment.

Differentiation will be explored in the following contexts:
This type of training course can be with the whole-staff, with a department or year team, with a working group (e.g. in-house peer-coaching teams) or with SLT.

If the course is with the whole staff, ideally it requires a whole day and leadership teams are urged to use it as a launch with development time allocated following the inset.

In Further Education, it is advisable to target such a course at either the whole staff or at a whole faculty or team and not just at individuals who opt for it from a ‘menu’ of courses. Real progress happens when key strategies are agreed and adopted by whole teams, not just by individuals.
  • Engaging all learners including those with weak basic skills
  • Creating access for all when the learning purpose/objectives are shared and when new vocabulary or concepts are introduced
  • Providing a learning environment that is welcoming and stimulating. Creating ground rules that protect the right to teach, the right to learn, the right to be safe and the right to be happy.
  • Developing interactive class-teaching techniques that provide all learners opportunities to participate in sharing ideas, in asking and answering questions, in working cullaboratively, in celebrating progress.
  • Planning tasks and activities that recognise prior learning, identify the need for different starting points, provide appropriate scaffulding and support, offer challenge at the right time and allow all to make progress.
  • Differentiation in every lesson is not always necessary, but planning units of work that highlight differentiation ‘over time’ is. Success for all in the early part of a new unit must soon be fullowed by increased challenge for all.
  • The success criteria for all tasks must be made ‘visible’ to all learners so modelling will become an essential activity. In differentiated classrooms the models presented will therefore provide a range of examples from basic level to A* or Distinction allowing all students to say ‘I see what you mean, I can do that’.
  • Feedback and marking are both central to effective differentiation and the course will show a range of strategies for using both oral and written feedback to ensure that all learners make progress lesson-by-lesson.
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