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Content

Complexity

The Learning Manager can promote differentiation through designing learning experiences which
consist of varying complexity levels. This enables students to demonstrate their new understanding
and skills in a manner which is most effective for the student. Teachers can incorporate three tiers of
learning; concrete, symbolic and abstract to change the complexity of content (Fogarty & Pete,
2005).
Example:

Teaching a Maths skill concept/skill is first modelled with concrete materials e.g. building blocks
The math concept/skill is next modelled at the symbolic level which involves drawing pictures that
represent the concrete objects e.g. tallies
The math concept/skill is modelled at the abstract level using only numbers and mathematical
symbols and formulas

Effective teachers will utilise all three tiers to provide students with both suitable challenges and
choices within the lesson (Fogarty & Pete, 2005). Varying the complexity can be facilitated in the
classroom through tiered work stations, the tiering of cooperative group work, allocating tasks, roles
and responsibilities according to the needs of the students individually and then temporarily
categorising them accordingly into groups then allocating them appropriate tasks (Tomlinson, 1999).
Tiered activities are very important when a teacher wants to ensure that students with different
learning needs work to achieve the same learning outcomes (Tomlinson, 1999).
For example, a teacher may have a student with hearing impairment and another student of which
English is a second language. According to Hyde, Carpenter & Conway (2010) both groups identify as
having difficulties with language and reading. Thus, these students may struggle with reading and
have experience greater difficulties ascertaining the concepts at hand within an English lesson. The
teacher can group these students together so they can work at a less accelerated pace, complete
reading and comprehension activities with appropriate scaffolding and furthermore, the Learning
Manager can allocate an expressive mode whereby the students can articulate their understanding
through a medium that is less dependent on language such as a Power Point Presentation thus, a
medium which develops their language skills however, does not rely solely on language to
communicate.

Differentiat
ing
Curriculum

Blooms
Taxonomy

Student readiness influences the level of which the student can achieve the learning standard thus,
when differentiating the curriculum the teacher needs to consider student readiness in conjunction
with the standards (Tomlinson, 2000). This can be achieved through curriculum mapping and the
alignment of students interest and needs and subsequently, the teacher can plan for intervention
accordingly (Fogarty & Pete, 2005). In order to differentiate the curriculum, teachers should provide
an array of options for students which consist of essential standards and developmental standards in
order to ensure a high level of engagement and the opportunity for all learners to progress (Fogarty
& Pete, 2005).
Utilising the learning theory of Blooms Taxonomy is a useful tool which teachers can integrate to
effectively differentiate the curriculum. It is important that teachers ensure that they incorporate
both the lower levels of thinking through to the higher levels of thinking for all learners as
differentiating the curriculum is not lowering expectations and standards (Fogarty & Pete, 2005).
Teachers can design their activities based upon addressing each level of thinking however, adjusting
the complexity of the knowledge input. Thus all learners work with the same knowledge base;
developing learners use less complex materials and higher learners use more complex materials. If a
teacher was to differentiate for a learner who had an intellectual impairment or learning difficulties
which identify as being at risk, they could ask the student to represent their knowledge at an
understanding level through the form of a summary of knowledge whereas, advanced learners can
present a critique despite the different complexities all learners are still articulating their
understanding. Thus, the expectation has not changed and the students are experiencing the same
level of thinking according to Blooms Taxonomy however, at different thresholds within that level.
Another example may be as simply as incorporating additional scaffolding for those students who
require it such as students with ASD as they tend to need further support when acquiring a knew skill
(Hyde, Carpenter & Conway, 2010).

Resources

Gardners
Multiple
Intelligenc
es

Environme
nt

An effective method for the Learning Manager to promote differentiation within the classroom is to
vary the resources used as different resources provide different approaches and therefore, different
entry points for learning to occur. Overtime, students will develop a preference and through group
work will also explore other methods (Fogarty & Pete, 2005). Adjusting resources is paramount to
cater for the needs of students. When teaching a diverse class the Learning Manager needs to
ensure that the resources within the room are adequate. The Learning Manager can present
students with several resources that address a topic allowing students to choose which resource they
prefer to explore and investigate such as journal articles, textbooks, documentaries, and
authoritative websites.
The Learning Manager is able to differentiate the curriculum and design versatile learning
experiences through integrating an array of varying resources and complexities which align with the
various intelligences. The Learning Manager can design and allocate tasks according to the
intelligences students identified with during the profiling stage (Lynch & Knight, 2010). If students
are able to experience tasks through their preferred mode of learning then they are more likely to
develop knowledge and skills with greater success.
Though changing the learning environment the Learning Manager is inherently differentiating the
content (Fogarty & Pete, 2005). Changing the environment automatically enables the learner to
experience the content of which they are learning in a different way and often an authentic learning
experience emerges from this method. Professional work experience, excursions, participating in an
activity that involves interaction with the local community are all means of which the learning
manager can alter the environment. The environment can also refer to the physical environment
which is significantly important when differentiating for students with special needs (Hyde, Carpenter
& Conway, 2010). For example students with hearing impairments need to be in a classroom that is
not situated near high volume areas such as music rooms. Furthermore, The deaf student should be
seated so they can see both the teacher and their peers if possible (Deaf Children Australia, 2014).
Another example is students with ASD require adjustments to the learning environment in terms of
lighting, and hypersensitivity to noise (Autism Spectrum Australia, 2014).

Process

Direct
Explicit
instruction

Learning managers can differentiate through employing an array of instructional strategies that
essentially change the process of how students learn.
Explicit instruction is a process of which the Learning Manager guides the learning through clear and
direct explanation, modelling and guided practice. It is extremely beneficial for students who are
intellectually impaired as it enables them the opportunity to develop basic skills and further develop
their metacognition (Hyde, Conway & Carpenter, 2010)

Cooperativ
e learning

Inquiry

duc Pro
t

learning

Entry
points
Expressive
modes
Accountabil
ity

Cooperative learning refers to a set of instructional techniques whereby students are required to
work in groups to complete collaborative tasks. The students in each group are responsible to
actively participate and experience the content and assist their peers learn through peer
cooperation, collaboration and when warranted, assessment. Thus, students work together to help
one another achieve the learning objectives. The Learning Manager can differentiate through
structuring groups based on student needs and preferences whilst promoting opportunities for
students to develop positive peer relationships and social skills. Cooperative learning is significantly
beneficial in terms of creating opportunities for students to accept differences and overcome
perceived barriers in social circumstances. DEEWR (2007) recommends that teachers incorporate
flexible grouping as an effective strategy to differentiate instruction that prompts the inclusion of
students to be a part of many different groups based on the match of the task to student readiness,
interest and their needs. To ensure that cooperative learning is beneficial for all learners Learning
Managers can structure through utilising frameworks such as Dr Kagans PIES framework to
effectively structure the group work.
Examples:
Think Pair Share, Turn to your neighbour, Jigsaw, Focus Trios, Homework Checkers
Using inquiry as a means of differentiating is beneficial for learners as they are presented an
inquisitive challenge thus enhancing their level of engagement and willingness to participate in
learning (Fogarty & Pete, 2005). The Process involves the Learning Manager presenting students with
a complex problem. Students must engage with research thus, select and use valid resources, make
informed decisions to pose a solution and subsequently, effectively communicate and assess the
solution (Tomlinson, 1999).
The strategy is beneficial as it enables learners to experience content through an array of resources
which constitutes an opportunity for incorporating student choice (Tomlinson, 1999).
Howard Gardner has described entry points as a strategy for addressing varied intelligence profiles
thus, entry points become a means for the Learning Manager to effectively differentiate within the
Learners have preferred ways of which they like to express themselves and their knowledge,
understanding and skills. Providing students with an array of choices for how they are to
Learning Managers can promote differentiation through varying the ways of which students are to be
accountable for their learning. In light of this method it is important that teachers do not reduce the