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Running head: LITERATURE REVIEW DOMAIN A 1

Literature Review Domain A

Brian Malfavon

TED 690 Capstone

December 2018
LITERATURE REVIEW DOMAIN A 2

Abstract

This paper examines the novel How to differentiate instruction in academically diverse

classrooms by Carol Ann Tomlinson. Tomlinson discusses the importance of

understanding learner needs, skills, and abilities and using that knowledge to adapt lesson

delivery. I will use this book to make connections to Domain A of my Professional

Development Quest Portfolio.


LITERATURE REVIEW DOMAIN A 3

All learners are unequivocally unique in their socio-emotional and academic

abilities; therefore it is essential for teachers to adjust their instructional practices to

ensure the subject matter is comprehensible to all students. Domain A of the Teaching

Performance Expectations (TPEs) examines this need to make subject matter

comprehensible. The book “How to differentiate instruction in academically diverse

classrooms” by Carol Ann Tomlinson (2017) discusses the reality of unique learning

styles and the importance of instructional differentiation to ensure all learners receive

personalized high quality instruction that nourishes the achievement of the learning

outcomes.

To become a successful educator, one must acknowledge the reality about student

learners. Tomlinson expresses in her introduction that reality which has failed many

learners; there is no “one-size fits all instruction” (p.xii). Carol Ann Tomlinson (2017)

identifies that the learning process for each learner is “influenced by the student’s prior

understandings, interests, beliefs, how the student learns best, and the student’s attitudes

about self and school” (p. 14). Tomlinson (2017) outlines the variables that impact all

learners, and argues that educators must be attentive to the relationship between teaching

and learning (p.15). Throughout chapter 2, Tomlinson (2017) expresses the importance of

considering the various variables that impact a students learning process in order to

deliver effective instruction.

Using the idea that learners are unique lays the foundation for differentiation.

According to Tomlinson (2017), differentiation in the classroom “provides different

avenues to acquiring content, to processing or making sense of ideas, and to developing

products so that each student can learn effectively” (p.1). In order to ensure that
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differentiation, educators must begin to understand the variables that make individuals

unique. Tomlinson (2017) states that becoming an expert in understanding learners

requires an initial categorization into groups, such as Advanced learners, ELL, or special

Needs (p.19). Categorization allows an educator to begin to address the learner’s needs,

and is the first step towards differentiation.

There are many strategies that teachers need to take into consideration to tailor the

learning environment to suite individual learners. Tomlinson (2017) expresses each

strategy in different chapters within her book. Overall, Tomlinson (2017) expresses that

educators must “work persistently to understand their students’ cultures, backgrounds,

interests, strengths, and needs” (p.34). In closing, the first step to ensure subject matter is

comprehensible to students is by becoming a kid expert, where educators focus on

knowing the student to implement the appropriate instructional strategies and educational

resources.
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Reference

Tomlinson, C. & Tomlinson, C. (2017). How to differentiate instruction in academically

diverse classrooms. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.