What is differentiation in teaching?

3 mins read
Tara Walsh

Differentiated teaching is where educators use a range of methods to extend the knowledge and skills of every student in every class. This is regardless of their starting point. Differentiation aims to raise the level of performance of every student.

Key features of differentiation in teaching

The purpose of differentiation is to cater to all students, whether they are working toward grade level, at grade level or above grade level. Thoughtful differentiated teaching provides an appropriate level of challenge for all students in a class or lecture setting.

It does this by:

  • Considering differences in student readiness and interest
  • Taking into account the learning profile of individual students
  • Using formative assessment to monitor progress towards and beyond student learning goals
  • Implementing a range of teaching strategies that support varying abilities and learning styles
  • Using open-ended tasks to facilitate students working at different levels and at their own pace.

You can meet students where they are by modifying:

  • How you teach, including the language and terms used
  • The types of activities undertaken by students (including success measures)
  • How you explain a topic or concept
  • The types of examples and analogies you use

Why use differentiation in your teaching?

Effective differentiation lifts the performance of all students

This means improved performance and outcomes for those students who are falling behind, as well as those ahead of year level expectations.

To help students master objectives

By planning lessons that incorporate adjustments for content, process and product, you can effectively help your students to master range of skills and learning objectives.

Use interactive videos for effective differentiated teaching

Use a common interactive as a pre-learning diagnostic tool. This activity can help you plan for differentiated learning for particular students or aspects of a new unit, concept or skill. You can then make different sets of interactives for a single video, targeting them to various students. Printing the interactives as worksheets can help a broader range of students to access the material.


Differentiated teaching

Discover 3 more differentiated teaching strategies

  1. Videos
    You can provide multiple videos that demonstrate a concept or topic from different angles to tap into different students’ learning styles. Transcripts and closed captions are also available for many videos to cater for hearing impaired/EALD students.
  2. Playlists
    Targeted playlists allow you to set content for different groups of students dependent on their capabilities. Create a playlist for core material, with supplementary material to extend or remediate students as needed.
  3. Student access
    Students can record their own content, catering to those with significant anxiety around public speaking. They can complete oral tasks in a way that suits them. Students who miss lessons due to absence or school activities can easily catch up on content in their own time.

4 Teacher tips for differentiated teaching

  1. Flexible learning options
    The 1:1 use in class means students can work at their own appropriate pace on various tasks. Students can pause, rewind or re-watch material as many times as they need to cement understanding. Playlists can help guide self-directed learning through topics and units of work. All ClickView content can be watched anywhere, at any time on any device. Sign up for free and explore our educational resources for lesson ideas.
  2. Your classroom, your way
    By uploading your own content, you can tailor your teaching on a particular topic. Examples might include a physical demonstration of an English writing technique, Maths equation, Dance sequence or musical theory concept, or a screencast recording of a presentation slide deck. Formative assessment undertaken before a unit can help you target your teaching effectively and track student progress. Learn more about formative assessment and get started with interactive videos.
  3. Home learning support
    Through accessing ClickView content at home, parents can also become involved in learning, reinforcing and assisting. This support can be especially useful for students on individual learning plans (ILPs) but is valuable for any student. Whether as part of remote learning or flipped learning, students can visit the virtual classroom with anytime, anywhere. Contact an advisor if you need extra support.
  4. In-class extension and support
    Accessing ClickView via the app or on a laptop means a rotation set up can be used, particularly relevant to the primary classroom. While groups watch set specified videos reinforcing skills and concepts, you can work with individual students as needed, providing support or extension. This collaborative approach can also extend to group projects or assessments. Explore the entire video collection.

Achieve optimal learning outcomes by using effective teaching strategies

Get complete access to the ClickView library with a full subscription. This includes all supporting educational resources, plus all our training resources. Our team is here to support you with practical differentiated teaching ideas, and other strategies, to boost student learning outcomes in your classroom or lectures