Carolyn Wheeler

Association Staff

Alexandria, VA

Interests: Technology,Whole child...

  • Posted 7 Years ago
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No. 2 Trend for 2011: Differentiated Instruction

Thanks for joining us for day four of our education trend countdown to 2011! For those just tuning in, each day this week we’ve been counting down the top five education trends for 2011, one blog post at a time. If you’ve missed any, Monday’s post on bullying and cyberbullying, Tuesday’s  on common core standards, and yesterday’s on teacher effectiveness and evaluation are all available here on ASCD EDge™. Today we’ll discuss and share resources on our number two trending theme: differentiated instruction.

Interest in differentiation—a curriculum-based approach to meeting the needs of each student in a given classroom—has grown substantially over the past eight years. Each year, ASCD member and community surveys have identified differentiated instruction (DI) as a topic of interest in the world of education.

This year is no different. ASCD has seen a big uptick in recent customer requests for staff development in this area. It’s important to take a moment to note that DI isn’t just limited to staff development. These days, you’ll find differentiation included in district policies, textbooks distributed to private and public schools, and graduate programs offered by a various colleges and universities.

Outside of our walls, many major professional organizations in the United States (National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Middle School Association, etc.) also advocate the principles of differentiation through publications and professional development offerings.

According to DI author and guru Carol Tomlinson, DI principles are also being enthusiastically picked up outside the United States in countries including Canada, Australia, and Austria—all of which adopt DI practices in policies, research agendas, and university course offerings. “My sense is that the majority of schools are now talking about differentiation,” says Tomlinson. “Yet, the percentage implementing quality DI needs is probably much lower.”

Unfortunately, as Glenda Horner recently noted in her blog post on coaching in the field of DI, there is a great deal of misunderstanding around differentiation and how it is implemented. “Somewhere along the way, they [educators] missed the reality… ‘Differentiation is a philosophy—a way of thinking about teaching and learning.’”

As discussion of DI stretches into 2011, here are some resources and sessions at ASCD’s 2011 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in San Francisco that we can recommend. We hope these resources will help you become better informed about best practices with differentiated instruction, particularly as more and more schools adopt DI. Please share your experiences and impressions with us in the comments section, or pick the discussion up on Facebook or Twitter by sharing your individual experiences or additional resources with colleagues using the #ASCD5 hashtag.





Sessions at the 2011 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

  • “Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom,” Carol Ann Tomlinson, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Marcia Imbeau, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
  • “Leading Differentiated Instruction Implementation: Practical Strategies to Accelerate Complex Change,” Susan Demirsky Allan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • “Differentiated Instruction: Beginning the Journey” (three-day pre-conference institute)

The ASCD EDge Team

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