Differentiation in maths

The teacher describes how she led an initiative to rethink the way her school taught maths. As part of this process, she adopted a team teaching approach with colleagues. Lessons are designed to meet the specific learning needs of students.

In this lesson, a data collecting activity has been presented in three different ways to make it both accessible and challenging to all ability levels in the class.

Students choose the task most appropriate to their level. Students reflect on their learning at the end of the lesson, which provides valuable information for the teacher about their activity choices.

Context of use

Sunshine College is a culturally diverse, co-educational, secondary school situated across five campuses in Melbourne. Teachers at Sunshine College are expected to effectively integrate Numeracy and Literacy development into all of their teaching and learning practices and to create innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

These innovations are based on or derived from the understanding that students learn best through research and development processes and realistic applications.

Staff have worked together to develop a “core plus” instructional model that allows for domain specific innovation and creativity but is underpinned across all domains by five core instructional practice principles: learning intention articulated, readiness for learning determined, activities that target individual success, quality feedback, and reflection.

The performance and development culture is based around professional learning teams where curriculum is collaboratively designed and consistently delivered.

Discussion questions

  1. How have professional discussions impacted your classroom teaching?
  2. What strategies do you and your colleagues use to differentiate in the classroom?
  3. How could you support students to set challenging and appropriate learning goals?

This resource has been provided by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) who develop expertise and empower teachers and school leaders to create better education outcomes for Australian children. You can find further information on teaching students with disability and the terms and conditions on the AITSL website.

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