Differentiation adjustment strategies

Adjustment: Complexity

Strategies Examples of applications
  • making connections
  • analysing multiple variables
  • pattern finding
  • problem solving and finding
  • inquiry based learning
  • going into greater depth
  • posing provocative questions that lead the student toward a deeper analysis
  • asking the student to find a connection between usually unrelated ideas
  • comparing different concepts which may span different disciplines
  • using the ‘what if…?’ question to stimulate thinking
  • finding problems to solve by sequencing a series of student developed inquiry-based questions
  • making generalisations or identifying ethical dilemmas or controversial issues
  • examining factors that influence or determine trends
  • using philosophical inquiry and questioning to find patterns
  • creating verbal or visual analogies to explain understanding
  • differentiating outcomes using higher order skills such as analysis, synthesis or creation

Adjustment: Challenge

Strategies Examples of applications
  • ascertaining prior knowledge
  • integration across disciplines
  • transfer of knowledge
  • explicit reasoning
  • using advanced level resources
  • undertaking original research
  • using controversy and provocation to problem solve
  • pre-testing prior knowledge and using this to inform teaching and learning
  • creating opportunity for negotiated independent projects following pre-test analysis
  • applying new skills and knowledge to a different context
  • co-developing and co-designing cross-disciplinary projects
  • justifying thinking when given a provocative question and communicating it in a variety of ways for different audiences
  • including students in debate and/or robust discussion viewed from diverse perspectives
  • using real world problems from the local community to create a problem-based learning project
  • providing opportunities for students to learn advanced level content through engagement with a mentor or enrichment provision
  • examining ambiguities or inconsistencies and explaining how these might influence common understanding
  • finding and explaining shifts in thinking from the beginning of the learning

Adjustment: Choice

Strategies Examples of applications
  • negotiating alternative tasks, assessments and products
  • planning open ended tasks
  • designing student interest tasks
  • permitting a diversity of modes of communication
  • exploring options
  • giving choice to demonstrate evidence of learning
  • providing choice from a given list of alternatives
  • giving students the opportunity to create their own alternatives of how they will learn
  • co-designing created assessments or criteria-based rubrics
  • accessing a range of questions to stimulate thinking and discussion
  • open-ended questioning which more appropriately aligns with different interest areas
  • encouraging free thinking, brainstorming and planning of the focus for learning
  • selecting or differentiating outcomes to meet specific interests
  • making modifications so there is access through different interests or passions
  • giving options to choose perplexing ideas for further exploration

Adjustment: Abstraction

Strategies Examples of applications
  • going beyond superficial facts
  • examining content meaning
  • scrutinising underlying ideas
  • seeking understanding of complex symbols or systems
  • unpacking thinking at a deeper level, demanding justification of reason and thought
  • seeking justification of thinking and reasoning through different means
  • asking ‘what makes you say that?’
  • embedding concepts into the learning, rather than just topics
  • using advanced level content that goes beyond what is usually expected
  • building examination and inquiry into learning design
  • using philosophical inquiry to examine ideas at a more abstract level
  • synthesising information from a complex to simple level using creative systems of classification
  • creating symbols to represent a sequence of ideas or procedure
  • creating simplified systems to unpack complexity

Adjustment: Creative and critical thinking

Strategies Examples of applications
  • original design or responses
  • alternative options
  • innovative communications
  • encouraging risk taking and experimentation
  • idea exploration
  • discovering underlying principles
  • divergence
  • flexibility
  • creating unique products made from adapting others’ ideas
  • using scenario-based/simulation learning
  • comparing and evaluating mind mapping tools and their effectiveness in conveying the most appropriate message
  • making changes from ‘whole to part’, or 'part to whole’
  • clarifying the causes and effects of different events, ideas or processes
  • organising different ideas into unique categories or systems
  • challenging the reliability of a claim or existing notion
  • devising questions, adapting and posing these to different stakeholders to elicit responses from a variety of perspectives
  • creating a variety of different consequences using ‘if… then…’
  • applying ‘reverse thinking’ to dismantle the usual logical direction of an understanding

Adjustment: Higher order thinking

Strategies Examples of applications
  • creativity
  • making comparisons
  • prioritising
  • evaluating
  • analysing data
  • synthesising information
  • investigating opposing ideas
  • identifying inconsistencies
  • evidence tracking
  • creating or co-creating new or unique products or responses
  • using Blooms taxonomy question stems to lead discussion or to frame assessment tasks
  • asking for a deeper analysis and justification of students’ responses
  • developing ‘what if ...’ scenarios to provoke thinking
  • using concept maps to visualise and explain thought processes or research
  • synthesising information and evaluating the most relevant ideas when solution-finding
  • making evaluative judgement about ideas using thinking strategies, e.g. PMI (plus, minus, interesting)
  • using visual representations to summarise information and explain complex relationships
  • exploring personal thinking and reflecting on the reasons behind these thoughts in comparison to others
  • speculating on probable future applications or possibilities

Adjustment: Pace

Strategies Examples of applications
  • greater speed
  • less repetition
  • less time
  • ascertaining prior knowledge
  • combining outcomes
  • expecting outcomes to be achieved earlier
  • using pre and post testing, and formative assessment, to inform the direction of the next teaching and learning phase
  • posing questions before teaching new material or skills to determine the speed of learning
  • compacting the curriculum in response to an analysis of pre-testing results
  • combining more than one outcome so that learning is more complex
  • spending less time on learning new material or skills compared to age peers
  • delivering specific lesson content at a faster pace where pre-test results indicate a need
  • negotiating a variety of completion dates to better organise learning
  • providing scaffolds and explicitly modelling these to students
  • facilitating time schedules and enabling goal setting
  • using individualised ‘what I know - want to know - how to learn - what I learned’ (KWHL) charts before, during and after the learning process

Adjustment: Authenticity

Strategies Examples of applications
  • real world problems
  • real audiences
  • contemporary issues
  • modelling exemplars
  • scrutinising contemporary media issues and using these to debate ideas
  • inviting an expert audience to showcase proof of learning
  • addressing current events and ideas to analyse complex concepts
  • using autobiographical study to analyse the content, the journey taken, thought processes and philosophy
  • unpacking exemplars to model and guide high expectations
  • evaluating learning and progress by experts in the field
  • including an independent study of a famous person
  • exploring the methods of inquiry that experts in various domains use to seek their information

Adjustment: Learning environment

Strategies Examples of applications
  • acceptance
  • sense of belonging
  • motivation
  • encouragement
  • valuing
  • understanding
  • high expectations
  • scaffolding
  • flexibility
  • humour
  • autonomy
  • character
  • citizenship
  • collaboration
  • leadership
  • efficacy
  • growth mindsets
  • giving opportunity to showcase strengths in a variety of applications and to a diverse audience base
  • providing variable means of communicating and acknowledging peers
  • co-designing negotiated personalised learning profiles
  • providing differentiated product options for assessments
  • using humour in the classroom to develop rapport and a positive learning climate
  • using think-pair-share routines to encourage collaboration, active reasoning and communication
  • building student voice opportunities into daily instruction
  • creating an environment that encourages experimentation and risk-taking
  • clearly communicating explicit criteria for success
  • providing explicit language to use when reflecting, such as ‘what can I do better next time and how will I achieve this?’
  • providing wait time to give opportunity for reflection
  • emphasising personal best, value of effort, growth and positive attitudes towards learning
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