Best Practice

An easier way: The nine Rs of differentiation

In writing their new book on differentiation, Daniel Sobel and Sara Alston drew on expert advice to create a list of easy and quick things that would result in real differentiation for most children. The best news of all, they all begin with R...

The most common challenge put to me, from parents to headteachers, both in the UK and internationally, is: “Inclusive classrooms are of course ideal, but in reality how are you supposed to meet the needs of so many different types of children? Don’t they all end up losing out?”

This is a perfectly reasonable and understandable question. However, the assumption that a teacher has to create separate curricula for multiple needs and approaches in the classroom is a myth. It is also utterly impractical. In response, here is my favourite teaching myth:

“Geoffrey Leopold de Ville had been teaching Latin to teenagers for 27 years, in his favourite tweed jacket which he bought while reading Classics at Oxford. He would pace the classroom and regale stories of ancient times and throw out questions to the enthralled students, while he looked out of the window over the lacrosse and rugby pitches. Each November, as the leaves began to fall from the Great Oak by the Planetarium, he recited his favourite passage from Pliny the Elder and would ask the class to pen an essay about it in silence, to be handed in by the end of the lesson. As the students settled down thoughtfully and attentively to the task, he would sit at his old wooden desk at the front reading his favourite passage from The Iliad. At the end of the lesson he barely looked up as they filed past him, placing their neatly written essays on his desk.”

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