Students within a classroom have different needs, experiences and ability. In such a mixed ability classroom, differentiation allows a teacher to formulate different set of instruction which will suit the needs of different categories of students. Planning to differentiate instruction in a mixed ability class requires a teacher to first determine the outcome or goals of students learning/ the instruction. By setting goals, a teacher is able to have his/ her own expectations during delivering of the instructions and is able to gauge the success or failure of the instruction using these expectations. Also by having clear goals a teacher is able to design the instruction in a way that they meet the goals or intended outcome of the instructions. In addition, setting goals will enable a teacher to cover the intended amount of material as compared to when there are no goals.
Failure to set goals means that the instruction will not have a benchmark to measure their performance with and can deviate from what the teacher had in mind. It will also fail to provide a basis through which students’ progress in the instruction process can be assessed. Apart from setting goals it is also important for a teacher to know and understand his/ her students. A teacher should survey his/ her students’ interests in order to understand the students’ learning preferences. Through the knowledge of each student’s interest the teacher will be able to develop better instructions. The teacher makes a connection between the students’ interests and what the students are required to learn by the curriculum. This will make it easier for such students to understand what is taught by the curriculum. However the teacher should not water down the curriculum for the students and should ensure that the instructions are content based.
Carol Ann (1999), The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners, USA, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1st Edition
Carol Ann (2001), How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms, USA, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2nd Edition