This is a summary of my learning from reading ‘How to Differentiate Instruction in Academically Diverse Classrooms’ by Carol Ann Tomlinson.
- Help advanced learners challenge themselves – Raise the ceiling of expectations so that advanced learners are competing with their own possibilities rather than the norm. Give these students as much voice as possible in what they learn about and how they go about learning. Teach them how to aim higher.
- Emphasize pride in craftmanship and the satisfaction of struggle – advanced learners are also more likely to invest in work that they really care about and that they have a voice in developing (like most learners)
- Help students know how to achieve quality – It should be clear to the advanced learner what excellence looks like and what they should be aiming for. Provide them with exemplars. Help students develop their own goals for growth.
- Raise the support system to match the ceilings of expectations – provide the advanced learners with support and scaffolding to achieve genuine success. (I’m wondering how I will manage this when I have many students looking for my help.)
- Balance rigor with joy of learning
- Be a partner in planning and learning – work with advanced learners to plan their next steps and don’t be intimidated if they know more about a topic than you do. See it as an opportunity to learn from them.