Minnesota and Wisconsin Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
Differentiated Instruction is a relatively widely used instructional approach across
instructional contexts. It has proven to be successful in the general education context
where studies have found that students exposed to Differentiated Instruction strategies
consistently outperform other students (Tomlinson, 2001). Yet, there is a huge gap in
professional literature that addresses the use of Differentiated Instruction in the ESL
context. It is the aim of this paper to provide the reader with practical Differentiated
Instruction strategies and tools for the use in the ESL classroom as well as the
mainstream classroom with ELLs. We suggest three steps in implementing Differentiated
Instruction, a) beginning with ensuring high quality curriculum that clearly articulates
meaningful learning outcomes, both language and content, without which differentiation
is not possible, b) moving onto carefully understanding student needs, their readiness,
interests and learning profiles, based on systematic pre- and formative assessment, and
finally c) implementing effective Differentiated Instruction strategies in the classroom to
maximize the learning of all students. We provide multiple examples and useful tools to
clarify each of the three steps.
Dahlman, Anne; Hoffman, Patricia; Brauhn, Susan.
Classroom Strategies and Tools for Differentiating Instruction in the ESL Classroom.
Minnesota and Wisconsin Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
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