Differentiation Instruction: Three Understandings to Grow On

Carol Ann Tomlinson

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Carol Ann Tomlinson presents: Differentiation Instruction: Three Understandings to Grow On

While differentiation is spoken of as “a given” in many schools, how it is practiced is often
reflective of a “thin” understanding of its meaning and potential to make a positive impact on learner
development. After a brief look at a “real” definition of differentiation, we’ll examine 3 “big ideas” of
differentiation that encourage growth in teachers that, in turn, can extend student prospects as well. We’ll
consider 1) a differentiation state of mind, 2) 3-D differentiation, and 3) Teaching Up, and how each of those ideas can extend your effectiveness in planning for and addressing the needs of the varied learners you teach.

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Carol Ann Tomlinson

Carol Ann Tomlinson is William Clay Parrish, Jr. Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia where she taught for 30 years and served as a department chair for 10. Prior to joining the faculty at UVA, she was a public school teacher for 21 years teaching students in high school, preschool, and middle school, as well as leading district programs for struggling and advanced learners. She was Virginia's Teacher of the Year in 1974 and received several teaching awards at UVA. Carol is author of over 300 books, book chapters, articles, and other educational materials including How to Differentiate Instruction in Academically Diverse Classrooms (3rd Ed.}. Her books are available in 15 languages. She works throughout the United States and internationally with educators who seek to create classrooms that are more effective for academically diverse students. In 2024, Tomlinson was ranked #12 in the Education Week Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings of the 200 University-based academics who are contributing most substantially to public debates about schools and schooling, and as the #3 voice in Educational Psychology. She works throughout the United States and internationally with teachers who seek to make their teaching responsive to the needs of the students in their care.