Differentiated Instruction and Learning

Differentiated Instruction is a method of teaching that engages students of all ability levels and interests.

Saint Mark’s School has chosen a Differentiated Instruction model to help every child to succeed to the best of their ability and achieve their goals. 

What is Differentiated Instruction?

“Differentiated Instruction facilitates changes in the pace, level, or kind of instruction in response to a student’s needs, learning styles, and interests.” (The Six Critical Elements of a Differentiated Classroom by Dr. Diane Heacox*)

What do teachers in a Differentiated Classroom do to help each child succeed?

  • Know each student’s learning style, interests, and readiness (ability)
  • Be clear and focused on what students need to know, understand, and demonstrate
  • Purposefully use formal and informal (summative and formative) assessment data to inform and guide his/her instructional practices
  • Provide opportunities to motivate learning through student choice
  • Use “tiered assignments” that match students to tasks that are “just right, right now”
  • Use flexible grouping to manage and organize students by likeness rather than differences

Multiple Intelligences Theory Applied

Just about every primary and secondary teacher will state that s/he uses Dr. Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory, but the degree to which teachers use it is of critical importance. Our teachers have engaged in a great deal of training in multiple intelligences applications for the classroom, particularly in creating spaces and in instructional design. As a result, all learners, regardless of learning style, will feel at home and engaged when they enter our classrooms. Our teachers know that there is not just one or two ways of learning, but at least nine, and we are intentional about engaging all nine types of learner.

Visit a Saint Mark’s classroom and witness Differentiated Instruction in action!

(*Dr. Dianne Heacox, a nationally renowned expert in the field of Differentiated Instruction, spent 2 years at Saint Mark’s training teachers. Dr. Heacox is a professor at Saint Catherine University in Saint Paul, MN and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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