Does differentiation have to mean different?

Teaching History article

By Richard Harris, published 1st March 2005

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

Richard Harris questions common assumptions about differentiation. In particular, he encourages teachers to avoid accepting too readily the view that pupils of different abilities must be given different resources or activities. Instead he builds a more complex and inclusive model based on deliberate teacher decisions about where to place the challenges and where to withdraw them. He places substantial emphasis on motivating pupils and cultivating curiosity. Harris argues that how pupils feel about an historical topic is key to taking them to challenging places where they might not otherwise want to go. Critical of such practices as putting learning objectives on the board, he suggests that this destroys the mystery, surprise and curiosity which are so vital for taking pupils on an historical learning journey. Clear purpose and direction for pupils are vital but there may be better ways of communicating them.

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