Beliefs Behind Responsive Teaching/Differentiated
Human beings share common
feelings and needs, and schools should help us understand and respect those
Individuals also differ
significantly as learners; these differences matter in the classroom, and
schools should help us to understand and respect the differences.
Intelligence is dynamic
rather than static, plural rather than singular.
Human capacity is malleable,
and the art of teaching is the art of maximizing human capacity; a central goal
of schools ought to be maximizing the capacity of each learner.
We probably underestimate
the capacity of every child as a learner.
Students should be at the
center of the learning process; actively involved in making sense of the world
around them through the lenses we call "the disciplines."
All learners require
respectful, powerful, and engaging schoolwork to develop their individual
capacities so that they become fulfilled and productive members of society.
A major emphasis in learner
development is self-competition for growth and progress.
Teachers and other adults
need to help learners accept responsibility for their own growth and progress.
Individuals and society
benefit when schools and classrooms are genuine communities of respect and
classrooms are essential to building community in our schools.
classrooms are powerful venues because most students spend most of their school
time in such classrooms.
All effective heterogeneous
classrooms recognize the similarities and differences in learners and robustly
attend to them.
classrooms are excellent first and differentiated second.
Promoting Effective Differentiation is Difficult if Educators'
Beliefs Include the Following:
Teachers are tellers and students are absorbers.
Time in the classroom is fixed.
Curriculum is largely fact based and skill based.
Pleasurable learning is a luxury.
"Fair" means treating all kids alike.
Students don't learn what the teacher doesn't directly
Life is difficult, and teachers must help students prepare
for its rigors by giving them a taste of "reality" in the classroom.
Sorting of students through grading and scheduling is
appropriate and effective.
If we'd just homogeneously group students, we wouldn't need differentiation.
Intelligence is fixed.
Ability and compliance are intertwined.
Most students cannot handle responsibility in the classroom.
Most students should be able to learn in the same way.
Students who differ broadly from grade-level expectations
Students who achieve above grade level are already fine and
we don't need to worry about them.
Student deficits are generally at fault when students don't
Source: Tomlinson, C. A. & Allan, S. (2000). Leadership
for differentiating schools and
classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and