If you’ve ever built a triangle out of cards, you know that in order for the structure to work, all three sides must support the others. The same can be said of teaching and learning. Its three sides—the teacher, the students, and the content—must work in unison for the classroom to be a healthy and productive environment. But with so many different learning styles and other changing variables, how can a teacher create a learning environment that is truly successful?
At the top of the classroom management triangle is the leader—the teacher. Every teacher hopes to create a healthy classroom in which all students—regardless of their differences—are actively engaged and learning. This calls for the creation of an environment that supports differentiated instruction. While the task may seem daunting, according to educator and differentiated learning expert Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson, it is possible to keep the learning triangle balanced while creating a community of dynamic learners. Some of her best practices for creating a healthy classroom that supports differentiated instruction include the following:*
If you are considering an early childhood development degree and are interested in the advantages of an online learning environment, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University offers a number of online education programs for teachers at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.
Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson's career as an educator includes 21 years as a public school teacher and 12 years as a program administrator of special services for struggling and advanced learners. She is the author of more than 200 articles, books, and professional development materials, many of which are on the topic of differentiated learning. Dr. Tomlinson has been a contributing course content expert for Canter®, a longstanding Walden University educational partner.
*Tomlinson, Carol Ann (2000). The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.