The Importance of Differentiation in Supporting Diverse Learners

Iranda Bajrami


Living in this changing world that requires frequent adaptations has affected most classrooms, which consist of students with different backgrounds, preferences, learning styles and different language proficiencies. Subsequently, teachers are faced with a challenge of meeting every individual student’s needs and being able to accomplish that task requires more than just delivering a lecture. The solution to answering learners’ needs is applying differentiation in mixed-ability classes where the teacher would be conscious of the diversity of learners and choose carefully the types of activities and materials that would be most engaging for them. As Tomlison (2001 cited in Hall, Strangman, & Meyer, 2003) states, differentiated instruction (DI) is a teaching theory based on the premise that instructional approaches should vary and be adapted in relation to individual and diverse learners in classrooms.  Although applying DI is crucial for every subject, the focus of this paper is on applying DI in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes. The key findings from the literature review that make the application of differentiation essential in EFL classes will be provided. The findings will be targeting the reasons for applying DI, its huge importance for either more proficient or less proficient students, strategies used for DI, suitable activities that can be used in mixed ability classes and the main features of a differentiated lesson. Eventually, the aim of this paper is to provide research based responses to the issue of having diverse learners in the same class. Therefore, it is inevitable that lecturers apply differentiation, which regardless of its usefulness, is still considered an unknown field among local lecturers and researchers.

Keywords: Differentiated instruction, Mixed-ability, EFL classes, Diverse learners

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email:

ISSN (Paper)2222-1735 ISSN (Online)2222-288X

Please add our address "" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright ©