Instruction for
Diverse Learners

In the early stages of inclusive education, many educators and parents focused on the social opportunities for students with disabilities and other struggling students that were increased by sharing the same classrooms with general education peers. Within just a few years, socialization, as it was referred to, was not the only recognized benefit that was sought. Academic progress became an equally valued outcome of inclusive practices.

Inclusive practices are an integral characteristic of schools that achieve strong measures of academic success. Why? Because in inclusive schools, the following characteristics are in place:

  1. Students are educated whenever appropriate in the general education classroom with teachers skilled in the content taught.
  2. Access and opportunities to progress in the general education curriculum is greatly facilitated through inclusive practices.
  3. High expectations for all students are the norm.
  4. Instruction is differentiated to engage students on the basis of the skill sets, interests, and learning styles.
  5. Teachers use flexible grouping that includes varied small group instruction, large group, and paired instruction.
  6. Students are actively engaged in instruction and in their own learning.
  7. Instructional accommodations and scaffolding are used to increase access to learning and academic success.

This resource page features a variety of instructional strategies that are effective for diverse learners. In addition, we bring you a special section that introduces strategies, software, and hardware that increase access, participation, and academic success for all learners.

Teacher Behaviors that Improve Student Achievement

This is a self-checklist that you can use to determine your strengths in improving achievement and motivation in youth, and identify areas you may wish to expand your knowledge and skills. There are two categories: √ Check "+" if you are comfortable with your knowledge and skills in this area and exhibit appropriate and consistent… Read more

Make Mathematics Instruction Accessible and Engaging for all Students

There are many students, both with and without disabilities, who struggle with math.  Not only are these students at a disadvantage in terms of the practical skills they will need throughout their lives, but they also often miss out on the fun and beauty that can be found in the world of mathematics.  Mathematics is more than… Read more

Metacognitive Strategies

Metacognitive strategies refers to methods used to help students understand the way they learn; in other words, it means processes designed for students to ‘think’ about their ‘thinking’. Teachers who use metacognitive strategies can positively impact students who have learning disabilities by helping them to develop an appropriate plan for learning information, which can be… Read more

Classroom Strategies for Diverse Learners

Incorporating "Wait Time" Into Classroom Activities In today's high stakes educational environment, there is often little time to spare in our classrooms. Teaching is often fast-paced and targeted while time for creativity and reflection can be limited. The amount of time that an educator waits for a response from a child is often referred to… Read more

Interactive Glossary of Differentiated Instruction Terms

The Inclusive Schools Network and Stetson & Associates, Inc. created this glossary to define common terms used when differentiating instruction for diverse learners. View the Glossary Here Inclusion Basics Article Inclusion requires leadership for shared ownership, multi-level instruction, a schedule and staffing process driven by student needs with protected time for teacher collaboration. Learn more about… Read more

Explore the Instructional Design Tool (IDT)

A teacher friendly tool designed by Stetson & Associates, Inc. that illustrates the steps for differentiating instruction. Watch this mini tutorial for more information on how to use this “Mental Model” when designing differented lessons for diverse learners. Watch this short video about the Instructional Design Tool Download the Instructional Design Tool… Read more

Checklist: Access to the General Curriculum

Checklist of District and School Practices re: Access to the General Education Curriculum This simple questionnaire is designed for principals and teachers to evaluate their access to the general curriculum standards used in the school or district… Read more

Multi-Level Instruction Form

Learn five broad steps to implement multi-level instruction. This Multi-Level Instruction Form helps you design challenging lessons that are accessible to the entire class. Steps for Multi-level Instruction Instructions First, review the learner objective you will teach. Determine the exact learner outcome(s) expected for this specific curriculum objective. Next, create a lesson that is designed to teach… Read more

Instruction in Inclusive Settings

How does the principal create an inclusive school that values all students as full members of the school community? Some of the most important characteristics of inclusive schools focus on providing support in general education classrooms. All students are educated in the general education classroom to the greatest extent appropriate Expectations are high Individualized supports are… Read more

Decorate Your Walls for Inclusive Schools Week!

Show everyone in the community how inclusive your staff and students are by decorating the school doors and walls! Here are a few quick activities that will add to your Inclusive Schools Week Celebration. UNWRAPPING MY GIFTS Audience: Elementary & Middle School Students Give students a chance to sum up their best traits while reviewing adjectives… Read more