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Step 3: Input, tools and strategies

Differentiation in Practice / Unit 3: Leading differentiation

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Step 3: Input, tools and strategies

In Unit 2, you read about Professor Charles Desforges' views on designing challenging tasks. His paper provided a taxonomy of tasks, most of which will feature in the lessons you will observe and teach yourself. The question for you as a middle leader is to ask yourself whether tasks observed in lessons are sufficiently challenging to sustain pupil progress.


You can now develop your understanding of the task taxonomy by thinking about how it relates to your curriculum area or phase. What would it look like in practice?

Thinking about the Charles Desforges paper on designing challenging tasks, consider each of the tasks listed below. Think about your curriculum area or phase, and come up with examples of challenges for each of these tasks:

  • Incremental/Accumulation
  • Enrich/Apply
  • Restructuring
  • Practice
  • Revision.

Using the notepad, record examples of each element of the taxonomy from your curriculum area or phase. These should be realistic examples that relate to the curriculum you teach in your school. They can either be examples you have observed or hypothetical ones.

If you can't give examples for each of the areas, or some are easier to think of than others, what does this tell you about the balance of activities in your department or phase? Does this need to be rebalanced towards more cognitively demanding tasks, or to more practice of the fundamentals?

Step 3 question
Enrich/apply and Practice are tasks which Desforges’ paper mentions.
Checkpoint quiz: 
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