Patrick Painter: Differentiated instruction: What do best teachers do?

Presentation Focus

When it comes to teaching, one size does not fit all. Every student is unique and possesses different talents and abilities. We should take these into consideration, along with our students’ different individual needs, backgrounds, learning profiles and preferences. It is imperative that schools foster every student’s individuality through differentiated instruction.Differentiated instruction does not change what is taught, but how it is taught. All students work towards the same standards and objectives; the key difference is that they are provided with multiple pathways to learning the same content, and are thus given equal opportunities to acquire knowledge.

Why have you chosen this topic?

In an age where big data and machine learning provide users with customized, personalized experiences, teachers need to adapt their methods to fit the needs of 21st century learners. Differentiated instruction is both a theory and a practice that arms teachers with tools to engage a range of learning styles and enrich their classrooms in the process.

What do you want participants to take away from your presentation?

Through participating in this session, teachers will understand why differentiated instruction is an essential pedagogical tool and how it can be used to improve students’ engagement levels in language learning. Participants will become aware of the full value of the concept of “repetition through variation” by linking this established teaching method to the practice of differentiated instruction.


Patrick Painter studied cultural history and pedagogy in Canada and the United States at the University of Western Ontario, York University, and the University of Connecticut. He worked as a university lecturer and English language teacher for 7 years before joining Express Publishing as an ELT consultant. He has presented at a variety of ELT teacher training seminars in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His current research involves the relationship between multi-modality, communicative competency, and 21st century pedagogy. He is particularly interested in innovative teaching approaches to developing more learner-centred, task-based classroom environments.