EDU605: Unit VI Differentiated Instruction – Content, Process,& Product

The concepts learned this week provide educators with alternative methods which allow our students to reach their maximum potential. This week we learned of three differentiating concepts: Content, process and product are some important ways a teacher can alter their instruction, which allows students to maximize their learning in my classroom. As a military instructor, I have always been cognizant of my students learning styles thus meeting the needs of all my students through the use of differentiated instruction by using these components learned this week.

One of the most common uses of differentiated instruction is curriculum compacting. Curriculum compacting allows military instructors to train those students who possess the mental maturity and professional demeanor to complete an excelerated course or training. Those select students who are afforded the opportunity to attend a compacted curriculum, have the ability to get promoted ahead of others and are able to be organizational multipliers due to their fast tracking and learning abilities. Thise individuals are also allowed to attend advance follow on training which can enhance their units, organizations and battlefield commanders readiness.

“Differentiated instruction is a way of recognizing and teaching according to different student talents and learning styles” (Morgan 2014).

“The ways in which teachers could reach their students is by using different techniques such as, “student responsibility, peer tutoring, flexible grouping and student choice” (Morgan, 2014).

The DI elements were first introduced to me in How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms by Carol Tomlinson, and my understanding later deepened thanks to my friend and mentor, Dr. Susan Allan. The core of differentiation is a relationship between teachers and students. The teacher’s responsibility is connecting content, process, andproduct. Students respond to learning based on readiness, interests, andlearning profile. In this post, we’ll explore the teacher’s role for effective planning of DI, and in the next three posts, we’ll look at how students respond.


“Content is the ‘input’ of teaching and learning. It’s what we teach or what we want students to learn. First, in differentiating content, we can adapt what we teach. Second, we can adapt or modify how we give students access to what we want them to learn” (Tomlinson, 2001, p. 72).

As a military instructor, I have had the oppurtunity to apply some content principles which have enhanced my training objectives. Here are some of the examples of content that I have incorporated in my classroom:

  • Using varied text and resource materials
  • Mini-lessons – ” Based on assessment of student understanding, the teacher may reteach a part of her students, find another way of teaching a group of students, or meet with yet another group to extend their understanding and skill” (Tomlinson, 2001, p.76).
  • Reading buddies
  • Flexible grouping
  • Modeling

“Process means sense-making or, just as it sounds, opportunity for learners to process the content or ideas and skills to which they have been introduced. When students encounter new ideas, information, or skills, they need time to run the input through their own filters of meaning. As they try to analyze, apply, question, or solve a problem using the material, they have to make sense of it before it becomes ‘theirs’ ” (Tomlinson, 2001, p.79).

As a military instructor, I have had the oppurtunity to apply some process principles which have enhanced my training objectives. Here are some of the examples of process that I have incorporated in my classroom:

  • Cubing
  • Graphic organizers
  • Learning centers
  • Interest centers
  • Role playing
  • Think-pair-share
  • Model making

“Product assignments should help students – individually or in groups – rethink, use, and extend what they have learned over a long period of time – a unit, a semester, or even a year. Products are important not only because they represent your students’ entensive understandings and applications, but also because they are the element of curriculum students can most directly ‘own’ ” (Tomlinson, 2001, p. 85).

As a military instructor, I have had the oppurtunity to apply some product principles which have enhanced my training objectives. Here are some of the examples of product that I have incorporated in my classroom:

  • Role playing
  • Building or designing a structure

As a military instructor, weconduct a lot of role playing scenarios so that our students have the ability to relive scenarios that have occurred and we have the unique oppurtunity to see how our students think. Each course we are able to modify our curriculum because the students have presented us with new ways of doing things. We as miitary instructors want to ensure our soldiers are provided with up to date and relevant scenarios.

Morgan, H. (2014). Maximizing Student Success with Differentiated Learning. The Clearing House, 87: 34-38. Retrieved from

Tomlinson, C.A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Wrap Up

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