How to Select & Adapt Materials to Meet Student Needs

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  • 0:01 Student Needs
  • 0:42 Differentiation
  • 1:56 Applications
  • 4:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Many classrooms include diverse learners of differing levels, cultures, and language abilities. In this lesson, we'll examine how to select and adapt materials to help teachers differentiate, or offer support to varying student needs.

Student Needs

Mira is a teacher with many different students in her classroom. Her students vary from way behind academically to scholastic superstars. She also has a variety of different cultures and languages in her classroom. Often, classrooms like Mira's have students of varying levels, cultures, and belief systems. Each of these students is unique, and each student has unique needs. As a result, teachers like Mira need to select and adapt materials to account for varying student needs. But how, exactly, can Mira do that?

To help Mira meet the needs of her diverse students, let's take a closer look at differentiation and how to apply the principles of diversity in education to a classroom like Mira's.


Mira needs to meet the needs of her students, but her students are all very different from each other. What can she do?

Differentiation is the process of modifying instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners. In a fully differentiated classroom, each student has their own personalized instruction and materials. Of course, Mira is only one person, and in reality, teachers often have to differentiate in ways that allow them to still serve the needs of the majority of the class, while also supporting those who are ahead or behind the majority.

There are three ways to differentiate instruction: through changing the content (what is being taught), the process (how it is being taught), and the product (how students demonstrate learning). When talking about classroom materials, they can reflect any of these three things. For example, materials like textbooks are about content, lesson plans and posters or charts are about process, and worksheets and tests are about product.

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