Your Career• 3 Min read

4th November 2020

Effective Teaching Strategies That Accommodate Diverse Learners

All classrooms need to cater to diverse learners. Teaching a classroom of 30 or more students makes it inevitable that you’ll be responsible for individuals who span a broad spectrum of learning styles and abilities. Teachers must plan activities that appeal and engage every diverse learner – from the very quietest pupil who doesn’t want to speak in front of the class to the loudest, who volunteers every time!

What Are Diverse Learners?

Learners come in many forms. Each individual you teach in your career will have a different set of interests, strengths and goals, regardless of age, ability or subject. Identifying the types of learner in your classroom and planning activities that have elements that will appeal to them is a great place to start when developing your lesson plans for a mixed ability class.


Kinaesthetic Learners

Auditory Learners

Visual Learners

Teaching Different Learners In The Same Class

Differentiated instruction can engage different types of learners. The term refers to presenting knowledge and instructions differently – either to different groups or in several ways.  This might mean explaining the activity to the whole class and then providing a practical demonstration or distributing written instructions which you then also briefly explain. 

‘Scaffolding’ is a way to help students through a task. It refers to providing instruction that supports the learning needs of the individual and encourages them towards becoming more independent. Some examples of scaffolding include guided notes, visual aids, discussing difficult vocabulary before presenting a new text or offering a pre-planned study guide to aid revision. Any form of support that helps a learner to understand the instructions and complete the task in the most independent way is a form of scaffolding. The ultimate aim with this technique is to eventually completely remove the scaffolding and allow every member of the class to work independently – laying the foundation for further and higher education study.

We’ve put together a few ideas for accommodating diverse learners in your classroom below!

Keep Learning Active

Active learning involves any type of teaching or learning activity that isn’t sitting at a desk and listening or writing.  Physical education, role play, debates and practical demonstrations not only appeal to kinaesthetic learners but offer the chance to engage all pupils with a variety of activities and instruction techniques. There are some great Active Learning ideas on our Pinterest board!

Choose Thoughtful Groupings

Traditionally, students in the UK in primary and secondary education are grouped according to their ability. For teaching a diverse mix of learners, you might consider small groups of similar interest, learning styles or even mixed groupings of abilities. Studies show that peer teaching can be an extremely effective strategy, encouraging independence and strengthening social relationships. Giving plenty of time for collaboration to occur and providing support where needed are essential for mixed ability groups to succeed!

Tailor Your Teaching Style

The majority of teachers now recognise that different learning styles require different approaches. Being flexible, adaptable and willing to try new ways of imparting knowledge are more essential than they have ever been when it comes to successfully accommodating a diverse group of learners!  Learning to critically review the success of your planned lessons and how well they were received and understood by your pupils will help with planning the most engaging activities.

Create A Dynamic Classroom

Create a classroom environment that all your pupils can excel in. This might mean designing engaging displays with your pupils as part of a learning activity, creating quiet areas or placing learning stations with a variety of activities to choose from. You could also look at different seating arrangements – some pupils prefer to work individually and will be able to concentrate more in a quiet area away from the noisier, more active learners. You could provide different areas for some activities or even different seating – beanbags are a great idea for reading corners and stand-up desks can be great for fidgety pupils if the option is available to you.


Creating Inclusive Classrooms

Beginners Guide To Classroom Decorating


The real key to developing a teaching strategy that reaches every type of learner in your classroom is to communicate with your pupils and understand their needs as much as possible. Surveys, a suggestion box, getting to know pupils and their interests on a more personal level and showing enthusiasm in their interests will all help you to develop lesson plans that engage and excite every member of your class and encourage their personal learning journey.

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