Differentiating Instruction in Physical Education: Personalization of Learning

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Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance




Differentiated instruction (DI) is a complex conceptual model and philosophy that is implemented in many traditional classroom settings. The primary focus of DI is to personalize the learning process by taking into account individual differences among students' varied levels of readiness, interest and learning profile. Varied assessments are used to gain a deeper understanding of student readiness, while certain teaching strategies are used to capitalize on student interest. Student learning profiles are developed as teachers gain an understanding of individual learning styles, intelligence preferences, gender and culture. Each of these individual differences can have a profound effect on the way students learn and are important considerations for teachers. To date, the application of DI in physical education has been limited and has primarily been considered in its application to adapted physical education. The purpose of this article is to provide physical education teachers with an overview of DI and practical methods to incorporate traditional best teaching practices to differentiate instruction for diverse learners.