Seven Principles for Teaching
#4: Recognize Individual Differences
The learning environment is acutely sensitive to the individual differences among the learners in it, including their prior knowledge.
- Students differ in many ways fundamental to learning: prior knowledge, ability, conceptions of learning, learning styles and strategies, interest, motivation, self-efficacy beliefs and emotion; they differ also in socio-environmental terms such as linguistic, cultural and social backgrounds.
- Prior knowledge - on which students vary substantially - is highly influential for how well each individual learns.
- Learning environments need the adaptability to reflect these individual and patterned differences in ways that are sustainable both for the individual learners and for the work of the group as a whole. Moving away from "one size fits all" may well be a challenge.