Combining Concepts

Recently Jay McTighe has worked with Carol Ann Tomlinson to combine their two concepts of Understanding By Design (or backward design - a component of this larger concept) and Differentiated Instruction. Differentiated instruction calls upon teachers to consider a variety of factors about students, the educational environment, and the demands of the content when planning the instruction for particular lessons and units. This type of planning natural fits in Wiggins and McTighe’s third step of design, “Plan Learning Experience and Instruction”.


Tomlinson’s concept of differentiated instruction have been further been modified (enhanced?) by other practitioners combining her instructional planning theory with Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and other learning theories as a driver for instructional decision making. This combination calls up teachers to consider the multiple intelligence and/or strengths of their students when planning instructional experiences.