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Differentiation and The Brain


Course Description

Two of the most highly regarded names in educational neuroscience and differentiation combine forces to create a new model of effective teaching. In this course Carol Ann Tomlinson and David Sousa explain how discoveries about how the brain learns enhance the basic principles of differentiation. Armed with this knowledge, teachers will be able to make the best curricular, instructional, and assessment choices to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population.


Required Book

Required eBook: Differentiation and the Brain: How Neuroscience Supports the Learner-Friendly Classroom (Sousa and Tomlinson, Solution Tree Press, 2011)

Course Presenter

David A. Sousa, Ed.D

David A. Sousa, Ed.D, is an international consultant in educational neuroscience and author of more than a dozen books that suggest ways that educators and parents can translate current brain research into strategies for improving learning. Dr. Sousa has edited science books and published dozens of articles in leading journals on staff development, science education, and educational research. His most popular books for educators include:

How the Brain Learns Mathematics was selected by the Independent Publishers’ Association as one of the best professional development books of 2008.

Dr. Sousa is past president of the National Staff Development Council. He has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Alumni Award and an honorary doctorate from Massachusetts State College at Bridgewater and an honorary doctorate from Gratz College in Philadelphia. He has a master of arts teaching degree in science from Harvard University and a doctorate from Rutgers University. He has taught senior high school science and has served as a K-12 director of science and a district superintendent in New Jersey schools. He has also been an adjunct professor of education at Seton Hall University and a visiting lecturer at Rutgers University.


Carol Ann Tomlinson, Ed.D

Carol Ann Tomlinson, Ed.D, is a highly esteemed consultant, trainer, presenter, and author. She works with teachers through the United States and internationally to develop more responsive, heterogeneous classrooms.

Her education experience includes twenty-one years as a public school teacher and twelve years as a program administrator of special services for struggling and advanced learners. Recognized by the state of Virginia as Teacher of the year, Dr. Tomlinson has focused throughout her career on curriculum and instruction for struggling and advanced learners and encouraging creative and critical thinking in the classroom.

She is a faculty member at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, where she is the William Clary Parrish Jr. Professor and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Policy. Dr. Tomlinson codirects the university’s Institutes on Academic Diversity. She was named Outstanding Professor in the Curry School of Education in 2004 and received an All University Teaching Award in 2008.

Dr. Tomlinson is a reviewer for eight journals and the author of more than two hundred articles, book chapters, books, and professional development materials. Among her books on differentiation are: How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms, The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom: Strategies and Tools for Responsive Teaching, Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design: Connecting Content and Kids (with Jay McTighe), and Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom (with Marcia Imbeau). Dr. Tomlinson’s master’s degree and doctor of education degree come from the University of Virginia.

Partner Profile

Solution Tree delivers comprehensive professional development to schools and districts around the world. Solution Tree has empowered K–12 educators to raise student achievement through a wide range of services and products including educator conferences, customized district solutions for long-term professional development, books, videos, and online courses. Last year, more than 25,000 educators attended Solution Tree events on professional learning communities, RTI, assessment, and other topics.

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