The pupils' learning and development must be the focus of the school's activities. The pupils come to school with different experiences, prior knowledge, attitudes and needs. School must give all pupils equal opportunities to learn and develop, regardless their background and aptitudes. Good classroom management is based on insight into the needs of the pupils, warm relations and professional judgment. To create motivation and the joy of learning in the teaching situation, a broad repertoire of learning activities and resources within a predictable framework is needed.
School's expectations for each pupil when it comes to effort and mastering influence learning and the belief in one's own abilities and opportunities. Therefore it is extremely important that the school has ambitious but realistic expectations for all pupils, and that the teachers exercise professional judgment when assessing the pupils' learning.
The pupils must be given the time to explore various subject areas in depth. Giving room for in-depth learning requires that the school takes into consideration that the pupils are different and learn at different speeds and with different progression. This requires knowledge about how pupils learn and what they know from before, and requires close follow-up of each pupil. Pupils who experience mastering are motivated to be more persevering and independent. Trial and error may be a source of learning and acknowledgment, and the pupils must be encouraged to try to do their best even when success is not guaranteed. School is responsible for furnishing pupils with the confidence to cross boundaries and try something difficult.
Assessments of the subject competence of the pupils should give an idea of what they know and can do, but a key purpose of assessment is also to promote learning and development. Mapping and observation of the pupils are aids for following up each pupil individually and for developing school's practice. However, this has little value if it does not lead to constructive measures. School and the teachers must balance the need for good information about pupils' learning and unwelcome consequences of different assessment situations. Unfortunate use of assessment may undermine a person's self- image and prevent the development of a good learning environment.
Differentiated instruction means that the school adapts the teaching so that all pupils have the best possible learning outcome from the ordinary teaching. School can adapt the teaching by using various work methods and pedagogical approaches, by using various teaching aids, by the way they organise the teaching and by working with the learning environment, subject curricula and assessment. The teachers must use good judgment when differentiating the instruction in the subject.
Good assessment, where expectations are clear and the pupil participates and is heard along the way in the learning work, is a key to differentiated instruction. In their teaching and training, the teachers shall support and guide the pupils so they will be able to set their own goals, choose appropriate approaches and assess their own development.
School must plan for good cohesion in the pupils' learning in the different subjects, and for the teaching and training to be experienced as something that they can cope with and that is sufficiently challenging.
Differentiated instruction applies to all pupils and shall for the most part take place through variation and adaptation to the diversity in the pupil group within the learning community. Pupils who need differentiated instruction beyond the ordinary teaching programme are entitled to special-needs education. Pupils may struggle, and there may be learning difficulties throughout the entire learning path. The teachers can receive good support from other professional groups both to reveal challenges and to give the pupils the assistance they need. It can be vitally important for a pupil's development that measures are launched as quickly as possible once the challenges have been discovered.