pai principals academy partner NIE-NTU

Raising Ceilings: What Does it Mean to “Teach Up”?

“Teaching up” is an alternative to the common educational practice of streaming student based on our sense of their capacities to learn. We have long assumed this approach is best for teachers and students because it allows teachers the convenience of teaching students “where they are” and benefits students by providing them challenges that match their achievement or capability levels.  

In reality, we end up teaching students who appear to be advanced and enthusiastic learners as though they have great capacity while we teach students whom we assume to be “just average” as though that is what they are destined to be, and to teach learners we assume to have low learning capacity with still lower expectation and even less compelling curriculum.  In that way, our predictions become destiny for far too many learners as we provide uneven opportunity for students to have equitable access to truly excellent learning opportunities

The practice of “teaching up” is rooted in the neuroscientific finding that brains are highly malleable and, with proper support, can develop in capacity in much the same ways we can increase body capacity. “Teaching up” also reflects Carol Dweck's work on growth vs. fixed mindsets.

“Teaching up" proposes planning first for students who are advanced academically then scaffolding the learning of other students to enable them to access the same kind of high-quality learning experiences often reserved for a relatively small group of learners.  


Participants will:

· Explore the rationale for “teaching up”

· Analyze examples of “teaching up” to understand key practices that characterize “teaching up”

· Reflect on and debate the potential benefits and drawbacks of “teaching up”

About the Presenter: 

Dr Carol Ann Tomlinson

Dr Carol Ann Tomlinson is William Clay Parrish, Jr. Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education where she served as Chair of Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Policy, and Co-Director of the University's Institutes on Academic Diversity. Prior to joining the faculty at UVa, she was a public school teacher for 21 years. During that time, she taught students in high school, preschool, and middle school and also administered programs for struggling and advanced learners. She was Virginia's Teacher of the Year in 1974. Carol is also a member of the Singapore Principals Academy's International Advisory Panel.

Carol is the author of over 300 books, book chapters, articles, and other educational materials including: How to Differentiate Instruction in Academically Diverse Classrooms (3rd Ed.), The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners (2nd Ed.), Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom, (with Jay McTighe) Differentiating Instruction and Understanding by Design, (with Kay Brimijoin and Lane Narvaez) The Differentiated School, (with Marcia Imbeau) Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom, (with David Sousa) Differentiation and the Brain: How Neuroscience Supports the Learner-Friendly Classroom (2nd Ed.), (with Tonya Moon) Assessment in a Differentiated Classroom: A Guide for Student Success, and (with Mike Murphy) Leading for Differentiation: Growing Teachers who Grow kids. Her books on differentiation are available in 14 languages.

Carol was named Outstanding Professor at Curry in 2004 and received an All-University Teaching Award in 2008. In 2019, she was ranked #8 in the Education Week Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings of 200 "University-based academics who are contributing most substantially to public debates about schools and schooling," and as the #3 voice in Educational Psychology. She works throughout the United States and internationally with educators who seek to create classrooms that are more effective with academically diverse student populations.

Registration Details

Course Code: CAT240223

Topic: Raising Ceilings: What Does it Mean to “Teach Up”?

Presenter: Professor Carol Ann Tomlinson

Date: 24 February 2023, Friday

Time: 7.00 pm to 10.00 pm Singapore Time GMT+8

Mode of Delivery: via Zoom

Closing date: 3 February 2023 Friday

Workshop Fee: S$200.00 per participant. For every five paid participants, the sixth participant will attend for free. Fees are subject to GST.

Other Information: Registration is on a first come-first-serve basis. No refunds will be made for cancellations or in the case of absentees. The Academy accepts replacements for registered participants who are unable to attend for whatever reasons.

School/Cluster-Based Workshop Registration

Please contact Joseph Loy by email or tel: 6363 0330 on the cost of conducting the workshop.