Using 4MAT to Differentiate Instruction

4MAT is a framework for teaching created by Bernice McCarthy that addresses the four learning styles of our students.

Who are Our Four Types of Learners?
1- Imaginative Learners: Need to be involved personally; learn by listening and sharing ideas
2- Analytic Learners: Seek facts; need to know what the experts think; (schools are designed for these listeners)
3- Common Sense Learners: Seek usability; need to know how things work; function through inferences drawn from sensory experience
4- Dynamic Learners: Seek hidden possibilities; need to know what can be done with things; learn by trial and error, self-discovery


And How Do We Differentiate Instruction to Address ALL of These Learning Preferences?
Proceed through the following four steps:

Why: Curriculum starts here. Connect to students; find out what they know. Imaginative (#1) learners thrive on this.
What The content. #2
How Skills, practice (does not mean drilling). #3
If = What if? Students make the content their own; they make meaning and talk about the material from their perspective. #4

2 4mat wheel picture

The following image provides a few exemplar assignments that fit into each learning quadrant:


Discover more about 4MAT at

*Material derived from a lecture by Joan Nicoll-Senft, Ph.D. at Central Connecticut State University, 5/30/2013. The first two images are taken from The final image is from the presentation by Dr. Senft.