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Differentiated Instruction and Improving Student Learning: A Qualitative Study

Received: 19 June 2021    Accepted: 29 June 2021    Published: 5 July 2021
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Abstract

Administration and ministers of elementary schools located in the target district in the Caribbean reported that some elementary teachers were inconsistently implementing differentiated instruction (DI) in their practice. Based on the identified problem, it was unclear which specific strategies of DI were causing teachers to experience barriers or challenges during the process of implementation. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore teacher perceptions in one district about their implementation of the conceptual framework, Weimer’s learner-centered teaching theory DI model, in their classroom instruction. Data from schools in one elementary school district in the Beach School District were collected through virtual interviews with 15 teacher participants who had 5 to 10 years of teaching experience for Grades 5 to 6. Data were analyzed with open coding using the RADaR model of analysis. Results indicated that, when teachers use limited and repetitive DI strategies, their use of the DI model in their practice is inconsistent. In addition, teachers indicated they would benefit from some additional training on alternative DI strategies as well as how to effectively differentiate their instruction consistently. The results of this research may contribute to positive social change by providing classroom teachers with additional resources and training to improve the implementation of DI in the classroom and enhance the learning experiences of students.

Published in Education Journal (Volume 10, Issue 4)
DOI 10.11648/j.edu.20211004.11
Page(s) 114-118
Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Science Publishing Group

Keywords

Differentiated Instruction, Student Learning, Learner-centered Strategies, Classroom Teaching, Educational Practice

References
[1] Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-centered teaching: Five key changes to practice. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, pp. xvi-xix, 125.
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[3] Michael, R. D., Webster, C. A., Egan, C. A., Stewart, G., Nilges, L., Brian, A., Johnson, R., Carson, R., Orendorff, K. & Vazou, S. (2018). Viability of university service learning to support movement integration in elementary classrooms: Perspectives of teachers, university students, and course instructors. Teaching and Teacher Education, 72, 122-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2018.03.003
[4] Goh, T. L., Hannon, J. C., Webster, C. A., & Podlog, L. (2017). Classroom teachers’ experiences implementing a movement integration program: Barriers, facilitators, and continuance. Teaching and Teacher Education, 66, 88-95. https://doi.org10.1016/j.tate.2017.04.003
[5] Andrietti, V., & Su, X. (2019). Education curriculum and student achievement: theory and evidence. Education Economics, 27 (1), 4-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/09645292.2018.1527894
[6] Guay, F., & Bureau, J. S. (2018). Motivation at school: Differentiation between and within school subjects matters in the prediction of academic achievement. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 54, 42–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2018.05.004
[7] Office of Education Standards. (2019). School inspection reports 2018-2019. [Data file]. http://www.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/esahome/publications/School%20Inspection%20Rports%2020192020/Full%20Inspection%20Report%20Creek%20and%20Spot%20Bay%20Primary%20School%202019.
[8] Gilboy, M. B., Heinerichs, S., & Pazzaglia, G. (2015). Enhancing student engagement using the flipped classroom. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 47 (1), 109-114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2014.08.008
[9] Brooks, J. S., & Normore, A. H. (2018). Qualitative research in educational leadership studies: Issues in the design and conduct of studies. In Complementary Research Methods for Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (pp. 19-32). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93539-3_2
[10] Bryman, A. (2017). Quantitative and qualitative research: further reflections on their integration. In Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research (pp. 57-78). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315248813-3
[11] Harrison, H., Birks, M., Franklin, R., & Mills, J. (2017, January). Case study research: Foundations and methodological orientations. In Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18 (1). http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1701195
[12] Renz, S. M., Carrington, J. M., & Badger, T. A. (2018). Two strategies for qualitative content analysis: An intramethod approach to triangulation. Qualitative Health Research, 28 (5), 824-831. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732317753586
[13] Tondeur, J., Van Braak, J., Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2017). Understanding the relationship between teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and technology use in education: a systematic review of qualitative evidence. Educational Technology Research and Development, 65 (3), 555-575. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-016-9481-2
[14] Queirós, A., Faria, D., & Almeida, F. (2017). Strengths and limitations of qualitative and quantitative research methods. European Journal of Education Studies, 3 (9). https://doi.org/10.46827/ejes.v0i0.1017
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    Kasandra Alansa Scott, Chris Cale, Sunddip Panesar-Aguilar, Michelle McCraney. (2021). Differentiated Instruction and Improving Student Learning: A Qualitative Study. Education Journal, 10(4), 114-118. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.edu.20211004.11

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    ACS Style

    Kasandra Alansa Scott; Chris Cale; Sunddip Panesar-Aguilar; Michelle McCraney. Differentiated Instruction and Improving Student Learning: A Qualitative Study. Educ. J. 2021, 10(4), 114-118. doi: 10.11648/j.edu.20211004.11

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    AMA Style

    Kasandra Alansa Scott, Chris Cale, Sunddip Panesar-Aguilar, Michelle McCraney. Differentiated Instruction and Improving Student Learning: A Qualitative Study. Educ J. 2021;10(4):114-118. doi: 10.11648/j.edu.20211004.11

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  • @article{10.11648/j.edu.20211004.11,
      author = {Kasandra Alansa Scott and Chris Cale and Sunddip Panesar-Aguilar and Michelle McCraney},
      title = {Differentiated Instruction and Improving Student Learning: A Qualitative Study},
      journal = {Education Journal},
      volume = {10},
      number = {4},
      pages = {114-118},
      doi = {10.11648/j.edu.20211004.11},
      url = {https://doi.org/10.11648/j.edu.20211004.11},
      eprint = {https://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.edu.20211004.11},
      abstract = {Administration and ministers of elementary schools located in the target district in the Caribbean reported that some elementary teachers were inconsistently implementing differentiated instruction (DI) in their practice. Based on the identified problem, it was unclear which specific strategies of DI were causing teachers to experience barriers or challenges during the process of implementation. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore teacher perceptions in one district about their implementation of the conceptual framework, Weimer’s learner-centered teaching theory DI model, in their classroom instruction. Data from schools in one elementary school district in the Beach School District were collected through virtual interviews with 15 teacher participants who had 5 to 10 years of teaching experience for Grades 5 to 6. Data were analyzed with open coding using the RADaR model of analysis. Results indicated that, when teachers use limited and repetitive DI strategies, their use of the DI model in their practice is inconsistent. In addition, teachers indicated they would benefit from some additional training on alternative DI strategies as well as how to effectively differentiate their instruction consistently. The results of this research may contribute to positive social change by providing classroom teachers with additional resources and training to improve the implementation of DI in the classroom and enhance the learning experiences of students.},
     year = {2021}
    }
    

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    AU  - Kasandra Alansa Scott
    AU  - Chris Cale
    AU  - Sunddip Panesar-Aguilar
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    Y1  - 2021/07/05
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    N1  - https://doi.org/10.11648/j.edu.20211004.11
    DO  - 10.11648/j.edu.20211004.11
    T2  - Education Journal
    JF  - Education Journal
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    SP  - 114
    EP  - 118
    PB  - Science Publishing Group
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    AB  - Administration and ministers of elementary schools located in the target district in the Caribbean reported that some elementary teachers were inconsistently implementing differentiated instruction (DI) in their practice. Based on the identified problem, it was unclear which specific strategies of DI were causing teachers to experience barriers or challenges during the process of implementation. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore teacher perceptions in one district about their implementation of the conceptual framework, Weimer’s learner-centered teaching theory DI model, in their classroom instruction. Data from schools in one elementary school district in the Beach School District were collected through virtual interviews with 15 teacher participants who had 5 to 10 years of teaching experience for Grades 5 to 6. Data were analyzed with open coding using the RADaR model of analysis. Results indicated that, when teachers use limited and repetitive DI strategies, their use of the DI model in their practice is inconsistent. In addition, teachers indicated they would benefit from some additional training on alternative DI strategies as well as how to effectively differentiate their instruction consistently. The results of this research may contribute to positive social change by providing classroom teachers with additional resources and training to improve the implementation of DI in the classroom and enhance the learning experiences of students.
    VL  - 10
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Author Information
  • Riley College of Education, Walden University, Minneapolis, USA

  • Riley College of Education, Walden University, Minneapolis, USA; School of Education, Northcentral University, La Jolla, USA

  • School of Education, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, St. Augustine, USA

  • Riley College of Education, Walden University, Minneapolis, USA

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