The relationship between instructional differentiation, student diversity and academic-engagement

Year: 2004

Author: Smith, Susen, Robinson, Greg, Arthur-Kelly, Michael, Morgan, Philip

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Instructional differentiation has gained prominence within primary classrooms in recent years and observation of classroom practice has evolved to investigate instruction in a variety of contexts. This exploratory study entailed observing and examining the classroom ecology, teachers' instruction/management and student behaviour and reports an investigation of differentiated instructional contexts of primary literacy blocks. Specifically, the pilot study examined relationships between classroom ecology, teacher instruction for students with low-, average- and high-reading ability and the students' academic-engagement. Some observed events included: organised activities, implementation process, physical arrangements, instructional groupings, teacher's instruction/management and student academic responding. A widely used observation tool was modified to include aspects of differentiated instruction and field-tested by observing 6 targeted students in each of three primary school classrooms in the one school. A summary of results for all students combined and students with low-, average- and high reading ability will be provided here. Some implications for the following phase of the study will also be presented. Other parts of the study included a survey questionnaire to investigate teachers' perceptions of instructional practice for student diversity and examination of student outcomes-based data.