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Annotated Bibliography: “Differentiating Instruction: Making it happen in classrooms”

Gibson, V.(n.d.). Differentiating Instruction: Making it happen in classrooms.

This article provides a procedural model for differentiating instruction and how to implement it successfully in classrooms.

Differentiating instruction means teaching differently, using an instruction management system that creates classrooms and teaching behaviors that support whole class and small- group lessons, collaborative learning, and independent practice AFTER students receive sufficient instruction and have participated in guided practices BEFORE they are expected to work independently.

Simply grouping students for instruction is not necessarily differentiating instruction either. Grouping itself is only a procedural change. Teachers must select materials that are academically profitable, not just busy work or time fillers.

Changing delivery involves grouping for instruction so that opportunities for explicit, skills- focused teaching in small-groups increase. Teaching in small-groups is not differentiated when all students receive the same instruction or use the same content, materials, and activities. Specifically, teachers need to know how to:

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Annotated Bibliography: How to Use Thinking Skills to Differentiate Curricula for Gifted and Highly Creative Students

Johnson, A. (2001). How To Use Thinking Skills To Differentiate Curricula for Gifted and Highly Creative Students.  Gifted Child Today, 24(4), 58-63.

This article describes how practitioners can meet the needs of their highly able students by integrating thinking skills into the classroom. It also touches on how the teaching of thinking skills can be used as a differentiation technique.

There are 3 types of thinking skills that could be integrated into the classroom, namely High-Level Thinking, Complex Thinking and Critical & Creative Thinking. These thinking skills can be seen as cognitive operations which can be mastered in the classroom if they are broken into parts. Therefore, explicit instruction by teachers should accompany such tasks that require thinking skills before engaging students in them.

One way to do this is to conceptualize thinking frames, which is a concrete representation of a particular cognitive process broken down into specific steps and used to support the thought process (Johnson, 2000b; Perkins, 1986). An example of a thinking frame is as shown in Table 1.

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Annotated Bibliography: Using a New Learning Environment Questionnaire for Reflection in Teacher Action Research

Aldridge, J. M., Fraser, B. J., Bell, L., & Dorman, J. (2012). Using a new learning environment questionnaire for reflection in teacher action research. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 23(3), 259-290.

  • This article reports the views of teachers in general and also examines more closely how the teachers used student responses to the learning environment questionnaire as a tool for reflection and as a guide in transforming the classroom environment.
  • The instrument was developed to provide teachers with feedback that they could use to reflect on their teaching practices and, in turn, guide the implementation of strategies to improve their learning environments.

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Annotated Bibliography: “Catalytic tools: understanding the interaction of enquiry and feedback in teachers’ learning”

Baumfield, V.M., Hall, E., Higgins, S. & Wall, K. (2009). Catalytic tools: understanding the interaction of enquiry and feedback in teachers’ learning. European Journal of Teacher Education 32(4): 423-435.

  • This paper reports on a three-year collaborative practitioner enquiry project involving more than 30 primary and secondary schools in England.
  • The data set includes practitioners’ case studies, interviews, questionnaires and cross-project analysis completed by the university team.
  • Analysis focuses on the role of feedback, stimulated through the use of Pupil Views Templates (PVT), in teachers’ learning through three dimensions:
    • the influence of student feedback on teachers as part of the pedagogical encounter;
    • the influence of student feedback on schools within the context of the practitioner enquiry projects;
    • the influence of feedback on the lead teacher researchers.
  • Links between the tools used, the source of the feedback, and teachers’ learning are mapped from a ‘second order perspective’ derived from the diverse data sources. (more…)