Exploring differentiated teaching in a Grade 4 classroom

Hamman, Liezel Dina (2014-04)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Societies are becoming more diverse and multicultural. Therefore both in South Africa and internationally, the education system must constantly be restructured to accommodate a diversity of learners; focusing on each learner’s unique learning abilities and needs. Given the benefits of differentiated teaching for effective learning, this study aimed to explore the use of differentiated teaching strategies and procedures to improve my teaching practice. Consequently, it also aimed to explore the influence that this may have on supporting the learners’ learning by focusing on their interests, readiness levels and learning preferences. This research study was based on a social constructivist perspective that views cognition, learning and instruction as intertwined. The study was embedded within a paradigm of praxis, with an action research as research design while a qualitative research methodology was employed. Purposeful sampling was used to select nine of my grade 4 learners to act as participants for the grade 4 class. Data was collected in the form of reflective drawings, a focus-group interview and accompanied activities, and a research journal. Furthermore, the data was analysed, using a thematic analysis coding scheme, to identify and interpret significant themes. The research findings indicated that the differentiated teaching strategies and procedures enhanced my grade 4 learners’ learning as they realised their own strong points and learning potential. The teaching strategies also demonstrated the potential to facilitate the development of my learners’ knowledge of their own interests and learning preferences and allowed them the incentive to develop a sense of self efficacy. In addition to this, the research process demonstrated the ability to support me in fulfilling my role as primary supporter in the learning support network and enhance my teaching practice. The information gained from this study will be used to inform my future teaching practice. I now realise the value of employing differentiated teaching strategies and procedures into my lessons, as well as the importance of reflecting on my teaching process and considering the uniqueness of each learner in my class. Additionally, teacher training institutes may benefit from the information gained from this research study, for improving teaching practice. Findings attained from this study also have the potential to inform future cycles of action research or alternatively to be used for other research within the field.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die samelewing raak gaandeweg meer divers en multikultureel. Die onderwysstelsel, beide in Suid-Afrika en internasionaal, moet daarom voortdurend geherstruktureer word om te verseker dat die diversiteit van leerders geakkomodeer word deur te fokus op elke leerders se unieke leervermoëns en -behoeftes. Gegewe die bewese voordele van gedifferernsieërde onderrig, het hierdie navorsingstudie gepoog om die gebruik van gedifferensieerde onderrigprosedures en strategieë vir die verbetering van my onderrigpraktyk te ondersoek. Die studie was ook daarop gemik om die invloed wat gedifferensieerde onderrigprosedures op die ondersteuning van my leerders se leerproses het, na te vors deur te fokus op hulle belangstellings, gereedheidsvlakke en leervoorkeure. Hierdie navorsingstudie is gebaseer op 'n sosiaal-konstruktivistiese leerperspektief wat kognisie, leer en onderrig as geïntegreerd beskou. Die studie het van ʼn kwalitatiewe navorsingsmetodologie gebruik gemaak en is binne 'n paradigma van praksis (‘praxis’) ingebed, met aksienavorsing as navorsingsontwerp. Doelgerigte steekproefneming is gebruik om nege van my graad 4 leerders te kies om as deelnemers namens die graad 4-klas op te tree. Data is in die vorm van leerders se reflektiewe tekeninge, 'n fokusgroep-onderhoud met bygaande aktiwiteite, en 'n navorsingsjoernaal ingesamel. Verder is die data met behulp van 'n tematiese koderingskema geanaliseer om belangrike temas te identifiseer en te interpreteer. Die navorsing het aangedui dat die gedifferensieerde onderrigprosedures en strategieë wat gebruik is, my graad 4-leerders se leerproses versterk het, aangesien hulle bewus geraak het van hulle eie sterkpunte en leerpotensiaal. Die onderrigstrategieë het ook die potensiaal getoon om die leerders se bewustheid van hulle eie belangstellings en leervoorkeure te ontwikkel, en hulle is ook toegelaat om ʼn sin van bekwaamheid te ontwikkel. Benewens hierdie aspekte, het die navorsing ook getoon hoe gedifferensieerde onderrigprosedures my kan ondersteun om my rol as primêre hulpverlener in die leerondersteuningsnetwerk te vervul en my onderrigpraktyk te verbeter. Die inligting wat met die navorsing verkry is, sal in die toekoms gebruik word om my onderwyspraktyk toe te lig. Ek besef nou die waarde daarvan om gedifferensieerde onderrigprosedures in my lesse te gebruik, asook die belangrikheid van refleksie op my onderrigproses en die inagneming van die uniekheid van elke leerder in my klas. Onderwysopleidingsinstellings kan die inligting deur hierdie navorsing verkry gebruik vir die verbetering van onderwyspraktyk. Afgesien van die bogenoemde, kan die inligting ook toekomstige siklusse van aksienavorsing toelig en met vrug vir verdere navorsing in die veld gebruik word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86364
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