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Exploring Hong Kong Secondary School Teachers' Teaching Beliefs of Differentiated Instruction

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Exploring Hong Kong Secondary School Teachers' Teaching Beliefs of Differentiated Instruction

  1. 1. Exploring Hong Kong Secondary School Teachers’ Teaching Beliefs of Differentiated Instruction Coby Ka-Yau WU Sally Wai-Yan WAN Ylena Yan WONG Faculty of Education The Chinese University of Hong Kong Corresponding email: sallywywan@cuhk.edu.hk ABSTRACT • Catering for learner diversity is one of the key concerns in Hong Kong curriculum reform. • Differentiated instruction is introduced in teacher training sectors. • With the use of a survey and focus group interviews, this mixed-method study attempts to explore teachers’ beliefs of differentiated instruction in two Hong Kong secondary schools. INTRODUCTION Differentiated instruction: • Aim of differentiated instruction: • To address the diverse needs of individual learners who are provided with an opportunity to work at a moderately challenging level (Tomlinson et al., 2003) Teaching beliefs: • Definition of teaching beliefs: • “tacit, often unconsciously held assumptions about students, classrooms, and the academic material to be taught” (Kagan, 1992: 65) • Teachers play a vital role in developing classroom routines that address learner variance • Whether Hong Kong teachers are able to successfully carry out differentiated instruction depends on their teaching beliefs. OBJECTIVES • To investigate in-service teachers' teaching beliefs of the use of differentiated instruction • To inform teacher educators in pre- and in-service teacher education • Research question: What are in-service teachers‘ teaching beliefs with respect to differentiated instruction? METHODOLOGY Mixed methods design: • A questionnaire to two secondary schools • Two focus group interviews Questionnaire • To explore teachers’ teaching beliefs upon inclusive and differentiated teaching practices • Based on Scott & Spencer’s (2006) 15-item scale about teaching beliefs upon differentiated instruction • 6-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree to 6=strongly agree) Semi-structured interviews • To obtain in-depth information • Use of guiding questions in an interview guide Data Analysis: • The quantitative data was analyzed including frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations • Interview data was analyzed by the use of constant comparative method and found the similarities or differences RESULTS • Positive attitudes towards differentiated instruction, with a mean score of 4.46 (S.D.=0.73) [Table 1] • Teachers’ teaching beliefs towards differentiated strategies (M=4.54, S.D.=0.73) are stronger than that of inclusive education (M=4.26, S.D.=0.73) [Table 1] • Teachers were doubtful about the effectiveness of inclusive education. • Both quantitative and qualitative data reveal that teachers tended to use teacher-centered approaches in differentiated instruction. • Great concerns about big class problem as brought by inclusive education, for example, big teacher-student ratio. • Family support was regarded as an important environmental factor affecting differentiated instruction. RESULTS CONCLUSION • Teachers generally held positive attitudes towards differentiation. • Teachers faced struggles towards differentiation due to high-stake examinations and inclusive education. • To achieve effective differentiated instruction, careful considerations should be attempted at different aspects. Poster presented at the ISATT 2015, Auckland, New Zealand, 14 July 2015 LIMITATIONS • Use of self-reported findings only • Not intend to make generalizations to other schools or countries • Suggestions for further research • Combined with class observation, professional development records, and journal entries • In-depth understanding in the Asian context “Is this really the best method to students?” (S01-19 written comment)

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