Differentiated Instruction in Elementary Education Research Proposal

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Differentiated Instruction for Elementary School Students

Teachers who are specially trained to effectively group elementary school students for differentiated instruction purposes will see an improvement in student test scores over teachers who practice differentiated instruction without this special training.

Grouping elementary school students for differentiating instruction is a challenging task. At this young age, it can be very difficult for the teacher to tell which students are falling behind, which students are naturally good at certain subjects and which students need special help (Tomlinson, 2001). For example, if a student does not respond quickly, or even does not respond at all, when asked a question in class, this could be because he has not yet developed the social skills to speak comfortably in front of the class. Therefore the teacher might assume that he is struggling with the information, when in reality he is just too shy to answer.

Similar problems can occur with reading and writing skills that may limit a student's ability to properly express himself (Benjamin, 2003). The teacher might assume that the student does not understand the topic of a reading or writing assignment, when in fact he understands it perfectly well but has difficulty translating his knowledge into words. Therefore the teacher may determine that the student has problems with comprehension when in reality his problem is with articulation.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Research Proposal on Differentiated Instruction in Elementary Education Assignment

Taking all of this into account, it seems that one of the biggest problems with differentiating instruction is the ability of teachers to properly 'diagnose' the students' capabilities. If a student is, for example, grouped with students who are considered 'slow' or who are falling behind, simply because he is afraid to speak up in class, this could cause serious problems. Not only would the student be learning materials that are below his level, but he will not then develop the social skills necessary to help him improve, because the correct problem has not been identified. There is also sometimes a negative stigma attached to being grouped with other students, which could make the learning process even more difficult (Meijnen & Guldemond, 2002).

There are also issues of prejudice involved because some teachers may be more likely to group African-American and immigrant children in lower ability groups than white children, or to group girls in lower ability groups than boys. According to Rodriguez & Kitchen (2005) many teachers are not aware of, or are not prepared to deal with the fact that "diverse student groups may bring to the classroom a variety of ways of knowing, investigating, and talking about the natural world, as well as distinct values and attitudes concerning the content and format of instruction " (p. 122).

Because it is so easy to improperly identify which students should be… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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