Differentiated Instruction This Work Reports a Case Term Paper

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Differentiated Instruction

This work reports a case study conducted relating to differentiated instruction in a classroom with ESL or English as Second Language students.

The methodology of this study is one of a quantitative as well as a qualitative nature. This study is quantitative in terms of the study conducted by the researcher in this study and was through the adding of classroom instruction making use of Multiple Texts and Supplementary Materials. The Intervention in this study was adding to instruction of more visual aides and graphic organizers to help learn material. Labs required a pictorial representation of main concepts of lab. This study was however, also qualitative in nature since part of the report of this study is in the form of a literature review which is interpretive in nature.


The research reported in this work was conducted in a science classroom among 27 students (14 boys and 13 girls). Of these students, seven were Somalian (5 male and 2 female) and 20 students were African-American. Lab activities were conducted in heterogeneous small groups and tests were written in English. Somalian students have all tests read to them in English and Somalian. Two science labs were conducted in this study.


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The theoretical framework of this research study is that of Gardener's Multiple Intelligences, which essentially states that different individuals are talented in various, and different 'areas' or 'types' of intelligence. The different 'intelligences' as identified in the work of Howard Gardener are those listed and described as follows:

TOPIC: Term Paper on Differentiated Instruction This Work Reports a Case Assignment

1) Linguistic intelligence: This type of intelligence: "...involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively use language to express oneself rhetorically or poetically; and language as a means to remember information. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence." (Smith, 2002)

2) Logical-mathematical intelligence: This type of intelligence: "...consists of the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. In Howard Gardner's words, in entails the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking." (Smith, 2002)

3) Musical intelligence: This type of intelligence: "...involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. According to Howard Gardner musical intelligence runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic intelligence." (Smith, 2002)

4) Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence: This type of intelligence: "...entails the potential of using one's whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. It is the ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements. Howard Gardner sees mental and physical activity as related." (Smith, 2002)

5) Spatial intelligence: "...involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of wide space and more confined areas." (Smith, 2002)

6) Interpersonal intelligence: This type of intelligence: "...is concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. It allows people to work effectively with others. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counselors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence." (Smith, 2002)

7) Intrapersonal intelligence: This type of intelligence: "...entails the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations. In Howard Gardner's view it involves having an effective working model of ourselves, and to be able to use such information to regulate our lives." (Smith, 2002)

Gardner's Multiple Intelligences

Source: Pickering (2006)


1) Differentiated Instruction: "To differentiate instruction is to recognize students varying background knowledge, readiness, language, preferences in learning, interests, and to react responsively. Differentiated instruction is a process to approach teaching and learning for students of differing abilities in the same class."(Hall, 2001 National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum). Differentiation is a "teaching concept in which the classroom teacher plans for the diverse needs of students. The teacher must consider such differences as the students:

Learning styles, skill levels, and rates;

Learning difficulties;

Language proficiency;

Background experiences and knowledge;



Ability to attend;

Social and emotional development;

Various intelligences;

Levels of abstraction; and Physical needs.(Walker, 2) English as Second Language (ESL) Instruction: This is best defined in the work of Gunderson, Belanger, and Cooper (2007) who state that ESL is inclusive of the following:

Listening: Students must listen to and understand the teachers' language and the language of instruction in such activities as lectures, tutoring sessions, and group learning activities. They must learn to communicate with English speakers, both informally and formally in different social situations.

Speaking: Students must be able to communicate orally in instructional and communicative situations. They must be able to communicate appropriately with others in and out of their classrooms. They must learn social conventions related to English such as pragmatic differences between communicating with classmates (other children) and with teachers (adults).

Reading: Students must learn to read and comprehend text at their age and grade levels. They must learn to make inferences and to read critically. Critical reading skills are particularly important in classes such as Social Studies. The ability to read and understand complex discourse its accompanying informational graphics is particularly important in courses such as science and math.

Writing: Students must be able to write at age and grade-appropriate levels. They must be able to write appropriate material related to different genres such as formal tests or informal letters may require. Gunderson, Belanger and Cooper (2007)


How does differentiated instruction for students with English as a Second Language (ESL) including visual representations and graphic organizers impact achievement in science context?


Oftentimes there is a failure to use differentiated instruction unknowingly because teachers are not properly educated and trained to do so however, an interesting case study in British Columbia reports findings which illustrate that differentiated instruction is being used unknowingly as well. One such study is that reported in the work of Gunderson, Belanger and Cooper (2007) entitled: "A Review of ESL Services in the Abbotsford School Board" relates a study of great magnitude conducted at the University of British Columbia. This study is a review of the current policies, practices, approaches and methods related to the English as a Second Language (ESL) services in the Abbotsford School District." (2007) This study was conducted through classroom observations in order to "develop a picture of methods, material, and approaches that were apparent in ESL and mainstream classrooms." (Gunderson, Belanger and Cooper, 2007) Furthermore, an Internet-Based survey was conducted in order that individuals might participate online. Stated is: "The Online questionnaires asked for basic demographic information and contained forced-choice and open response questions for teachers, administrators, staff, parents, interested citizens, and students. The URLs for the Online surveys were communicated to administrators, teachers, and staff via e-mail by School Board Office personnel. School personnel communicated the URL to students." (Gunderson, Belanger and Cooper, 2007) it is stated that data in this study "were collected by the three researchers over a period of seven days, including approximately 150 hours of classroom observations, individual interviews, and focus groups. A total of 22 principals and assistant principals were interviewed, including three from non-review schools. Approximately 120 mainstream teachers, 18 Teaching Assistants, 14 ESL teachers, 5 Trustees, and about 30 other school-based personnel were interviewed individually or in focus groups. Data were collected by the three researchers over a period of seven days, including approximately 150 hours of classroom observations, individual interviews, and focus groups. A total of 22 principals and assistant principals were interviewed, including three from non-review schools. Approximately 120 mainstream teachers, 18 Teaching Assistants, 14 ESL teachers, 5 Trustees, and about 30 other school-based personnel were interviewed individually or in focus groups." (Gunderson, Belanger and Cooper, 2007)

Findings of the study state that most of the ESL students (63.60%) indicated that they were not assisted by ESL classes with their English and 57.10% indicated that ESL classes had not assisted them with their course work either. Indicating that they had not been assisted by ESL classes in succeeding in their other classes was 45.60%. The most difficulty that ESL students in this study reported were the difficulties they experienced in the following:

Understanding English vocabulary - 36.40%

Talking to English-speaking classmates - 31.80%

Writing English - 27.30%

Reading English - 22.70%

Learning in academic classes - 9.10%

Understanding teachers - 18.20% (Gunderson, Belanger and Cooper, 2007)

Walker (nd) in the U.S. Department of Education work entitled: "Differentiated Instruction" states that there are three principles within the realm of differentiated instruction:

1) Learning environments must feel emotionally safe for learning to take place;

2) to learn students must experience appropriate levels of challenge; and 3) Each brain needs to make its own meaning of ideas and skills.

The work of Sahladana (2007) states: "Differentiated instruction is a teaching approach in which educational content, process, and product are adapted according to student readiness, interest, and learning profile.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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