DIFFERENTIATED PEDAGOGY: A NEW TEACHING MODEL IN MULTIETHNIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SETTINGS IN QUEBEC, CANADA
Université de Sherbrooke (CANADA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:In a social constructivism learning paradigm, differentiated pedagogy is thought to improve children’s learning by considering children as principal actors in their own intellectual development. Differentiated pedagogy is also thought to facilitate children’s integration in school, especially recently arrived refugees and immigrant children’s integration, given that teachers who use differentiated pedagogy are supposed to adapt their practices to their students’ personal backgrounds and characteristics (e.g. different language abilities, learning styles, interests, values, etc.). Nevertheless, research has found that teachers tend to deliver their instruction to all children in a similar way (Tomlinson & Demirsky Allan, 2000). In multiethnic school settings, where differences between children in terms of “culture” are most evident, do teachers value the practice of differentiated pedagogy? Thus far, research has not responded to this question. Indeed, there is a lack of knowledge about the differentiated practices applied in class, especially in multiethnic classes. This presentation will describe and analyse effective differentiated practices in comparison to the representations of four teachers currently in service in multiethnic elementary school settings in Quebec, Canada on the practice of differentiated pedagogy. First, data about teachers’ perception of the diversity of students’ needs and about teachers' use and comprehension of differentiated pedagogy were collected through an individual interview. Then, data on the implementation of differentiated teaching strategies and practices were obtained through three in class observations during which learning activities (tasks, transfer activities, integration activities, etc.), work modalities (formation of groups or individual work) and specific teacher interventions (recall of information, additional explanations, etc.) were examined. Following each observation, a briefing interview was carried out concerning details of each teaching task (the conception of teaching-learning situations, the planning of teaching-learning situations, the instruction, the evaluation and the relation with the children’s parents) by means of questions such as: during the conception process, how did you decide of the teaching methods that were used during the teaching activity? Which factors (in students) influenced your decision? During the final step of data collecting, teachers were asked to give us access to documentations (e.g. announcement of special scholar activities, notes in the agenda about behaviour problems, etc.) previously sent to the children’s parents. Teachers commented on the reasons why the documentations were worded as such (language difficulties in parents, divergence between the teacher’s and the parents’ values and principles, etc.). Data was also collected on teachers’ means to appeal parents in getting involved in their child’s scholar life. Findings were interpreted through a framework combining data from the effective practices (observation in class and analysis of documents) and the teachers’ discourse about differentiated pedagogy. Our intervention will discuss the diverse differentiated practices (observed and retrieved from teachers’ discourse) as well as the challenges and benefits of such practices according to the teachers who participated.
Keywords: Differentiated pedagogy, social contructivism paradigm, multiethnic elementary school settings.