About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 938-944
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain

DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION IN PRIMARY SCIENCE CLASSES – STUDENT TEACHERS´ EXPERIENCES

I. Timoštšuk, G. Ennist

Tallinn University (ESTONIA)
Pupils in primary school often develop misconceptions about science because the teaching of science is not adapted to their individual needs. The lack of a differentiated instruction approach has, therefore, become an important issue in education because it can be the cause of poor motivation to learn. This problem is directly related to initial teacher education because the future performance of a teacher is affected by a student teacher´s knowledge and practicum experience (Schneider & Plasman, 2011; Van Driel & Abell, 2010). Our aim is to contribute to the development of initial teacher education and to explore student primary school teachers` knowledge and experiences of differentiated instruction in science classes. Thus, using C. A. Tomlinson’s (2001) concept of differentiated instruction as a frame of reference, student teachers´ lesson plans and experiences of teaching science during teacher practicum experience are the focus of our study.

Our research questions are:
1) how many and what type of differentiated instruction activities do student teachers plan/implement when teaching science? and,
2) what do student teachers see as necessary for implementing differentiated learning activities?

Our sample included all student teachers from one primary teacher education course (n-23). Data was collected after first teaching practice. A questionnaire about factors influencing students’ use of differentiated instruction and an analysis of the content and amount of differentiated instruction of 69 written lesson plans were carried out. In order to saturate data the highest achieving performers were interviewed about their experiences of differentiated instruction in primary level science class. Our results indicated difficulties in the use of differentiated instruction for student teachers. The majority of the science lesson plans analysed showed few elements of differentiated instruction. The student teachers differentiated mostly by taking into account the different learning profiles of their pupils. Most difficulties with differentiating instruction were related to pupils` interests and prior knowledge. According to student teachers’ experience reports, differentiating instruction is mostly adversely affected by a lack of relevant teaching materials. Other factors include a lack of knowledge about how a person learns, a lack of teaching experience, large classes and a lack of time for planning and implementation. Student teachers’ difficulties with differentiating instruction can be explained by the fact that their pedagogical content knowledge for teaching primary science is still relatively low: they do not have enough knowledge of the curricula, the students and their learning or assessment and instructional strategies. The results show need to support student teachers with adequate materials and the necessary qualified supervision for them to be able to implement differentiating instruction.

References:
[1] Schneider, R. M., & Plasman, K. (2011). Science Teacher Learning Progressions A Review of Science Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge Development. Review of Educational Research,81(4),530-565.
[2] Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. Alexandria: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
[3] Van Driel, J.H., & Abell, S.K. (2010). Science teacher education. In McGraw, B., Peterson, P.& Baker, E. (Eds.). International Encyclopedia of Education.(3rd ed.).Vol. 8.Oxford: Elsevier,712-718.
@InProceedings{TIMOSTSUK2015DIF,
author = {Timoštšuk, I. and Ennist, G.},
title = {DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION IN PRIMARY SCIENCE CLASSES – STUDENT TEACHERS´ EXPERIENCES},
series = {9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-606-5763-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {2-4 March, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {938-944}}
TY - CONF
AU - I. Timoštšuk AU - G. Ennist
TI - DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION IN PRIMARY SCIENCE CLASSES – STUDENT TEACHERS´ EXPERIENCES
SN - 978-84-606-5763-7/2340-1079
PY - 2015
Y1 - 2-4 March, 2015
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2015 Proceedings
SP - 938
EP - 944
ER -
I. Timoštšuk, G. Ennist (2015) DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION IN PRIMARY SCIENCE CLASSES – STUDENT TEACHERS´ EXPERIENCES, INTED2015 Proceedings, pp. 938-944.
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